Journal Article

Research as Social Work: Participatory Research in Learning Disability

Dorothy Atkinson

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 35, issue 4, pages 425-434
Published in print June 2005 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online March 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Research as Social Work: Participatory Research in Learning Disability

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The social-work literature has already made links between social work and research, and has argued in favour of practitioner–research. This paper turns the argument around and looks at how research can come to look and feel like social work. This happens particularly, but not exclusively, in participatory research in the learning-disability field, especially in auto/biographical or life-story research, where long-term research relationships are more in evidence. Drawing on the participatory research methodology literature, and her own oral and life-history research, the author explores the areas in which research comes to emulate social-work practice. There are, of course, practical and ethical issues to be addressed and, as the author concludes, safeguards are needed to clarify roles and foster openness in research relationships.

Keywords: Learning disability; participatory research; life stories; oral history

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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