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Learning to become evidence based social workers: student views on research education and implementation in practice
Social Work Education  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-08-10, DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2021.1965113
Helen Gleeson, Alfonso Pezzella, Nida Rahman

ABSTRACT

Professional guidelines for social workers in relation to research use in practice, present social workers as consumers, rather than producers of research evidence. This approach aligns with a growing emphasis on the use of evidence-based practice within social work. This paper reports on a small mixed methods study with a cohort of BA social work students (N = 38) with two aims: 1) to understand the experiences of students learning research at undergraduate level and 2) to explore how their learning and placement experiences interact and influence their development as ‘research-minded’ practitioners of the future. Descriptive statistics of the quantitative data and thematic analysis of focus groups are presented. Our findings support the existing literature relating to social work students attitudes to research, including feelings of anxiety and perceptions of difficulty, while also viewing it as important to their careers. We also found that within placement settings, students encounter negative, often dismissive views of research and experience little in the way of role-modelling of evidence-based practice. We consider these findings in light of the promotion of EBP in UK social work, and how this may influence our teaching of research and evidence use to future student cohorts.