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Introduction to the Research Mindedness Learning Resource

The Research Mindedness Virtual Learning Resource has been funded by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), to help students and practitioners of social care and social work make greater and more effective use of research in their studies and in practice.

This guide is designed to help tutors and trainers to support students and social work/care staff in developing their research mindedness, whether as part of a higher education course, staff development activity, or independent study.

What is research mindedness?

In an increasingly complex policy and practice world, social care and social work practitioners are required not only to provide high quality services, but also to base them on prior evidence of effectiveness. This means that practitioners must possess the ability and knowledge to make sound judgements about these elements. In turn, this demands they should be able to view policy and practice issues in a particular way - they need to be 'research minded'.

Defining research mindedness

Research Mindedness is a necessary attribute for all practitioners, which includes the following essential elements:

  • a faculty for critical reflection informed by knowledge and research;

  • an ability to use research to inform practice which counters unfair discrimination, racism, poverty, disadvantage and injustice, consistent with core social work values;
  • an understanding of the process of research and the use of research to theorise from practice.

(The above definition derives from a project sponsored by CCETSW London and S.E in which practitioners, social work educators, external assessors and students were consulted about the constituent elements of Research Mindedness. Harrison, C. and Humphreys, C. (1997). Keeping Research in Mind: Final Report and Recommendations for Future Developments in Social Work Education and Training. CCETSW: London and South East.)


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