A review of the research priorities of practitioners working with children in social care

Madeleine Stevens, Kristin Liabo, Helen Roberts (2007)

Please note: this is a legacy publication from CPEC (formely PSSRU at LSE).

Child and Family Social Work 12 4 295-305



Available online: 22 March 2007

It has been argued both that research in social care is insufficiently relevant to practice, and that a clearer steer is needed from the social work community in shaping national research priorities. The work reported here systematically searched for and analysed findings from studies that asked practitioners working with children for their suggestions for research. Eight studies were found, and authors gave us access to the primary data from four of these, to which we added responses from the What Works for Children? website survey of practitioners’ research priorities. Responses were analysed in terms of both topic and type of research. Family support, parenting and child protection research were among the most frequently requested child-focused topics. In terms of question type, almost half the research suggestions concerned the effectiveness of interventions. These findings suggest that a commitment to outcomes, and to robustly researched interventions to attain those outcomes, are increasingly important to practitioners. These views from the front line may well be useful in assisting decision-makers in social work, and research funders, to set priorities.