David discussed what he has learned from applying Conversation Analysis to audio recordings of social work supervision – about CA as a method, about decision-making and reflection in supervision, and about the wider potential for applying CA to observations of social work practice.
Donald spoke about a programme of research that developed and implemented a quantitative coding system for key social work skills, based on insights from Motivational Interviewing. The aim was to find links between skills and outcomes and understand better factors that might improve worker skills. He considered the successes, limitations, and potential future developments for such an approach to directly observing practice.
Social Work Practice
There is increasing interest in research into social work that gets close enough to practice to produce understandings of what goes on between social workers and service users. Over the past decade Professor Harry Ferguson has done several studies that have used participant observation and developed ethnographic and mobile research methods that get as close as possible to short and long-term social work practice.
Exploring Social Work, Social Care and Young Carers in Longitudinal Cohort Studies
Dr Morag Henderson & Dr Sam Parsons rich longitudinal cohort data sources in the United Kingdom are world leading; they follow the lives of thousands of people across the four-nations from birth [or early adolescence] to death. This session introduced these studies, including the Millennium Cohort Study, Next Steps, British Cohort Study and National Child Development Study as well as point you to other useful secondary datasets to explore these topics. After introducing you to these datasets and the relevant variables included within them, they presented some research case studies of published research using these data (e.g. the ‘Predictors of Social Service Contact Among Teenagers in England’) and new, work in progress, results which examines the experience of care leavers who became parents and whether there is evidence of intergenerational transmission of trauma. These case studies demonstrated the power of secondary data and showcase applied statistical methods. There was a discussion of some of the limitations of using quantitative secondary data in research.