This chapter opens by introducing something of what we know about the actual
research that takes place in social work. I will suggest that socialworkresearch
should be distinguished in terms of the primary substantive focus of the research
and the primary problem focus. I will illustrate this from research by university-
based researchers, service-user researchers, and practitioner researchers. I will
consider differences associated with the gender of socialworkresearchers, and
then illustrate the nature of networks
Doing good socialworkresearch
After setting out the tensions and challenges endemic to socialworkresearch, I
will spend a substantial part of this chapter looking at what we may learn from
social work controversies. I will develop in detail one area, perhaps unfamiliar to
readers, where dispute and debate has occurred, and draw conclusions regarding
how we ought to manage controversy. Finally, I will touch on three general topics:
• The essential limits of science in social work.
• The misuses of science.
• The principles and practices that
This book explores the rationale, methodologies, and results of arts-based approaches in social work research today.
It is the first dedicated analysis of its kind, providing practical examples of when to choose arts-based research, how the arts are used by social work researchers and integrated with additional methods, and ways to evaluate its efficacy. The multiple examples of arts-based research in social work in this book reveal how arts methods are inherently connected to the resilience and creativity of research participants, social workers, and social work researchers.
With international contributions from experts in their fields, this is a welcome overview of the arts in social work for anyone connected to the field.
realise that this may sound indulgent, even lazy, but I am endeavouring to talk about how a commitment to socialworkresearch and to collaboration with others has worked out for me. I hesitated before taking this on, not only partly because it is not possible to avoid echoing things I have said elsewhere, but also because while relationships with social work and social science colleagues across the world have been a stimulus and indeed a pleasure, I do not think I have given serious thought to what this might mean for the social work community as a whole. Mark Hardy
is possible to highlight points that could be helpful for today’s socialworkresearchers. First, to what extent are academic teaching-learning programmes (including placement programmes) oriented in a way that promote critical reflection through direct contact of students with the reality of migrants and asylum seekers? To what extent does this extend to socialworkresearch? Second, to what extent do academia, public institutions and NGOs contribute to developing cross-cutting skills and competences that are essential for social workers in their relationship
What is socialworkresearch?
Through this chapter, we will set out what seems feasible by way of describing
the nature of social work and its linked research. We will then step back to say
that, if we are to have a clear sense of what ‘research’ means, both in general
and in our own field, we need to think what ‘science’ means. This will include
a brief consideration of the relationship between ‘science’ and ‘art.’ Following
from that, we will ask the curious question – curious because it seems strange
but also because it encourages curiosity – of
Socialworkresearch over time
This chapter falls near the middle of the book and is central to the arguments
developed and positions taken throughout. We will work through the influence
of our general worldview on how we see social work, asking the extent to
which we may confidently know about our history. We will sketch out some of
the current trends that feed into this. Turning our gaze to the past, we briefly
demonstrate how the ways we write and speak about research have changed.
We give significant space to the role of experimentation in
In the first part of this article, we explore the notion of social innovation. Since this is an ambiguous and thereby contested notion, we should be clear about what it means and decide about its usefulness for socialworkresearch. Then, we reflect on the normative stand of socialworkresearch, stating that in line with the international definition of social work, our research should contribute to the mission described there. We argue that our research can neither be acontextual nor apolitical, and, in fact, that this can be considered a great