Measuring Professional Judgements: An Application of the Factorial Survey Approach to the Field of Social Work

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)


The focus on this thesis is the factorial survey approach as a method for studying professional judgements in social work. The factorial survey approach, which was first introduced in the social sciences around the beginning of the 1980s, constitutes an advanced method for measuring human judgements of social objects. At the general level, this quasi-experimental approach involves presenting respondents with fictive descriptions of social objects (vignettes), in which selected characteristics describing the objects to be judged are simultaneously manipulated. This thesis consists of four studies: In Study I, I explore the general use of the factorial survey approach in sociology between 1982 and 2006. Study II and Study III consist of factorial survey applications in the field of professional judgement in Swedish substance misuse treatment, as organized by the social services. To be more specific, the aims of these papers are to disentangle predictors of social work practitioners' choices of inpatient or outpatient substance misuse treatment (Study II), and of social work practitioners' judgements about the eligibility for compulsory care (Study III). Finally, In Study IV, I present a conceptual and an analytical framework for the application of the factorial survey approach to the study of professional judgements in social work.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • School of Social Work
  • Bergmark, Karin, Supervisor, External person
Award date2008 Nov 14
ISBN (Print)978-91-85445-98-1
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2008-11-14
Time: 10:00
Place: hörsal 2, hus A, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm

External reviewer(s)

Name: Ludwick, Ruth
Title: Professor
Affiliation: Kent State University


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Sociology

Free keywords

  • Professional Development
  • Knowledge Use
  • Multilevel Analysis
  • Substance Misuse Treatment
  • Social Services
  • Social Work
  • Sociology
  • Professional Judgements
  • Vignettes
  • Factorial Survey Approach


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