While social work must be evaluative in relation to its diverse areas of practice and research (i.e., values-informed research), the purpose of this article is to propose that values are within the scope of research and therefore research on practice should make values a legitimate object of investigation (i.e., research-informed values). In this article, the fact/value debate in social work research is considered by offering reflection on the history and philosophy of this debate and by offering summary thoughts on how social work must engage with normativity (i.e., the ought, what matters most to people, and how the world and people matter) so the debate moves beyond mere questions about the relevance of values to the questions we ask, the methodologies we engage, the theories we promote, the interventions we support, our engagements with our many and diverse publics, and the investigation of values as causes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science
- critical realism
- fact/value debate
- research ethics