Social work practice research

The core mission of the Heikki Waris Institute is practice research in social work, in which the development of social services, production of new data and academic teaching are intertwined. In the following, we focus on research activities as one of the Institute’s many dimensions.

The methodological development of practice research in social work is carried out at the Institute through active international cooperation. Practice research is primarily motivated by research trends that are practically oriented, interdisciplinary, cooperation-oriented, and that have a research orientation based on interaction and learning. The nature of practice research in social work is pragmatic, multiform and context-bound.

The development and research of service practices takes place in the practice research projects negotiated by the various parties. In these projects service users, municipal social workers, Heikki Waris Institute’s researchers, university teachers and students focus on a predefined research and/or development task. This research implies continuous negotiation and matching between the meaning structures of service activities and researchers’ frameworks. It implies generating ‘second’ knowledge and new meanings through the interaction of different conceptual perspectives.

Practice research in social work includes

  • students’ practice research projects
  • master’s theses
  • professional licentiate theses in social work
  • doctoral dissertations in social work
  • Finnish and international scientific and professional publications.

In 2012, Helsinki hosted the Second International Conference on Practice Research. The conference also produced a statement on social work practice research, the Helsinki Statement.

Please see further information on the Institute’s publications.

Watch Art of Practice Research video from Unitube.