Learning from each other: Experiences from practice research in social work

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Learning from each other - experiences from practice research in social work
Category: Oral paper presentation
Keywords: Practice research
Partnership between practice and research
Top-down and bottom-up knowledge production
New research positions and roles

Abstract: The paper is connected to the following conference theme:
6. What is the current scope and significance of research for practice development?
Practice research is aiming at developing social work and to build up new kinds of knowledge production in a close collaboration between research and practice. On the surface using the best knowledge and experience from two collaborating partners appears to be both necessary and relatively easy. But it is not. On the contrary experience from both social work and from research shows that is difficult and some times even impossible to establish practice research. Why is that?
Little experience from collaboration between research and practice in social work might be one interesting answer – as research in social work still is a rather new discipline and as social work is rather unexperienced in using research and theory in everyday practice. A second and possible more hidden issue deals with cultures and traditions within both social work and research. Traditions, cultures and self-perceptions so strong that few question them or even realize them makes it very difficult to change or adjust them. Knowledge production has traditionally been a top-down process where practice has learned from research. This tradition has been transferred to new approaches like practice research.
Experience from practice research show that knowledge production has to be both top-down and bottom-up – or to put it another way: Both practice and research have to learn as a part of the process. This could very well become a major challenge for research as it will not only require developing well know research methods. It also requires new positions and new roles for the researchers – as well as it will require new positions and roles for practitioners.
The presentation will submit experience and findings from a comparative study among service users in Norway and Denmark. The study has been carried through in a partnership between two universities and three different municipalities in the two countries. The presentation will also discus and present concepts, dilemmas, models and central issues connected to both practice research and to partnerships and collaboration connected to practice research.
Original languageEnglish
Publication dateMar 2012
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012
Event2nd European Conference For Social Work Research - Basel, Switzerland
Duration: 22 Mar 201224 Mar 2012


Conference2nd European Conference For Social Work Research

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