The transforming methods of collaboration and social work practice research


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The transforming methods of collaboration and social work practice research

  2. 2. M I R J A S A T K A 2 The transforming methods of collaboration and social work practice research
  3. 3. Background for the birth of the Finnish model of Social Work Practice Research  The need for clinical (practical) training as an element in social work MA education was widely discussed since 1972.  1986-86 City and University of Helsinki had a joint research program ’Social worker as knowledge producer’ with the aim to gain practice-based knowledge for a social political strategy of the City (1989) followed by the joint planning of Heikki Waris institute (2000)for the development of urban social work. 3
  4. 4. Mutual interests behind Heikki Waris institute, founded 2000 (Kananoja 2010)  University: need for a new structure which can intermediate in the social relations of research, teaching and social work practices.  City: need for knowledge and innovations in urban social issues; need for skilled social work practitioners .  Social work profession: need for new methods for transforming urban social work practices. 4
  5. 5. Heikki Waris Institute  HWI aims 1) to combine the transformation of urban social work practices and 2) research activities with 3) the university education of professional social workers.  In this context, Social Work Practice Research means knowledge production arising from social work practices; it includes the cyclic processes of co- development, co-research and co-learning. 5
  6. 6. The Web of collaboration partners in social work practice research at HWI Managers Politicians Work-teams at Social Welfare Agencies Students Citizens & Communities Practice teachers at SW Agencies University teachers & professors Service users Experts by experience 6
  7. 7. H E I D I M U U R I N E N Experimenting – A Method of Collaboration in Social Work Pratice Research 7
  8. 8. Background ”We shape the buildings and the buildings shape us.” -Winston Churchill ”We shape the buildings and the building shape us.” -Winston Churchill 8
  9. 9. What is experimenting and prototyping?  Used in industrial design and in service-design  Starts by defining the big problem to be solved or the aim to be reached – dream big!  Designing an experiment that 1) tests a hypothesis or 2) helps to collect more ideas to solve one part of the problem  Visualizing the idea into a protype – trying out small! 9
  10. 10. Process of iteration An experiment 10 An experiment An experiment
  11. 11. Based on Pragmatism  Experience is created in the interaction with environment  When we act, the environment responds and we experience this responce  When our action is disturbed, we need to reflect our habits/action 11
  12. 12. How can this be used in social work practice research?  Six cases during the project  Data consists of 7 employees interviews and 6 service users short interviews 12
  13. 13. Conlusions of experimenting as a method of collaboration  Quick, flexible, motivating, realistic to carry out  Changes the practice  Eases participation and collaboration  Enables co-learning process  Reveals the human and non-human agency: makes it possible to research actants you cannot interview  Provides different kind of knowledge than questionnaires or interviews 13
  14. 14. Conclusions of experimenting as a method of collaboration  Requires:  Leadership of the process  Commitment of the unit  Understanding the method (failing is succeeding and small is big)  Continuum and iteration 14
  16. 16. K A T I P A L S A N E N Collaborative knowledge creation – How can we increase collaborative knowledge creation with clients? 16
  17. 17. Background of the project idea  The idea was discovered in a former practice research project between social workers and clients.  Clients were empowered by the opportunity to be heard and to make a difference with their own experiences. Can this kind of collaborative approach become a tool to develop social work in child protection and adult social work services? 17
  18. 18. 18 Pilot communities • Immigrant mothers Pilot 1 Adult social work • Young adults Pilot 2 Adult social work • Young people • Parents Pilot 3 Child protection • Young people Pilot 4 Child protection • Parents Pilot 5 Child protection
  19. 19. The principles of collaborative knowledge creation  acting within a relationship  voluntary participation  Empowerment  equal and open expertise  Trust  cooperation and co-planning  influencing  ethics 19
  20. 20. Findings  From clients’ viewpoint: collaborative knowledge development is empowering. It increases control over their lives and improves their self-image and self-esteem.  They have reported changes, such as increased willingness to go to school or to work.  They even see themselves as citizens in a new light; they do not feel any longer ‘clients’ but also, and primarily, experts by experience.  The most important findings: the action itself, from their viewpoint, it is the most effective social work. 20
  21. 21. Findings  The activities have also effectively influenced the professionals, experts and politicians who have worked with these service users and listened to them.  Working with the service users has sparked a new kind of professional developments in social workers, who have reported that their well-being at work has increased significantly. 21
  22. 22. Conclusions  We consider collaborative knowledge creation as social innovation  It is crossing the traditional boundaries in the field of social work and welfare services  It promotes innovative democracy  It challenges social workers - and more! 22
  23. 23. L A U R A Y L I R U K A How do we teach Practice Research in collaborative relationships for MA social work students? 23
  24. 24. The question behind practice research course:  How should the we teach the research methodological and professional skills and competencies, in order to create dynamic and alive relationship and forum for university teaching and social work agencies for knowledge creation purposes? (Kääriäinen 2012, Karvinen-Niinikoski 2005) 24
  25. 25. • Practice research study unit is part of Master´s degree in Social Work. • The unit is equivalent to 16 credits and the work takes about 8 to 10 months to be completed. • The study period contains four phases: 1) lectures of doing practice research and making a study plan, 2) students gather research data during a two-month collaborative practice research period and 3) students write a research report 4) the results are shared in different collaborative forums. • A further goal and objective is to strengthen research mindedness in our students. 25 How is practice research taught at the University of Helsinki?
  26. 26. Knowledge aquisation metaphor Participation Metaphor Wenger (1998) Knowledge creation metaphor Hakkarainen Kai (2008) Toward trialogical approach to learning. B E R E I T E R ( 2 0 0 2 ) N O N A K A & T A K E U C H I ( 1 9 9 5 ) E N G E S T R Ö M ( 1 9 8 7 )
  27. 27. Study about practice research course Aino Kääriäinen (2012) Data:  25/28 students wrote an essay about the experiences from the course. 1)Me as an researcher, 2) My professional identity 3) What did I learn, the benefits 4) Negative experiences 5) The participation of social work agency.  28 practice research reports. 27
  28. 28. • The goal is to develop professional identity towards reflective, research minded expertise. • Practice research has mainly been a rewarding experience for social work students. • Students need to be quite independent in conducting a piece of study but also able to collaborate with social workers and clients throughout the process. • "My development towards professional social worker has been great. I feel that I can use my experience to develop my work later on in the future. The seeds of research have been planted in me." • ”As an employer we greatly appreciate a social worker who is competent to make a study when needed, and is able to deal with various data at workplace. Hereby we feel better equipped for the uncertain future.” 28 Outcomes
  29. 29. Future challenges  Practice research course is a mutual effort of The Web of collaboration partners.  We have decided to focus during the next three year period on the common theme:  How to break off intergenerational social exclusion?  Practice research course is connected to the developmental work in social work agencies concerning that theme.  Developmental work in social work agencies are alinged with the strategies of involved cities. 29
  30. 30. PROF. MIRJA SATKA UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI HEIKKI WARIS INSTITUTE AT SOCCA The viewpoint of researcher social workers in the Social Work Practice Research collaboration relationships at Heikki Waris Institute 30
  31. 31. The research data  Focus group interviews of the recent reseacher social workers at HWI 2009-13.  Questionnairs filled by the same informants.  Content analysis of the R&D publications of the six most recent practice research projects completed by the same informants. 31
  32. 32. Two questions 32 1. What is practice research agency like from the viewpoint of a researcher social worker? 2. How have the researcher social workers experienced the relationship of research and developmental work in their daily practices?
  33. 33. Social work practice research agency - the viewpoint of researcher social workers Collaborative knowledge creation presumes: 1) Well-defined aims & tasks and supervision; 2) Stimulating, research-oriented and intellectually supportive environment with role models; 3) Possibility for dialogical exchange and pre-testing of the novel ideas in practice research communities; 4) Outcomes which inform and indicate the powers and possibilities for change in social practices. 33
  34. 34. Important events for meaningful personal learning as RSW  Some examples 1. Teaching social work students; 2. Experiencing the consequences of data gathering in the informants/participants’ life; 3. Experimenting change in the daily routines of a social welfare agency; 4. Struggles for balance between research tasks and developmental tasks. 34
  35. 35. R&D relationship in social work practice research  Finnish Practice Research commonly consists of developmental work and of research tasks.  How they become combined depends on the aims, the chosen theoretical – methodologiacal approach, and the intrests of the stakeholders. 35
  36. 36. R&D relationship in social work practice research process  The aims for R&D are different, also the role of the researcher social worker is varied when working with them;  In development phase the focus is on the relational matters and process management;  In research phase the work is focused on data processing, data analyses and writing in which - in the end - the whole process is typically re-reflected by the researcher social worker(s). 36
  37. 37. A way to future?  1. Methods of collaboration will expand and evolve; new collaborative innovations will be discovered.  2. Collaboration with NGO’s is goig to strenghen.  3. Promotion of local democracy and dialogue between service users, social workers, and communities will be emphasized. 37
  38. 38. Thank you! 38 Mirja Satka Kati Palsanen Laura Yliruka Aino Kääriäinen Heidi Muurinen