Using risk factor statistics in decision-making: prospects and challenges: potentialer og udfordringer

Translated title of the contribution: Using risk factor statistics in decision-making: prospects and challenges

Lene Mosegaard Søbjerg, Brian J. Taylor, Jaroslaw Przeperski, Saša Horvat, Hani Nouman, Denise Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Society expects social workers and other professionals to use the best available knowledge in making decisions. Statistical (numerical) data are rapidly becoming an increasing part of the repertoire of knowledge available to professionals. However, social workers can at times seem reluctant to use statistics to inform their judgement processes when considering the assessment and seriousness of risk factors. This paper explores and considers the potential use of statistical methods in understanding risk factors. Potentials of using statistics include reducing variability in human judgements, increasing accuracy and reducing human bias. When contemplating these potentials, it is important to consider ethical issues, legal and organisational issues as well as technical issues. Acknowledging that potentials and challenges need to be weighed, it is imperative that the profession engages in the development of adequate statistical methods to improve the knowledge and skill base for social work in the best interests of clients and families.

Translated title of the contributionUsing risk factor statistics in decision-making: prospects and challenges
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)788-801
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Work
Issue number5
StatePublished - 3 Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the participants at the 1st International Scientific Conference on Research on Family Services at the Center for Family Research, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland (March 2019) whose challenging questions prompted the writing of this paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Decision-making
  • decision-support systems
  • risk assessment
  • risk factors
  • statistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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