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Social Work Research 

Guidance, ideas and tools for developing and applying evidence-informed practice 

Research Guide Introduction

The West Midlands Teaching Partnership has developed this Research Guide to support practitioners who would like to find out more information and resources to get involved in social work research. The vision of the partnership is to ‘To achieve excellence in social work education and professional practice, through a co-produced, research-led and strengths-based approach.’ Supporting practitioners use of and involvement in research is a key part of this vision. 

This guide is intended to be used as a resource to direct you to information on areas that interest you and your particular research area. The tool kit at the end of the guide will support you in further reading as this guide is intended to support you throughout your research journey.

The research time line on page 9 will support practitioners in gaining an initial step by step oversight of the research process at the start of your reading and practitioners who are wanting more information in relation to using social work research in your day to day practice may find chapter 5 on identifying relevant research and chapter 6 on appraising research particularly useful.

Practitioners who are interested in developing their own research may find the following subject areas particularly useful when reading the guide; chapter 7 Undertaking your Own research, chapter 8 undertaking a literature review and chapter 10 research methods, including information on conducting interviews on page 47.

When you are in your final stages of your research the last chapters, chapter 12 analysing your data and chapter 13 writing up your research will support you in these final stages of the research process.

Engaging with and developing research can seem a daunting and challenging prospect to social work practitioners and students and we hope this guide helps to demystify some of this thinking and guide you through every step of your involvement with research. We hope you use this guide alongside the additional resources in our tool kit and we wish you every success in your social work and research journey.

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