Cultivating practice-based research: confidence, capacity and capabilities in the non-statutory child protection sector

Zuchowski, Ines, and Gair, Susan (2020) Cultivating practice-based research: confidence, capacity and capabilities in the non-statutory child protection sector. Advances in Social Work and Welfare Education, 22 (1).

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Research-informed practice is important for quality outcomes for service users, service provision and for local communities. If social work and welfare workers incorporate research knowledge and skills into their practice, better outcomes can be achieved. However, practitioners can be ambivalent about undertaking and publishing practice-based research, and they may lack confidence and skills, or may be too time-poor to undertake research activities. This may particularly be the case in grassroots non-government child protection services.

This article reports on a small study undertaken with twenty-two practitioners working in the non- statutory child protection sector in North Queensland. This population was chosen due to the complexity of child protection practice, changes proposed after the Carmody inquiry in Queensland, and due to minimal evident literature discussing practitioners' research interests in the expanding non-government child protection sector. The study aims were to explore the workers' interest, experience and capacity to undertake research and to support social work research placements. Findings reveal that the more confidence practitioners had in their own abilities to conduct research, the more they perceived a range of resources were available to undertake research. Research confidence was more evident when workers had prior exposure to research activities. Further, practitioners with confidence in their own ability to participate in research were more likely to express willingness to take a student on a research placement. Unsurprisingly, available time to undertake research was a factor impacting some respondents' perceptions of their capability to undertake research. Increased opportunities for undergraduate students to be involved in research during their degree can contribute to graduates’ confidence in undertaking practitioner research. Research placements may offer such opportunities for practitioners to engage in research with students, confirming the benefits of practice-based research that in turn can contribute to the research capacity organisations.

Item ID: 61604
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1329-0584
Copyright Information: (C) Advances in Social Work and Welfare Education
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2020 01:49
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4204 Midwifery > 420403 Psychosocial aspects of childbirth and perinatal mental health @ 80%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4409 Social work > 440903 Social program evaluation @ 20%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 100%
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