Social care research

Research makes a difference!

Research and consultation play an important role in delivering good quality social care services. It is also vital for our understanding of the impact of the services we provide.

However, social care research differs from NHS research in terms of:

  • Academic disciplines - Health services research and social care research draw on a wide range of social science disciplines, including economics, geography, psychology, social policy, social work and sociology.
  • Research methods - Methods are likely to include both quantitative and qualitative surveys, focus groups, participant observation, anthropological and ethnographic methods, case studies and so on.
  • Sources of funding - The funding base is relatively fragile, with relatively few sources of funds and none to compare with the drug companies. Few social care professionals manage to combine their practice with research and there is not a strong tradition of practitioner research as there is in the NHS.
  • Scale of studies - Many are very small in-house studies. The 2002 Baseline Assessment Exercise showed that 80 of all research in Councils with Social Services Responsibilities are in-house studies carried out by practitioners, students or in-house researchers, with little or no extra funding.
  • Involvement of service users - An important difference between health and social care is in the involvement of service users and their representatives in research.

More information on social care research

If you have any questions regarding social care research please contact Fiona Wright:

Telephone: 07770 442198