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Co-operative inquiry and Participatory Action Research Towards a collaborative social work agenda Dr. Rea Maglajlic Holicek Senior Lecturer, Programme.

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Presentation on theme: "Co-operative inquiry and Participatory Action Research Towards a collaborative social work agenda Dr. Rea Maglajlic Holicek Senior Lecturer, Programme."— Presentation transcript:

1 Co-operative inquiry and Participatory Action Research Towards a collaborative social work agenda Dr. Rea Maglajlic Holicek Senior Lecturer, Programme Director, BSc(Econ) Social Work School of Human Sciences Swansea University 01792/

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5 Questions for social work education What education ought to do? How education might do what it ought to do? Which of the aims, strategies or behaviours would social worker educators need to reform to educate more successfully? Adapted from Torbert (1981)

6 Who gets involved in ‘knowledge production’? Who are the marginalised groups? –Service users? –Carers? –Students? –Practitioners? –Wider community?

7 How do they get involved? I design the study –Possible consultations I design the tools for –Questionnaires? –Interviews? Possible consultations I make sense of the findings –Possible consultations How to avoid research ON people and enable research WITH people?

8 Alternative = Action research Co-operative inquiry (counterpartal role inquiry, Heron, 1996) & Participatory Action Research –Engaging with others to explore a significant aspect of one’s lives (Reason, 1994) –Enables joint exploration of the so-called ‘theoretical knowledge’ and knowledge from practice and experience (Reason, 1988) –Acknowledgement of power issues in knowledge production (Martin, 2000)

9 Theoretical-conceptual framework Service users II= StudentsPractitioners

10 Involvement and joint responsibility for: Formulating the study/adapting the questions Choosing methods for further research Making sense of the information Promoting the findings THROUGH ReflectionAction

11 Locations Cambridge, England –Anglia Polytechnic University/APU/Anglia Ruskin University –22 group members – 6 service users, 5 practitioners and 9 students Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina –School of Political Sciences, Sarajevo University –15 group members – 4 service users, 5 practitioners and 6 students

12 The research process group initiation  individual interviews with members  a list of issues of interest to each group  biweekly (BiH) /monthly (UK) group meetings  A review of research on Survey of students and social work education and practitioners practice Making sense of the findings - summaries from each meetings and (in BiH) findings from the surveys  The report writing  A discussion of findings with the representatives of the Departments of Social Work (Anglia Ruskin, University of Sarajevo)

13 Amended questions What is social work and what do social workers do? The how’s of practice –How should we work in Practice? The how’s of education The future of the profession? –Employment/unemployment

14 Findings the practice context – a need for change agents –Community = service user (avoid focus on individual needs) –Acting in partnerships with service users – rights focus

15 Findings (2) Education should prepare students for this type of practice –Involvement of service users and carers in education –Involvement of social work teachers in practice/teaching in practice –BiH – longer and more structured placements –Use of participatory practices

16 Findings (3) Support for the resurgence of –radical social work (Langan, 2002; Jones, Ferguson, Lavalette and Penketh, 2004)/ –Progessive social work (Mullaly, 2001)/ –Civic social work (Powel and geoghegan, 2005) and –The parntership-based model of professionalism (Thompson, 2002)/ –Collaborative professionalism in social work (Healy and Meagher, 2004)

17 Practical concerns Understanding of research –What is research? What is my role? –Support –Reciprocity Length of time necessary for –Study initiation –The study itself –Follow up (beyond the PhD framework) ‘Quality criteria’

18 References: Jones, C., Ferguson, I., Lavalette, M. and Penketh, L. (2004) Social Work and social justice: a manifesto for a new engaged practice. Available from: (Accessed 1st of July 2008). Healy, K. and Meagher, G. (2004) The reprofessionalization of social work: collaborative approaches for achieving professional recognition, British Journal of Social Work 34: Heron, J. (1986) Co-operative Inquiry: Research Into the Human Condition. London: Sage Langan, M. (2002) The Legacy of Radical Social Work, in Adams, R., Dominelli, L. and Payne, M. (eds). Social Work: Themes, Issues and Critical Debates. London: Palgrave Martin, M (2000) Critical education for participatory research, in Truman, C., Mertens, D.M. and Humphries, B. (eds.) Research and Inequality. London: UCL Press: Mullaly, B. (2001) Confronting the politics of despair: toward the reconstruction of progressive social work in a global economy and postmodern age, Social Work Education 20(5): Powell, F. and Geoghegan, M. (2005) Reclaiming civil society: the future of global social work?, European Journal of Social Work 8(2): Reason, P. (1988) Introduction, in Reason, P. (ed.) Human Inquiry in Action: developments in new paradigm research. London: Sage: 1 – (ed.) (1994a) Participation in Human Inquiry. London: Sage Thompson, N. (2002) Social movements, social justice and social work, British Journal of Social Work 32: Torbert, W. R. (1981) Why educational research has been so uneducational: the case for a new model of social science based on collaborative inquiry, in Reason, P. and Rowan, J. (eds.) Human Inquiry: a handbook of new paradigm research. Chichester: John Whiley & Sons:141 – 151


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