Practitioner Research in Social Care: A Review and Recommendations.

Ian Shaw, Neil Lunt, Fiona Mitchell

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Attention has helpfully been given to understanding and promoting the contribution of strong forms of participatory and user research and evaluation, and aspects of this work have increasingly been mainstreamed in the UK. However, little attention has been given to understanding practitioner research in social care as a distinct form of research practice, or to related good practice principles and procedures. This review explores practitioner research in social care, critically assessing its value as both a source of knowledge that can be applied to practice and as a template for how practitioners might conduct similar inquiry. 74 practitioner research studies of adult social care were identified for inclusion and a systematic extraction of data was undertaken, aided by guidelines and a pro forma to explore the type, nature and quality of published practitioner research.

Our aims were to:
1. review and set out the purposes of practitioner research in social care;
2. to assess the challenges, strengths and limitations of practitioner research in social care;
3. review existing and advisable methods of data collection and analysis for practitioner research in this field;
4. review existing and advisable forms of training and support for practitioner research, including the roles of universities and social care agencies;
5. suggest how best to understand and develop the relationships between practitioner research and other forms of inquiry such as user research, academic research and policy inquiry; and
6. draw together recommendations for good practice.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages56
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

NameMethods Review
Publisher[Online] NIHR School of Social Care Research, London School of Economics and Political Science.


  • practitioner research
  • practitioner writing
  • training
  • methods
  • impact
  • social care


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