The social work profession has played host to a continuing dialogue about the interplay between research and practice. Traditionally, practitioners collect data that have real-world usefulness and are relevant to the intervention process with particular clients. Researchers, on the other hand, are skilled in designing and conducting studies that result in data that can be generalized to build the profession's foundation of knowledge. Data collection tools and techniques that are both relevant to practice and germane to knowledge-building are needed. This paper demonstrates the use of the eco map, a common practice tool, to collect and organize data about families, thus bridging a gap between practice and research functions.

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