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Practitioners, users, students and researchers in collaboration within social work.  Practice Research in Practice.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2014 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development 2014,  Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 09-12 July 2014.

 

Practice Research and Social Work Education - a Challenge to Enhance Social Work Knowledge

Abstract

By

PhD and senior lecturer Matts Mosesson

Linnéus University, Växjö, Sweden

matts.mosesson@lnu.se

 

Practice Research (PR) is very much about producing knowledge, especially the kind that is difficult to describe as evidence-based. Considering that evidence is suggested to be found in the empiric area, and you can describe PR as very empirically-based, maybe it is possible to see even PR produced knowledge as evidence-based. The empirical field of Social Work is extreme broad and diffuse. Therefore, it’s a challenge to collect empirical data solely.

 

If PR can be seen as producing knowledge, Social Work education can in one way be seen as transmitting knowledge to students. We can always consider what information we are transmitting and it’s origin. Nevertheless, as observations upon the various course syllabi may reveal, students are expected to obtain a particular field of knowledge. Seldom (or never) is  the student supposed to produce certain knowledge. What I want to discuss in this paper is that there is a great opportunity within Social Work education (at least in Sweden and as far as I know in most countries) to let the students produce knowledge. The opportunity lies for example within the part of the education programme that is called practical placement (in Sweden one semester, or 30 ECTS).

 

Within the practical placement, the students are placed at different institutions that practice social work, and are supervised by professional social workers. This gives the opportunity for some of the important principles for PR that was expressed in “The Salisbury Statement”.

  1. It is a situation where collaboration between practitioners, students, educators, researchers and users is natural.
  2. It is a situation where participation is a precondition.
  3. It I a situation where ethical reflexivity and critical reflection is demanded by booth the supervisors and the education.
  4. It is a situation that offers an arena were social work interventions meets the users, and the consequences can be reflected in that context.

 

In the paper I will elaborate some of the ways of how we will develop more of student’s knowledge production in collaboration with practitioners and users. I will use one example that describes how empirical data can be gathered, at the same time as the data can be used to develop practice social work and to give students the opportunity to produce knowledge together with users, practitioners and researchers.

 

In short the project I designed like this:

The context is professional social work where students do their practical placement as a part of their social work education. The aim is to, within the framework of Practice Research, gather and analyse empirical data to enhance an develop social work practice as well as give contributions to new and better knowledge.

 

The student and her/his supervisor (professional social worker) works in collaboration with service users, practitioners and researchers. As one tool for gathering data we use the “Mirror Method” (developed in Finland by Laura Yliruka). At first there is a three days course in using the method. The social work team’s deal with real cases in everyday settings. They use the Mirror Method to discuss and document the cases, and the result of the discussions is immediately used in practice. The documentation is used as empirical data to be furthermore analysed. The student will use some of the data to produce new knowledge presented in a bachelor thesis.

 

Keywords: education,  practice research, students, practitioners, users, collaboration, data collection

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
Keyword [en]
Social Work, Practice Research
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Sciences, Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-44678OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-44678DiVA: diva2:822855
Conference
Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development. Melbourne 2014 9-12 July
Available from: 2015-06-17 Created: 2015-06-17 Last updated: 2015-09-16Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

presentation(170 kB)3 downloads
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