Proximity as a way to produce relevant knowledge for social work practice

Helle Schjellerup Nielsen, Cecilie K. Moesby-Jensen

    Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPosterForskningpeer review


    The purpose was to study professional social work practice with children and young people. The research question was: How does social workers manage their work with vulnerable children and youth and what influence this work?

    We used multiple methods: participant observation in social services departments in two Danish municipalities; interviews with caseworkers, managers, youth, and their parents. Further, we facilitated focus groups with frontline professionals and did a qualitative content analysis.

    Our objective with the practice research approach was not only to produce scientific knowledge but also to produce knowledge, which was recognizable, relevant, and useful for social work practice as well as social work students. Hence, we were continuously in dialog with frontline professionals during the research process. The dialog had a double aim: 1) served as data collection 2) to facilitate professional reflection. This approach included to be present in their work life, which gave opportunities to get contextual explanation and concept clarification. However, it also posed the challenge of going native and ethical dilemmas related to getting consent in large organizations. The inherent asymmetrical power relation in fieldwork were counteracted with a participatory and involving research process.

    The fieldwork gave insight about emotional labor as an important but also unconscious component of social work practice. We identified three types of emotional labor that expressed itself in different ways. Awareness and discussions of different types of emotional labor contributed to a common language.
    StatusUdgivet - 2023
    Begivenhed6th International Conference on Practice Research in Social Work: Participation, co-creation and service users' positions - Hotel Comwell Hvide Hus , Aalborg, Danmark
    Varighed: 7 jun. 20239 jun. 2023


    Konference6th International Conference on Practice Research in Social Work
    LokationHotel Comwell Hvide Hus