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  1. 1. Gaps, maps and traps- Can multi-disciplinary research contribute to better communication across the great professional divide? Prof. Steve Baron, Applied Education Research Scheme Prof. Alan Gilloran, Queen Margaret University Kate Skinner, IRISS
  2. 2. Why are we worried about all this? <ul><li>Two interlocking concerns: </li></ul><ul><li>Developing inter-professional practice </li></ul><ul><li>Relationship between research, policy and practice </li></ul>
  3. 3. Results in issues: <ul><li>Who controls the research agenda? </li></ul><ul><li>Pressure to narrow utilitarianism </li></ul><ul><li>Inter-professional work is poorly documented and evaluated, under-researched, atheoretical and problematic in practice </li></ul>
  4. 4. What is the political economy? Education <ul><li>Crisis fostered in 90s to establish a ‘what works’ agenda exclusively </li></ul><ul><li>ESRC demographic review – ageing research labour force </li></ul><ul><li>Dual labour market in HEIs with consequences for research activity </li></ul>
  5. 5. Who controls the agenda? Education <ul><li>Attempt to establish National Educational Research Forum as conduit for Funding Council research money on contractor-client basis; </li></ul><ul><li>HEFCE R stream top-sliced & given to ESRC for a dirigiste Research Programme (£40m TLRP) </li></ul><ul><li>ESRC as independent research funder </li></ul><ul><li>Pressure on ‘non-funded’ research </li></ul>
  6. 6. What questions are sponsored? Education <ul><li>‘ what works’ </li></ul><ul><li>raising attainment </li></ul><ul><li>school effectiveness </li></ul><ul><li>academy concerned with inequalities & their social roots (esp. gender) </li></ul><ul><li>class almost excluded </li></ul>
  7. 7. What research methods are accepted as legitimate? Social services <ul><li>dominance of qualitative methods </li></ul><ul><li>(declining??) primacy of quantitative methods in policy-making especially large scale (international) surveys </li></ul><ul><li>arguments for double blind, control group experiments </li></ul>
  8. 8. What are the main constituencies for research? Education <ul><li>historically main one is the academy; </li></ul><ul><li>long terms attempts to link to practice e.g. SCRE; </li></ul><ul><li>pressure to ‘reflective practitioner’ – ITE staff & students emerging constituencies </li></ul><ul><li>difference between: </li></ul><ul><li>evidence-based: X works </li></ul><ul><li>evidence- informed: X has worked in some circumstances & effectiveness needs prof. Judgement research-informed: practice approach with critical research perspectives) </li></ul><ul><li>user involvement per TLRP and ESRC </li></ul>
  9. 9. What is the political economy? Health and older people <ul><li>Traditional dominance of medical research: high tech, genetic, acute conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on longevity and changing demographic structure </li></ul><ul><li>Move to study quality of care & patient perspective in the 80s </li></ul><ul><li>Recent emphasis on user involvement </li></ul>
  10. 10. Who has control of the agenda? Health and older people <ul><li>Major programmes funded by ESRC </li></ul><ul><li>Pharmaceutical companies & drug trials </li></ul><ul><li>Scottish Government tenders for small-scale, quick studies </li></ul><ul><li>Divergence of research agenda in Scotland e.g free personal care </li></ul>
  11. 11. What questions are sponsored? Health and older people <ul><li>What works? e.g. keeping people healthy and in the workforce </li></ul><ul><li>What is cost-effective> e.g. patient turnover, solutions to bed-blocking </li></ul><ul><li>Recent emphasis on workforce planning e.g. how many, at what grade and in what speciality </li></ul>
  12. 12. What methods are accepted as legitimate? Health and older people <ul><li>Emphasis on randomised, controlled trials as the gold standard </li></ul><ul><li>Large-scale, epidemiological, quantitative </li></ul><ul><li>Growing acceptance of additional value of qualitative perspectives e.g. in public health & primary care </li></ul>
  13. 13. What are the constituencies for research? Health and older people <ul><li>Practitioners – primarily medical </li></ul><ul><li>NHS managers for resource allocation </li></ul><ul><li>Policy makers for service shaping and design </li></ul><ul><li>Academics </li></ul>
  14. 14. What is the political economy? Social Services <ul><li>Low spend on research compared with health and education </li></ul><ul><li>Absence of professional and academic leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Service providers absent from the discussions about research policy, priorities, funding etc </li></ul>
  15. 15. Who controls the agenda? Social services <ul><li>Disorganised field: no-one currently in charge </li></ul><ul><li>Scottish Government likely to fund R&D Strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Funders all acting independently </li></ul>
  16. 16. What questions are sponsored? Social services <ul><li>Most interest is in ‘what works’ – so where do we get theory and blue sky thinking from? </li></ul><ul><li>Most issues researched are of local interest </li></ul><ul><li>National projects often linked to high profile cases or inspection </li></ul>
  17. 17. What research methods are accepted as legitimate? Social services <ul><li>Small scale, low-cost, qualitative, local </li></ul><ul><li>Policy more heavily influenced by larger-scale, quantitative studies </li></ul><ul><li>Monitoring data becoming a substitute for research studies </li></ul>
  18. 18. What are the main constituencies for research? Social services <ul><li>Claims that unique selling point is that it is user-led, but very little evidence that this is so </li></ul><ul><li>Users as respondents more widely accepted though still not automatic </li></ul><ul><li>Managers need to support efforts towards research literacy among staff and to boost research use as basis for decisions </li></ul>
  19. 19. End piece <ul><li>3 Maps suggest areas of commonality but there are rich veins for differences, confusion and conflict </li></ul><ul><li>Can research be the neutral territory on which professions can come together? </li></ul><ul><li>Could we focus on substantive cross-border issues? </li></ul>
  20. 20. Cross-border issues <ul><li>E.g. Lowest attaining 20% in schools are likely to present to social services and to suffer health inequalities </li></ul><ul><li>Social services: criminal justice, neglect, family breakdown </li></ul><ul><li>Health: developmental delay, disability, chronic illness </li></ul>
  21. 21. Communities of enquiry: a way forward? <ul><li>Co-production of new knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. Centre for integrated Health Care Research - </li></ul><ul><li>Applied Education Research Scheme – 35 professionals investigating pupils and mental health </li></ul>
  22. 22. Seeds for discussion <ul><li>Is inter-professional working a priority for practice? </li></ul><ul><li>Is inter-professional working a priority for research? </li></ul><ul><li>3 Is research a mutually beneficial ground on which inter-professional activity can coalesce? </li></ul>