Social Work Practice Research

The general aim of the group is to strengthen possibilities for knowledge-based social work practice throughout Europe, and to respond to the contemporary emphasis on evidence-based practice with collaborative, research-led and innovative means. The group provides a forum to bring together researchers, practitioners and others who share interest in issues related to mode 2 type of knowledge production, to robust knowledge and/or implementation of research-based knowledge in social work practices. Practice research is a relatively new concept and practice in social work discipline and practice. In the European vocabulary it has formally existed since the Salisbury conference on Practice Research held in April 2008, when the related statement about social work practice research started to emerge. In this group practice research is not understood as a specific research method but rather an evolving meeting point between practice and research, and a matter of negotiation between its stakeholders when established. In their practices social work practice researchers prefer dialogue with those who are studied, with other researchers, and with decision-makers as well as with other central actors in the field.

In line with the goals of ESWRA, we offer an opportunity to promote cross-national practice-based research projects as well as scholarly debates and knowledge exchange among the various research interested stakeholders related to social work practice. In the broad field of social work our group is facilitating e.g., development of innovative practice-related research methods and methodologies, thoughtful research ethic, promotion of service users involvement in research at all stages in a research process, and cross-disciplinary approaches for cross-national practice and knowledge-based social work research. Our group considers itself as an open forum for the diverging approaches and different partners in social work and related research.

Convenors: Martine Ganzevles, HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht (Netherlands) and Lars Uggerhøj, University of Aalborg (Denmark) Practice Research in Action – Methodologies and Challenges

Call for your contribution – SIG Social Work Practice Research

ECSWR2020 – Bucharest, Romania

Sailing through the Troubled Water of Social Work Practice Research

The Ethical and Methodological Challenges in Genuine Collaboration and Mutual Learning


Social work practice research aims to bridge the gap between research and practice while collaboration is at the heart of its undertaking. Although collaboration literally means ‘working together’, the reality is often more complicated and challenging. The power dynamics that shape the research agenda and processes, the ethical dilemmas arise from balancing the different stakes and the methodological compromise to make for transdisciplinary knowledge production are just a few of the many issues encountered in practising social work practice research. How do we navigate and manage differences to work together? What are the enablers and barriers in fostering a genuine collaboration and mutual learning? While collaboration is an ethical choice, what are the ethical issues that collaboration may pose? 

Our SIG event will unpack the challenges, such as political, ethical, epistemological and methodological questions, arising from social work practice research collaboration. It also aims to create space for exchanging ideas that helps us sail through the troubled water of ‘working together’. 

The aims of these working groups are for gathering working knowledge and developing a supportive learning community among members to explore the complexity and possibilities in collaboration. In the workshop, the contributors can base on a concrete example of their work to either raise a question for discussion or facilitate participants to contribute their experiences around a topic. 

An invitation – submit your abstract

We invite all to submit abstracts for working groups which address these challenges. The abstract should include (1) a brief description of the topic or question you want to address in the workshop, (2) your experiences around the topic/question, (3) possible questions for exploration. 

Click here to submit your abstract.

Deadline for submitting abstracts: 30th of November 2019

Notification: 20th of December 2019

We are looking forward to working together!

Organizing committee

Caterine Torbjørnsen Halås - Centre for Practical Knowledge, Nord University (Norway)

Elke Plovie - University of Applied Sciences UC Leuven-Limburg (Belgium)

Sara Serbati - University of Padova (Italy)

Vera Taube - Faculty of Social Work, University of Applied Science Würzburg (Germany)

Sui Ting Kong - Department of Sociology, Durham University (UK)


Lars Uggerhøj - Department of Sociology and Social Work, Aalborg University (Denmark)

Martine Ganzevles – HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht (the Netherlands)


Draft Programme

9:00 Arrival

9:30 Introduction 

9:50 Keynote 

10:20 Plenum discussion

10:40 Coffee break

11:00 Working groups I (parallel groups)

12:00 Lunch break

13:00 Working groups II (parallel groups)

14:00 Summing up working knowledge

15:00 Conclusions- agenda setting for the next year’s event

15:30 End of the SIG-event

Download minutes of: MEETING 12. APRIL ECSWR 2019 - LEUVEN