Journal Article

Ethics and Governance in Social Work Research in the UK

Lena Dominelli and Margaret Holloway

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 38, issue 5, pages 1009-1024
Published in print July 2008 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online March 2008 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Ethics and Governance in Social Work Research in the UK

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The application of formal research ethics and governance structures in social work research have lagged behind those applicable in health, although in the UK, social care has been deemed to be covered by those that were used in the NHS. Whilst this link is useful, it does not facilitate researcher involvement in the small-scale qualitative studies that feature in social work more than in health. Our exploration of the subject reveals that the dominance of the natural sciences paradigm in the social science is evident nationally, regionally and internationally. So, in this sense, the UK follows the usual paths that favour quantitative studies. In this article we explore the trajectory of governance structures in social work research in the UK to argue that social work needs its own ethics and governance structures, but that some agreement should be sought with other professions, particularly in those projects that cross professional and discipline boundaries so that social work research does not have to undergo dual processes for ethical approval. This implies a broader recognition of social work research ethics and governance structures than currently exist.

Keywords: professional practice; discourse; inter-professional working; social work and IT; professional identity

Journal Article.  6720 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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