Enhancing student awareness of the importance of full and accurate documentation in social work practice

Riki Savaya*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The paper describes a classroom assignment that was used to raise social work students' awareness of the importance of timely, clear, and thorough documentation. The assignment was devised in view of the great importance of quality documentation in social work, coupled with the reluctance of social workers to invest the necessary time and effort to produce it. The core of the assignment was for the students to examine and report on the documentation in two client files at their fieldwork agency. The findings obtained from the students' reports show that about a fifth of the 190 files that were examined did not contain various pieces of basic information about the clients and intervention outcomes, and that much of the information that was provided was unclear and unorganized. The students' written reflections following the completion of the assignment indicate that the assignment achieved its aim of elevating their awareness of the importance of quality documentation. The paper ends with a discussion of issues to consider in repeating the assignment in the future, based on the reflections of the students and their classroom instructors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)660-669
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Work Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Client files
  • Documentation
  • Recording
  • Social work students
  • Students' awareness


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