Research mindedness resource
Are you research minded?
This short quiz will allow you to assess your current level of research mindedness. Write out your responses to the statements listed under each question and then click to reveal answers. Compare your answers to those provided.
Research is important and relevant to social work practice because:Open
All social work practice is based on what has been found out through research.
Not true: Social work practices are also based on other things such as values, law and traditions of care; although it is true that some practices can be said to be based on what has been found out through research.
Research can provide evidence to inform the decisions that social workers make.
True: A research minded approach will help to inform best practice, and the decisions that are made there.
Research can provide all the answers social workers need to help people by showing what works.
Not true: While research can help to inform decision-making, it needs to be approached critically, considering, for example, the context of the practice problem and the different sorts of knowledge that come from practice experience and service users. 'What works' in one situation may not work in another.
- All social work practice is based on what has been found out through research.
Ethics are important to social research because:Open
They should underpin a regard for human rights and responsibilities.
True: An ethical approach takes in a range of responsibilities of the researcher to those with whom they are researching, and should be grounded in respect for the rights of the participants, as well as their research audience.
They ensure participants know that their details will be kept anonymous.
Not true: Being clear about what happens to data and confidentiality is certainly part of an ethical approach. However, occasionally participants do not want to be anonymous since some research can help to provide a platform for their voices to be heard.
They ensure that the researcher acts responsibly.
Not true: Although research ethics provide guidelines for the researcher to act responsibly, a personal commitment to ethical research is needed to ensure more than lip-service is paid to ethics.
- They should underpin a regard for human rights and responsibilities.
The most effective way to access research studies relevant to the practice in which I am involved is:Open
Through newspaper and magazine reports.
Not true: Although some research may be reported in newspapers or magazines, this is not an effective way to find strong research,as you will not be able to form a good picture of the range of available evidence for your practice.
In the local library.
Not true: Your local library is unlikely to have up-to-date research reports. If you have access to a university or professional library these are likely to contain more relevant academic journals, research documents and resources.
By searching a collection of online databases, such as Athens or ASSIA.
True: Yes,this is the most effective way to access peer-reviewed articles about research results. Studies can also be found directly on government or organisational websites.
By using Wikipedia.
Not true: Wikipedia is not a credible source of information as it can be edited by anyone.
- Through newspaper and magazine reports.
It is important to be able to appraise and summarise research studies because:Open
Some kinds of research projects aren't worth bothering with.
Not true: Different kinds of research projects are useful for different purposes. Critically appraising projects will help you to decide which studies are most useful for you.
I only want to know what they conclude.
Not true: If you only read conclusions you will be unable to assess whether the research has been carried out well, including ethically, and whether it is appropriate to the context that you are considering.
It's important to see if research is ethical.
True: This is true but not the only reason that you need to appraise a piece of research.
It's the clearest way to see which studies are best suited to my needs.
True: Yes, critically appraising and summarising a study will provide the basis for considering which studies can supply the best evidence for your own practice context.
- Some kinds of research projects aren't worth bothering with.
I make use of anti-oppressive perspectives in evaluating research by:Open
Only using service-user controlled research.
Not true: Although service-user controlled research is an important source of evidence, it is not the only way to carry out research in an anti-oppressive way.
Exploring the process, aims and outcomes of the research.
Not true: This is one way to explore whether a study has been carried out in an anti-oppressive way, but may miss issues related to power and control which frame the research.
Being aware of the dynamics of power and control that are part of research.
True: Yes ,examining the ways that power and control are used, in the funding, the research itself and the dissemination of the results is the strongest way to make use of anti-oppressive perspectives in research evaluation and practice.
- Only using service-user controlled research.
I relate research to practice issues and demonstrate how relevant research informs practice:Open
By telling my supervisor that this is what I do.
Not true: It is not enough to just say that you work in this way!
By reflecting on what I know about practice and relating it to research findings.
True: Yes, this is the strongest way to use research mindedness in your work.
By reading research summaries and reports whenever I can.
Not true: This can be helpful but will not connect what you read with what you do in practice.
- By telling my supervisor that this is what I do.
Commissioners and developers
This resource has been a joint venture since its inception. The original resource was commissioned by the Department of Health (DH) (England) and developed between 1998 and 2000. In late 2002, following a competitive tendering process, SCIE awarded a contract for the review and redevelopment of the resource to the Centre for Human Service Technology (CHST) at Southampton University. The most recent redevelopment has been commissioned by the Joint University Council Social Work Education Committee (JUCSWEC) research committee, in collaboration with SCIE, to update and refresh the resource.
Writers and reviewers
Tish Marrable is a lecturer in social work at the University of Sussex and an active social work and social care researcher. She teaches research methods and research mindedness for social work at qualifying level (undergraduate and postgraduate) as well as specialist courses such as evaluation research and computer-assisted qualitative data analysis. Her research interests focus on interprofessional services and the interactions between practitioners and service users.
Dr Tish Marrable, University of Sussex
Dr Karen Postle,University of Southampton
SWAP (Social Policy and Social Work), University of Southampton
The College of Social Work