How we wish, especially in the initial stages of practice
that there were some fixed rules and perfect procedures,
which could guide us in writing case records. However
there is no such thing as an ideal or model record.
Record is a flexible instrument, which should be adapted
to the needs of the case.
Each case is different, the conditions of work hold
marked differences and the recording therefore, rests
not on following an outline, but in the mastery of certain
component processes. Given below, are the attributes
one looks for in a good case records whereby we can
judge it to its merits. They can be termed as principles
of casework recording as they serve as guidelines for
1) Accuracy, objectivity, simplicity, clarity and brevity
should be observed in writing records.
2) Facts and their interpretation should be
distinguished as it leads to objectivity. Inferences
should be drawn in an impartial manner without
attempting to influence the judgment of the reader
(e.g., frequent fights between the husband and wife
might lead the caseworker to interpret that she
dislikes or hates her husband).
3) Record must be orderly in its arrangement and it
is not possible unless the writer has thought out in
advance what should be included and then has set
out the material in a logical sequence.
4) A long record is not necessarily a good record.
Records should neither be too long nor too short.
5) The casework records are not meant to be literary
masterpieces, therefore they should be written in
simple language and simple style.
6) A telling verbatim quote can sometimes depict a
situation much better than a narrative description,
therefore, wherever possible reaction of the clients
should be recorded in their own words.
7) There should be certain degree of uniformity and
standardization as to the form of observation.
8) A record should have readability and visibility and
should contain a clear and concise presentation of
the material.(E.g. content can be organised under
topical heading such as interviews, home visits,
contact with collaterals. Letters, medical reports
etc filed at appropriate place.)
9) To maintain clarity and accuracy avoid using words
which are vague, ambiguous and likely to be
misinterpreted by the readers. (e.g. “middle aged,
perhaps etc.) Note taking as far as possible should
be done immediately after the interview is over. If
done during the course of interview it may not only
hamper the full participation of caseworker in the
process but may make the client feel that she is
not getting the full attention of the caseworker.
10) It should always be made clear who are involved in
the situation, which is addressing whom and what
are the sources of information.
11) The details of every significant subject or situation
should be given.
12) One should not record the self-evident, the
insignificant, the familiar, and the repetitive.
14) Any record should show clearly the nature of the
problem presented or the request made; what the
worker thinks about the situation; what the worker
and client know about it; what relevant family group
and community factors are involved; what the
change or movement of outcome are.