Constructing Practitioner Research

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The authors draw on a case study evaluation of two networked cohorts of practitioner-researchers in a children's services national social work agency in one of the home countries of the United Kingdom. The aim of the present study was to understand the meaning of practitioner research for social work professionals through an exploration of how language, ascriptions of meaning, and interpretation provide a social environment through which the nature and meaning of practitioner research emerge. The authors used a moderate symbolic interactionist approach to analyze diverse qualitative data. The findings suggest it is possible to trace a weft of analytic ideas regarding language, memory, moral accountability, ownership, meaning, value, and social work practice as they run horizontally across the experience of the practitioner-as-researcher. The elements of practitioner research have to be understood as being interwoven and bringing together and containing different career and life concerns that otherwise might remain scattered. The implications of this research suggest that practitioner research should not be seen as a less or more comfortable add-on to everyday core practice, but as a multiform activity that challenges the taken-for-grantedness of practice, mainstream academic research, management and, in all likelihood, the experience of receiving services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-208
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Work Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012

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