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Social Work: Research


Current Projects

Administrative Data: using routinely collected administrative for research in child welfare

A key aim is to make routinely-collected data accessible to researchers in ways that prevent identification of individuals and within safe and secure systems. The centres will support the development of innovative research relevant to a broad range of users including policymakers and practitioners.

Alternatives in community mental health: defining the contours of non-formal care in western India

The aim of this project is to develop a research collaboration with the Centre for Advocacy in Mental Health (CAMH), in Pune, India, examining the role of non-formal care systems in community mental health services in western India.

An empirical approach to reflexive practice in Criminal Justice Social Work

This is a qualitative study that will analyse unfolding interactions to explore how practitioners demonstrate key practice skills, such as creating a therapeutic alliance, role-modelling and demonstrating appropriate empathy.

Camphill Social Pedagogy Pilot Evaluation

As part of the 2013 learning disability strategy ‘the keys to life', the Scottish Government has funded Camphill Scotland to pilot the use of social pedagogy in supporting young people and adults.

Constructing Incapacity for Work

This project will consider how concepts of (in)capacity for work have been constructed over the 20th century, the formal and unwritten conditions attached to claims and the extent to which these conditions been gendered.

Developing practice with young people affected by abuse and neglect

This project centred on the delivery of 10 seminars on the topic of adolescent neglect and abuse. 180 practitioners from across social work, education, health, counselling and social policy took part.

Developing Restorative Justice in Scotland: Learning from local and international experience

Given the evidence for the potential benefits of Restorative Justice for both victim and offender, as well as communities, the time has come to bring these insights to bear on the case for developing Restorative Justice in Scotland where and in ways in which it can be most helpful.

Engaging children and young people in group decision making

The project aims to improve children and young people's participation and engagement in the Looked After Review process in the hope that this will better support children and young people to feel listened to and informed.

ESRC Talking and Listening to Children Project

A cross UK ESRC funded study which focuses on the routine communication between social workers and children. It aims to generate new knowledge that will enhance social work education, practice and policy.

Fathers and Fatherhood

This research studies publicity about services for parents and children (web-based, booklets and leaflets etc) and the way that fathers, when depicted, are portrayed.


Outlines various projects in relation to feminism and social work undertaken by Professor Viviene Cree.

From FE to HE Study: Ten Years On

A longitudinal project that followed students from an FE background through their university degrees and for a year beyond. Part of the university's commitment to widening participation.

Improving the Healthcare Experiences of People Living with HIV in Scotland

We know that people living with HIV in Scotland have different experiences of heathcare staff in relation to their HIV status. We will use information collected as part of this survey to produce resources which will inform, challenge and inspire health professionals.

Philosophies of Learning in Social Work Education

This inquiry is linked to the Review of Social Work Education and will explore the methods that are used to teach social work in university and practice settings and the theories and principles that underpin these methods. It will also consider whether there is value in developing a shared philosophy of learning across the different social work programmes. For more information contact Dr Autumn Roesch-Marsh at:

Reducing Reoffending Change Fund Evaluation

This project undertakes an evaluation of the Scottish Government's Reducing Reoffending Change Fund. The evaluation focuses on the ways in which Public Social Partnerships have been developed using this fund in order to address re-offending rates in Scotland.

RESME: On the Borders Between Residential Child Care and Mental Health Treatment

An ERASMUS funded project into mental health, child care and children and young people. Its aim is to improve the welfare and mental health of children who live in residential settings.

Revisiting Child Protection in Scotland

An impact project funded by ESRC, with partnership of Scottish Government, BASW and Children in Scotland

Revisiting Moral Panics

This seminar series will examine some 21st century social issues and anxieties through the concept of moral panic. It will bring together academics, policy makers, practitioners, journalists and service users to debate and discuss the place of moral panics in policy and practice today.

Securing a data set on allegations of sexual abuse made against former disc jockey, Jimmy Savile

This project, awarded under an ESRC call for ‘Urgent’ research, aims to secure data that might otherwise be lost, relating to allegations made against the former DJ, Jimmy Savile.

Supporting migrant and BME children’s transitions to primary school

This study, funded by the Froebel Trust, is investigating the transition experiences of migrant and black and minority ethic children (BME) and their families in one large urban setting in Scotland. It will develop understanding of the challenges faced by this group of young children as they transition from early years to primary school.

The dynamics of a recovery oriented mental health approach in northern India

Set in rural and urban communities of the state of Uttarakhand in north India, this project will co-develop a culturally relevant visual tool for recovery with community members with psycho-social disability.

The Empathy Network and the Global Compassion Initiative

The empathy network at the University of Edinburgh is a cross-disciplinary group of academics, students and practitioners who are interesting in exploring: • The ways that empathy is defined and understood in different disciplines • Why it is important and what it feels like • How it is practised and embodied by different practitioners from a range of professional groups • How it can best be taught and developed within academic and practice settings We are also interested in developing collaborative research projects and knowledge exchange initiatives with a focus on the theme of empathy.

Ten Years After

'Ten Years After' How do adoption reunions work out? When two adults who have been separated by adoption meet in later life, does contact develop into a relationship? Or is it a one-off event that satisfies curiosity? Undoubtedly when relative strangers meet there is the coming together of different stories and there will be different experiences...

Waiting Better

Waiting Better Health service waiting areas are neglected spaces that usually fail to take advantage of the understanding that the patient’s ‘journey’ begins before their meeting with a doctor or other health professional. Care taken with the waiting space and experience can be felt to be a proxy for care that will be taken when patient and doctor meet. This project takes our research findings into practice.

Women in the Academy - A Case Study of Social Work Education in Scotland

This research uses social work education in Scotland as a case study through which to explore the experiences of women in academia.

Froebel Trust study of transitions