Data Sharing in Human Services
The day to day work of human services professionals is centered on human-to-human interactions, the community, and theory, which means the role of technology may be overlooked by most human services professionals. Sometimes technology is presented as being a new and novel way to solve a problem, and professionals who have seen these come and go and often unimpressed with these new programs and apps. Technology aimed at service users may confuse or frustrate them. Overall, human services as a field tends to shy away from technology. There is one main benefit of technology, however, that human services professionals should embrace: data. Comment by Melissa A. Sharpe: As an opening, I can feel you are setting this scene of avoiding technology for us. In a casual piece of writing, you might be able to make these general statements. However, in a more formal piece of writing (or if you are advanced in your doctoral program) it would be vital to support these with research that proves this is the case. Do you sources back you up? Could you cite them as evidence? Comment by Melissa A. Sharpe: This phrase is a colloqualism, and in academic writing we try to avoid those. Is there another way to phrase this that makes your point clear?
One problem with data use in human services is that individual data points tend to be isolated in the software of specific agencies or specific departments within those agencies. Krabill and Manns (2018) noted that “many support service agencies have adapted data management systems and practitioners engage with these systems in their daily work, there is increasing evidence to support that these systems are being underutilized” (p. 4). When a set of data is stored in one department’s management system, it can only inform the specific decisions of that department. For example, a department of child and family services may store data related to complaints of truancy. That data is not shared outside of the department, which means local school districts and the state could not refer to or add to that data. Sharing data is key to having rich information to inform decisions. Comment by Melissa A. Sharpe: Excellent work properly citing both of the quotes in this short paper! As I read this, it appears that these two quotes are the only time you refer to any research. Is that right? If so, consider seeing if you can rely on research to support other points. You can also consider paraphrasing one of these quotes to create variety. Here are some paraphrasing tips: https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/evidence/paraphrase/effective
A focus for human services over the next five years should be moving toward sharing data sources, similar to how electronic health records are being shared. In 2009, New York City piloted such a program, hoping to “allow clients to walk into different social service agencies without having to re-enter their information and complete duplicate paperwork” (Goldsmith, 2014, para 2). After sharing data source, it would become easier to create algorithms that could look for patterns, predict needs, or even identify fraud. Comment by Melissa A. Sharpe: Interesting! Now that I know this has been tried out somewhere, I want to know what the result is. Your claim is that this is a good thing, so can you show us the results of this pilot to prove it is beneficial? Adding on that detail and explaining it to us will deepen the development of ideas here. Comment by Melissa A. Sharpe: This feels like an important point. Do you want to consider how to best highlight it? Right now this idea is just stated, it is not yet developed. You could break this out into its own paragraph and expand on what you mean by sharing research, examples, and your explanation related to this potential future benefit. Developing this more would solidify the point for your reader.
Technology may be underestimated among human services professionals, but it doesn’t need to be. Technology holds the key to maximizing the benefit of data for human services. Comment by Melissa A. Sharpe: A conclusion is the last paragraph of any piece of writing, and its goal is to repeat the main idea, wrap up all the ideas, and leave the reader with something to consider. This conclusion looks a little short, so maybe it would be worth seeing what you could add. As a reader, I think you have repeated your main ideas – so maybe look to leaving a lasting impression on your reader in some way. You can check out this sample conclusion for inspiration: https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/writingprocess/conclusions
Krabill, P. & Manns, D. (2018, Summer). Embracing Big Data in Human Services: Tools to help Create Transformative Change. Human Services Today. https://nohs.memberclicks.net/assets/LINK/NOHS%20Human%20Services%20Today%20-%20Summer%202018%20Edition.pdf Comment by Melissa A. Sharpe: In APA style reference entries we only capitalize the first word of the title, the first word after puctuation (like the colon here in this title), and proper nouns. Comment by Melissa A. Sharpe: If there is a volume and issue number, please add that here.
Goldsmith, S. (2014, September 4). Big data gives a boost to health and human services. Government Technology. https://www.govtech.com/data/Big-Data-Gives-a-Boost-to-Health-and-Human-Services.html Comment by Melissa A. Sharpe: Great work using italics in your reference entries. We do capitalize these web page titles that stand alone (vs. being part of a publication or journal that just so happens to be online)