Using research in practice: a research information service for social care practitioners

Madeleine Stevens, Kristin Liabo, S Frost, Helen Roberts (2005)

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

Child and Family Social Work 10 1 67-75

Available online: 10 January 2005

In recent years a variety of initiatives have been created with the aim of increasing the use of research in social care practice. This article reports findings from a one-year pilot research information service provided by the What Works for Children project. Taking note of the evidence from the research utilization literature, the service was set up to support social care practitioners in using research findings in their service-planning. An implementation officer worked with service- planners to identify areas where research could be helpful. Researchers provided responses to practitioners’ questions by searching for, critically appraising and summarizing the relevant literature. This article looks at the practicalities of running such a service and discusses its potential for influencing research use. The pilot underlines the importance of some of the obstacles to using research, some of which our service was able to overcome. The gap between what practitioners want from research and what research provides is discussed.