To analyse something or some system is to break it down into its components and, by identifying the constituent parts and exploring the relationship between them, find out what it is made of or how it is constructed.
Turney (2011; p.2)
Many research articles suggest that analysis also goes hand in hand with critical thinking, as both require social workers to look at the information available to them, consider whether this is reliable and how it all fits into the bigger picture. As indicated at the top of the page, analysis is often about the central question of 'what does this mean for the child?'
As humans, we often form views from very early on, with the adage that 'first impressions last' being very true and very little time spent on analysis. Einstein captured this when he reportedly said, "If I had an hour to solve a problem I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions."
Awareness of how we think as humans allows a different slant to be taken so, instead of forming a cast iron view which is very difficult to change at the outset, we form hypotheses before setting out to disprove them. This process is often referred to as a step-wise model of analysis and very much fits in with the Framework for Assessment, as shown in the diagram below.
Based on work by De Mello and Tuille and adapted from Calder and Hackett (2003) Assessment in Childcare: Using and developing frameworks for practice. P.122
Using such a model of analysis means that it becomes more than a process which is added onto the end of information gathering, it becomes the driver for information gathering.
The analysis section allows us to present our professional opinion of what is happening and what it means for the child. This allows us the space to use our professional training and knowledge and from a good analysis a clear plan will follow.
The analysis should not repeat the sections where you have gathered information. It should pull together the information around the child's experience. The following questions might help you structure your analysis. Click the top right corner to copy them into your clipboard, then paste into the analysis section of your assessment:
What we were initially concerned about:
How this changed with the information we gathered:
What we are worried about now (the risks):
The views of the child and the family:
The strengths and protective factors:
If/how things will be different for this child:
What we think should happen next:
- Child protection
- Youth Offending
- Children with Disabilities