Why carry out research in social care organisations?
In contemporary social care it is now expected that organisations will
be research-minded and this means using, commissioning and/or carrying
out research in a variety of forms.
At an abstract level the answer to the question ‘why carry out
research?’ is likely to be along the lines of - 'to advance knowledge,
increase understanding and to evaluate effectiveness'. More specifically
reasons may include:
- To evaluate day to day practice within teams, with a focus on the
usefulness and outcomes of different forms of service provision and
- For internal monitoring and evaluation by organisations to improve
efficiency or productivity, or find ways of making savings.
- To improve 'consumer relations', perhaps linked to a Citizen’s
charter or to agency policies about how service users should be treated.
- To contribute to staff appraisal and development processes.
- To review and update existing information or to fill gaps. Information
is now viewed as a vital resource in the personal social services
and, with the arrival of computers and telecommunications, organisations
are expected to be 'information-rich', with staff able to have access
to a range of information at their fingertips.
- To feed into national policy review and development.
Much of this information is not gathered as part of a formal research
process, but rather through routine casework in settings that are, through
advances in information technology, increasingly information-rich and
for which there is a need for greater accountability.