Practice Research

Mack Center Approach to Research

In Practice Research, the roles of practitioners, researchers and service users in the research process represent an engaged scholarship based upon “theories of democratic participation” (New York Statement, 2016). Researchers engage more equally with their practitioner and service user partners in defining research aims, and identifying and implementing appropriate designs and methods. Practitioners have an important voice in framing the goals of research, collaborating on data collection strategies and interacting with researchers and service users to interpret findings and identify audiences for the dissemination of results. Similarly, service users play a role in research conceptualization, design, data collection, and dissemination.  This aspect of the Mack Center’s work is best illustrated by the books noted below and is continuing in the context of the growing international interest in Practice Research.

Austin, M.J. (Ed.) (2004). Changing welfare services: Case studies of local welfare reform programs. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press.

Austin, M.J. (Ed.) (2013). Organizational histories of nonprofit human service organizations. Routledge.

Carnochan, S. & Austin, M.J. (2015) Redefining the bureaucratic encounter between service providers and service users: Evidence from the Norwegian HUSK Projects. Journal of Evidence-based Social Work, 12(1), 64-79.

Austin, M.J. & Isokuortti, N. (2016). A framework for teaching practice-based research with a focus on service users, Journal of Teaching in Social Work, Special Issue. 36(1). 11-32

Fisher, M., Austin, M.J., Julkunen, I., Sim, T., Uggerhoj, L. , Issokuortte, N. (2015). Practice Research, Oxford University Press Social Work Bibliography