Lessons Learned from Practitioner-Research

We have written a short briefing note which captures some of our on-going learning about practitioner-research. Its contents are based on evaluations from previous practitioner-research programmes: (1) Engaging with Involuntary Service Users in Social Work project carried out by The University of Edinburgh in 2010, and (2) Older People, User Involvement and Families and Relationships carried out by The University of Edinburgh in 2008.  These evaluation materials from these projects have been summarized by Catherine-Rose Stocks-Rankin, the research fellow on the PROP project.

The material in this brief is indebted to practitioners involved in those projects who gave thoughtful feedback on their experience with the practitioner-research programme.   For more information, please see the related publications and resources at the end of the document, particularly the article ‘A collaborative approach to defining the usefulness of impact’ by Heather Wilkinson, Michael Gallagher and Mark Smith.

Action Research!

IRISS has created a really wonderful video on action research in organisations.  The focus is the improvement of public services.  It uses the example of children’s services and focuses on a piece of action research conducted of Cedar (Children experiencing domestic abuse recovery).  I think it’s a useful way to think through some of the challenges and benefits that we might face on the PROP project. For more detail, see the post on IRISS’ website here.

Searching for Literature: Some Useful Tools

IRISS has produced a list of useful resources for searching and accessing existing research which may be useful to the PROP practitioners.  The IRISS Learning Exchange is a very useful place to search for information on key topics in health and social care.

There are also a number of different examples of project outputs and different forms of dissemination.  A quick browse through this might help practitioner-researchers to think about how learning from research can be exchanged.  When the projects are complete, we may want to think about adding our own section to the Learning Exchange.


Research Planning: A Handbook for Practitioner-Researchers

As part of our first researching training event ‘resources for research’, the PROP project team produced an introductory handbook about the PROP project and key elements of the research planning process.  This includes a self-audit for ethics clearance and guidance on creating a research proposal.  There is a also a flowchart which outlines the key stages of the research process: Plan, Do, Analyse and Exchange.

This material is partially based on resources that were produced for previous practitioner-research programmes, in particular the Engaging with Involuntary Service Users in Social Work project which was carried out by The University of Edinburgh in 2010.

A copy of this handbook can be found here: PROP Introduction to Research Handbook

Practitioner research resources – call for assistance

We are in the process of compiling a collection of resources on the topic of practitioners who undertake research (particularly focused on social service practitioners).

We are interested in resources, for example, which:

  • map out who practitioners undertaking research are and what research they do
  • explore how practitioners can be supported to undertake research
  • describe practitioners experiences of undertaking research
  • are examples of research undertaken by practitioners

The collection will shortly be made available for all to access on the Learning Exchange.

Please post here if you have any suggestions or contact claire.lightowler@iriss.org.uk.