Building research capacity in hospital-based social workers: A participatory action research approach

Publication Name

Qualitative Social Work


Research engagement can support a social work clinician, manager and educator in the complexity of everyday practice however in the hospital setting social workers find themselves challenged by the range of potential research questions and methodologies that do not align with their daily experience, professional values or ways of collaboratively working. Four metropolitan hospitals and a university partner worked together to explore the impact of a collaborative capacity building model on the ability for social workers to engage in research activity. Using a Participatory Action Research framework, the research team identified the elements that contribute to a non-hierarchical and successful research dynamic, as well as the challenges that committing to research activity brings in the clinical role. Through reflecting on and articulating the pracademic, or practitioner-researcher, model used and the dominant values that contribute to social work research this study is transferable to other similarly challenged hospital social work departments and health settings.

Open Access Status

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Link to publisher version (DOI)