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

SIG-conference on Social Work Practice Research at ESWRA 2019 conference

SIG Events list is available here:

Practice Research in Action – Methodologies and Challenges

Wednesday, April 10th, 9.00 am – 3.30 pm

Preceding the European Conference for Social Work Research 2019 in Leuven, the SIG for Social Work Practice Research is organizing the third SIG-conference on European Social Work Practice Research. The aim of the SIG-conference is to share ideas and experiences about emerging concerns and issues in practice research. You are most welcome to participate!

Following the Salisbury Statement (2008), there has been increasing interest in marrying up research and practice to improve social work practice. The practice turn in social work research has revived an interest in both the importance of science in practice (praxis) and the validity of practice wisdom (phronēsis). The new emphasis drives social work academics to critically examine the current research-practice relationship, supporting initiatives to move beyond research-informed practice for developing practice-informed research. In the due course, space is also created for practitioners and users and carers to rethink their role in producing useful knowledge and improving social work practice research methods/methodologies to accommodate to the dynamic, contextual, pragmatic and ethical nature of social work practice.

We welcome proposals that will contribute to a wider understanding of the relationship between practice and research in social work, with a particular attention to the methods. The final aim is to understand in which way the available knowledge has been used and produced in order to move ‘action’. The following questions will help in addressing the issue.

  • Which methods produce/use knowledge that guide/inform/transform practice, changing the actions undertaken by practitioners or/and users?
  • Which is the role of practitioners and/or service users in such methods?
  • Which is the role of researchers in such methods?
  • Are other stakeholders involved in such methods?

In the SIG-conference, we would like to introduce to you some of the latest methodological debates and innovations. We welcome proposals that will contribute to a wider understanding of these questions.

Proposals will be welcome as oral presentations and as workshops.

Oral presentation (15 minutes): For presenting outstanding research-practice experience in social work.

Workshop (60 minutes): In the workshops you can shortly present the research project and the methodology used in the project. It is intended to be a 'work'shop therefore we expect an interactive session in which (part of) the methodology is put into practice or illustrated. We can discuss the opportunities and challenges of the methodology, how different stakeholders are involved and the role of the researcher.

The SIG-conference 2019 on social work practice research is organized as follows: We kindly ask you to send your presentation/workshop abstract for the SIG-conference by 30 November 2018 to the following address:

Submission of abstracts, please email to Vera Taube at

The SIG-conference consists of lecture, paper presentations, poster presentations and workshop(s). We will start with a lecture on the different modes/models of knowledge production in social work practice research. This will be followed by paper presentations in the morning session and parallel workshops in the afternoon for introducing and exploring different methodological approaches to social work practice research and its challenges. The remainder of accepted research abstracts will be presented as posters as part of the SIG-conference. We will announce the results of the abstract review process by 31 December 2018.The SIG-conference is organized by the ‘Special Interest Group in Practice Research in Social Work’ established at the European Conference for Social Work Research, Ljubjana 2015. Members of the SIG-conferenceplanning committee chosen at Edinburgh meeting 2018 are:

Members of the SIG-conference planning committee are: Elke Plovie, lecturer and researcher at Civitaz (Centre For Citizenship and Participation), University College Leuven-Limburg, Belgium; Dr. Sara Serbati, research assistant University of Padova, Italy; Dr. Sui-Ting Kong, lecturer at Department of Sociology, Durham University, UK; Vera Taube, research assistant, University of Applies Sciences Würzburg, Germany.

Conveners: Prof. Lars Uggerhøj, professor of social work, Aalborg University, Denmark; MSc Martine Ganzevles, lecturer and researcher at HU University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht, the Netherlands)

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