Research Pods: Breaking down Barriers, Demystifying Research for Social Work Students and Practitioners in the Practice Setting
Keywords:Field placements, Research communities, Social work education, Research pods
Demystifying research for social work students and practitioners in practice is a necessary, and challenging, proposition for social work educators. Research pods have been established by the University of Auckland to facilitate integration of placements with continuous research opportunities for students and practitioners. The research pod concept in partnership with community social service organisations offers opportunities to robustly examine areas
of practice significant to service development and research competence. The student’s research work is augmented alongside their daily connection with clients on placement, assisting the dual purpose of exploration and evaluation for organisations and research learning “by doing”.
This study explores perspectives of students, practitioners and tertiary providers in the research pod partnerships. The following discourse represents the treasures uncovered from eight interviews with these stakeholders which focused on the research pods journey. Key findings include the strengths of research partnerships, the potential barriers to the sustainability of research pods, and development of future research pods towards enrichment of services for clients. Implications arising from this study reinforce the need to continue to develop a social work research culture and collaboration with key stakeholders in evidence based practice in the social services field.
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