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Research in the Department of Social Work focuses on the themes of Diversity, Justice and Power; and Contemporary Professionalism. The research themes cut across traditional client-group boundaries and address the increasingly complex and globalised nature of practice. The people with whom social workers work are drawn from different and dynamic communities, and a key topic within the Inequalities, Justice and Power group is the critical examination of services engagement with diversity, such as the responses of mental health services to ethnicity, gender and inequalities, and the experiences of groups that are often marginalised in social care services, such as vulnerable adults, unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people and children involved with the family justice and care systems. A developing area of work within this theme is a concern with cultural competence, which looks at ways of working with people across different cultures but also understanding their experiences, and strategies to challenge injustices in day-to-day experience. 

 Contemporary professionalism reflects the concern of members of the department with the policy and organisational contexts of social work and the impact of economic and social change on current and future of professional practice within social care. Key topics addressed within this theme are: the relationship between practitioners and managers, and between practitioners and other professionals; professional knowledge, particularly the use of critical reflection, the pedagogy of professional skills development; and decision-making and professional discretion. A developing area of work is the international aspects of social work practice including comparative research. 

For further information about our academic staff and research students, including their publications and projects, please visit this webpage.

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