Intermediate outcomes pursued by practitioners: A qualitative analysis

Anat Zeira*, Aaron Rosen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Intermediate outcomes are an important class of outcomes that usually are pursued in the process of treatment. They consist of the necessary preconditions, or the facilitators, for successful attainment of the desired treatment goals - the ultimate outcomes. But empirical research on interventions and treatment effectiveness has paid little attention to the role of intermediate outcomes in the success of treatment, and the intermediate outcomes nested within or characterizing social work interventions have not been explicated sufficiently. This article is based on a study of the treatment records of 141 clients treated by 69 social workers in community family agencies. Qualitative data analysis was used to explicate and categorize the intermediate outcomes that were pursued in these treatments. The findings yielded a rich variety of intermediate outcomes, which were classified into a number of conceptual categories characterizing social services. The article discusses the findings within the context of the method used and addresses implications for further research.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Work Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was conducted as part of a demonstration project sponsored by the Ministry of Social Welfare of Israel to train social workers to practice systematically. Six public family service agencies from different municipalities across Israel were selected and agreed to participate in the project. All agencies were subject to the same Ministry of Social Welfare guidelines regarding staffing, clientele, and services. Selection of participating agencies was based on location (to include different regions and demographic characteristics of the population) and size of agency’s social work staff (a minimum of 10 social workers). Agency directors and supervisors fully supported all activities related to the project. Project staff taught the social workers (didactically and through case presentations) the concepts and procedures of SPP over four consecutive, weekly, four-hour training sessions. Following the training, social workers implemented (with consultation by project staff) that model of practice with two of their new clients concurrently (randomly assigned and with replacement for closed cases), for a period of six months. The data for the study were obtained from the records of implementation.


  • Intermediate outcomes
  • Practice research
  • Practice wisdom
  • Systematic planned practice


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