L500 Social Work
social work research
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AbstractThe quality and quantity of social work research is not simply a matter of academic inquiry, it has real-world implications for practitioners, policy makers, and the community. Internationally, research assessment exercises being undertaken in university sectors are shaping notions of research productivity, quality, and impact. This paper advances empirical understandings of the nature of social work research in Australia, through an interdisciplinary and cross-national comparative analysis of performance data reported in the research assessment exercises Excellence in Research for Australia 2012 and 2015, and the UK’s Research Excellence Framework 2014. It found that compared to other social science disciplines, social work in Australia is a mid-level performer in terms of quantity and above-average in terms of quality, but when compared to social work and social policy research in the UK, quality is rated less highly. It argues for more transparent criteria to assess quality within peer-review research assessments and careful consideration of ways to document and evaluate research impact that are relevant to the discipline, capable of capturing the many and varied ways that research can influence policy and practice over time.
CitationTilbury C, Hughes M, Bigby C, Fisher M, Vogel L (2017) 'A comparative study of Australian social work research', British Journal of Social Work 47 (8) 2217-2237
PublisherOxford University Press
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
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Welcoming students within the academic community: research informed teaching (RiT), students’ research skills and the future of research Informed Learning (RiL)Petrova, Petia (University of Bedfordshire, 2010)
'How do nurses and midwives gain their research skills in relation to: understanding research and applying research findings to' practice?'Sapsed, Margaret Susan (University of Bedfordshire, 2003-04)This study explores how nurses/midwives gain their research skills (defined as understanding research and applying research findings to practice) by looking at reading practices, formal research courses and participation in research. The study was undertaken in three phases, the first phase - an enquiry audit, the second phase - a survey and the final phase - interviews and focus groups. The initial part of the study was undertaken in the form of an enquiry audit to explore the developmental stages that nursing and midwifery research had taken between 1980 - 1995 and whether in 1999 these changes were continuing. This phase revealed that the professional influences and practice changes in nursing and midwifery were reflected in the research of this period. It also confirmed that a substantial percentage of authors were either professorial or senior nurse/midwives, not practice based staff. The number of studies increased significantly with the transference of professional education into higher education. The recognition of evidence-based care in nursing and midwifery became evident. The written style of research papers changed under the influence of academia. In conclusion it could be seen that published research during this period had progressed through several developmental stages. The enquiry audit results produced a framework for the second phase; in that it highlighted the need for all nurses and midwives to develop skills to both understand research and apply the findings to practice. This resulted in the construction of a survey to discover how nurses/midwives gained these research skills. The survey was conducted over a three-year period. It considered the research skills of nurses/midwives entering the profession who qualified through certificate, diploma or degree courses. The results showed that the majority of nurses/midwives do not actively read. Formal research courses enable knowledge to be gained but not retained, because the skills acquired frequently were not used in practice, so over time they were lost. Participation in research in the clinical areas was limited, and more often it was restricted to one facet such as handing out questionnaires or collecting data This did not enable the complete understanding of the research process. The degree/diploma results were marginally better than the results of the certificated nurses/midwives. Many barriers to the understanding of research were cited and likewise in relation to the implementation of research, for example the resistance of using new research in practice, lack of support by senior managers, and medical staff considering research was not nurses/midwives territory. The final phase was designed to establish whether the findings in the survey could be supported. The first part of phase three used interviews these results were then compared to the survey results, endorsing those results. Then the focus groups considered the same questions. The results from the focus groups reinforced and confinned the previous findings. The recommendations from the study are firstly that all students completing a first degree or higher degree should undertake a research module. Research modules should become more interactive enabling a deeper understanding of the process and application of research. Through this experiential learning it would be expected that the research skills would be retained for a longer period. Secondly to establish within a Trust or group of Trusts Nursing and Midwifery Research Units, to enhance the role of nursing and midwifery research. It would be anticipated that the research nurses/midwives together with the consultant nurses/rnidwive,s would become actively engaged in research initiatives within the clinical areas. Finally, and vitally important is to construct collaborative and meaningful partnerships between Universities and NHS Research Units to support and develop new initiatives.