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Title: Minded and able? : a realistic evaluation of the readiness of registered social workers in one agency to access and use research findings
Author: McAllan, William John
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 0686
Awarding Body: Glasgow Caledonian University
Current Institution: Glasgow Caledonian University
Date of Award: 2012
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There is convincing evidence from the literature that social workers are generally not well informed by research findings. The existing understandings of the barriers to instrumental research use are predominately generated from academic perspectives and there are few empirical studies which explore research use in the real and complex world of the social work practice environment. Theoretical knowledge is advanced through this study's development of the concept of research-mindedness as a pre- stage to research-informed practice and the identification of the mechanisms which might trigger the outcome of research-mindedness. Realistic Evaluation (Pawson & Tilley, 1997) was used to determine the mechanisms which might trigger the outcome of research-mindedness i.e. what works for whom, in what context, and why. A two phase mixed methods explanatory sequential design was applied in which primary quantitative data was first collected by a questionnaire (n= 147) and then used to guide the collection of explanatory data from focus groups. The sample was stratified by agency role which enabled the identification and analysis of particular themes from the perspectives of managers, supervisors and practitioners. Key findings were the emergence of new interpretations of the established paradigms relating to the discretionary nature of research acquisition effort, the actions of psychological contracts and conflicting views about the legitimacy of autonomy between managers, supervisors and practitioners. The emergent theory of research- mindedness was applied to the survey data to find that 46.9% of respondents had reported 'very confident' or 'quite confident' in their critical appraisal skills despite limited evidence of research-mindedness in their survey returns. This research generates new understanding of a complex area at the heart of Government policy. The study is of potential benefit to social workers who can use the method to determine their own research-mindedness. It is also of potential value to the social work profession by developing new knowledge about research practice which challenges the previous theories about the mechanisms which trigger research- mindedness. In these ways the study supports better outcomes for social work service users and carers, an aim which is at the core of all social work practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Prof.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available