Cognitive biases can impact the accuracy of social work decision-making. There are currently no widely used and evidence-based methods for mitigating the effects of cognitive biases within English child and family social work.


The aim of this project is to identify and test one promising intervention to help mitigate the effects of cognitive biases in social work decision-making.

Child and family social workers make critical decisions about families every day. Some of these decisions will have life-long consequences for the families involved. Like all of us, social workers experience a range of cognitive biases and it is highly likely that such biases influence the decisions they make. In this project, we are undertaking a randomized controlled trial of one promising intervention to help mitigate bias in social work.

Activities and Methods

There are three phases to this project. In the first one, we are asking social workers who took part in a previous study of decision-making to complete a survey and help us understand what cognitive biases are most prevalent in social work.

In phase two, we will be piloting three or four promising interventions to help mitigate the biases identified by social workers as being most common in social work.

In phase three, we will select one of the interventions and conduct a randomized controlled trial to measure its effectiveness for social workers.

Lead Person

Principal InvestigatorDavid Wilkins

Academic Staff

Academic StaffMelissa Meindl
Related SchoolsSOCSI
Related partnersWhat Work’s for Children’s Social Care
FundersGood Judgement and Social Work Decision-Making: A randomised controlled trial of brief interventions to improve forecasting

If you are a social worker in England and would be interested in taking part in this project, please contact Dr David Wilkins.