COPES stands for Client-Oriented Practical Evidence Search. Unlike most frameworks, the letters of this framework aren't drawn from the categories you use to frame your question. The acronym comes from a the description of the process. COPES questions originate in daily practice. The client in this question can be an individual, or a group.
There are 5 general types of COPES questions
- Assessment question – Does a specific client system demonstrate an identified problem or strength? / Has a specific intervention been able to achieve the desired outcomes?
- Description question – What are my clients experiences in a given situation? (Involves techniques such as client surveys and observation by practitioners)
- Effectiveness question – How effective is an intervention in treating your clients?
- Prevention question – How effective is an intervention in helping your clients to avoid a problem?
- Risk question – What is the probability of a specific outcome or consequence in given situation?
|Client type and problem
- What are the characteristics that define your client(s)?
- Which of their problems are you focusing on?
- What is the practice context in which you will apply your intended intervention?
|Action: What you might do
- Which method, strategy or intervention are you planning to use for the treatment, prevention, assessment, risk evaluation, or client survey of the problem you've identified?
|Alternate course of action
- Which alternative method, strategy or intervention are you using for comparison? (It's ok to leave this blank if you are not doing a comparison.)
|What you want to accomplish
- How are your going to define success for your chosen method, strategy or intervention? What outcomes would you expect to see?
- How are you going to measure the degree of success?
Reference: Begun, A.L. (2018) SWK 3402 online coursebook: Research & statistics for understanding social work interventions. The Ohio State University, Open Educational Resources. https://ohiostate.pressbooks.pub/swk3402/chapter/module-2-chapter-2/