Navigating power balances in research-practice collaboration in a complex intervention study

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ABSTRACT. The contextual framework of this study is a Supported Employment (SE) intervention targeting NEETs with less severe mental health problems. We adjust the evidence-based SE program of ‘Individual Placement and Support’ (IPS) to fit a target group of young participants (SE-youth) in a Danish context. Our presentation unfolds the research-practice collaboration within a research design based on a ‘complex intervention’ (Craig et al., 2008) and an evaluation in terms of outcomes, economic cost, fidelity, implementation, and participants’ experiences. Our empirical analysis is based on interviews with practitioners and systematic reflections on researchers’ positions.

The project rests on collaboration between researchers from University College Copenhagen (UCC) and youth departments of three municipal job centres in Denmark that implement the SE-Youth program following a manual and fidelity scale. The process is supported by a high level of direct contact and communication between researchers and frontline professionals and managers, and by IPS-experts through learning activities and fidelity reviews organised by UCC.

As UCC researchers, we navigate power balances in collaboration with several actors from the youth departments: managers, middle managers, supervisors, and frontline staff. Practitioners contribute valuable knowledge of culture and traditions within the jobcentres, which is of great relevance in the joint effort to implement the SE-youth program, however, also reveals organisational constraints and institutional challenges. Following the core categories suggested by Gredig et al. (2021) we unfold the multi-faceted researcher role and discuss how evidence-based practice in social work can be promoted through a combination of strategies (Nutley et al., 2009).
Periode8 jun. 2023
Begivenhedstitel6th International Conference on Practice Research in Social Work: Participation, co-creation and service users' positions
PlaceringAalborg, DanmarkVis på kort
Grad af anerkendelseInternational