A process recording is a detailed written account of the interaction (process) that took
place between the student/worker, client/s or others. It can include an agency based
interview, home visit, family or group session or any other form of interaction between
the student and other people. Process recordings can be used for analysis of dialogue
between the student and service providers, administrators or colleagues.
A process recording is a learning tool which involves the student in recalling and
recording the interaction; reflecting on and documenting their subjective reactions to the
client/problem/situation; critically analysing the process with particular reference to the
intentions guiding the student’s actions and the student’s impact on the client system
and interaction. The length and focus of the recording vary according to the aspect of
practice you are analysing.
Production and Presentation of the Process Recording
Process recordings should be written as soon as possible after the client contact has
finished. Everything the student can remember from the interaction is recorded using a
W (Worker): How are you, Mrs Smith?
C (Client): I’m fine, thank you.
Process recordings are written so that the student can reflect on her/his own practice and
learn from this experience. As such, they can be a record of effective and ineffective
practice. The emphasis is on the quality of the reflection and learning demonstrated
rather than on presenting good or bad practice. It is important therefore that the student
documents an accurate account of the process rather than replacing actual worker
responses with those thought to be more polished or correct.
The written process recording commences with a summary of Background
Information and Explanatory Information. The actual interaction is then recorded on
the sheets which are constructed with four columns across the page. Appropriate
content in each column is illustrated below.
The process recording is concluded with an Analytical Summary and an outline of a
Plan for future work with the client system.
SESSION FEELINGS AND REFLECTIVE FIELD
CONTENT AND RESPONSES ANALYSIS EDUCATOR
DIALOGUE AND FIELD
eg a word for word eg what you were eg now you have COORDINATOR
account of the thinking and considered what COMMENTS
interview including feeling about the you said and how
verbal and non client and you were feeling eg positive
verbal interaction. what do you think feedback, helpful
communications about the suggestions,
effectiveness of questions,
your work? How clarification
do you interpret meanings or
client group intentions
relation to your
has informed your
standards you are
Issues to be Addressed in Compiling a Process Recording
Client identification: All identifying information about the client and the client group
must be changed. Please see further details about privacy in the section titled
Requirements for Presentation of Work.’
Accurate recording: Accuracy of recall diminishes over time. If you plan to write a
process recording on a particular interaction try to allocate a time as soon as possible
after the contact to compile the document.
Amount and nature of the client contact: You do not have to have had contact with a
large number of clients, nor do you need to have seen clients for a number of sessions to
write a process recording. It is possible to write a process recording based on a single
session or a specific segment of a session.
Demonstration of Standards
The process recording can be used to record your work during a full session with a
client/client system. If it is possible an audio tape might be the best way to recall a full
session, it may well be possible to demonstrate that you have achieved a number of
practice standards. It is equally valid to use a specific segment or segments of an
interaction to analyse and demonstrate the achievement of specific standards.
Process recordings are used to analyse a variety of practice related issues including :
The social work model being used by the student (individual, family, group,
Specific elements of the social work process
Value based issues and how they were addressed
Ethical dilemmas and how they were managed
Socio / political barriers and inequalities and how they were worked with in
(a) Process recordings are an excellent tool for developing awareness of the
practitioner’s own practice and the ability to analyse and reflect on the effectiveness of
your interventions with clients. In this way recordings are an important learning tool in
the development of reflective practice skills.
(b) Process recordings are effective mechanisms for developing objectivity about the
practitioner’s own practice and for working through reactions to client situations.
(c) Process recordings assist with the process of transferring knowledge from the
“classroom” into the practitioner’s own interventions with client systems.
(d) Process recordings are documents that can provide direct evidence of standards
achieved to the student, field educators and university field education co-ordinators.
(a) Process recordings are specialised recordings and may not be easy to write initially.
Recalling the interaction, analysing and reflection on the process and the practitioner’s
own thinking, feelings and actions takes time and attention and may be time consuming.
(b) In busy agencies/work settings there may be a delay in recording the interaction due
to other demands on the student.
1. Background information: (brief summary of information available to the worker
at the time of the interview, including client information)
2. Explanatory information: (date, stage and purpose of the interview)
Session Content and Dialogue Feelings and Responses Reflective analysis Field Educator and Field
3. (include non-verbal activity) (what you are thinking (analysis of your work, consider Education Coordinator
and feeling?) your effectiveness, knowledge used comments
and what standards you are
4. Analytical summary: (reflection on and analysis/assessment of total interview)
5. Plan: (worker and client goals/plan for future activity)