The participation of practitioners, addressees and researchers as well as the collaboration and co-creation between the different actors are a central part of participatory practice research in Social Work. This collaboration between different partners creates new ways of knowledge development, allowing knowledge and insights to be transformed into new and inspiring ways of doing Social Work, as well as critically analyzing Social Work practice, theories, and methods. As part of a growing social policy agenda, collaboration between Social Work researchers and practitioners is increasing, while the path to engaging addressees in research remains challenging.
The International Community for Practice Research in Social Work provides a global platform for collaboration between researchers, practitioners, practitioners and policy makers and regularly organizes the International Conference on Practice Research in Social Work, which recently took place in Aalborg, Denmark.
Under the title "Potentials of service design thinking within service user involvement projects - the 'Persona' method as a tool in practice Social Work research" Eva Fleischer and Thomas Dierker from the Department of Social Work held a workshop at the conference. The contribution was about knowledge transfer in the field of service design thinking and service user involvement - two approaches that are increasingly used in Social Work practice research as well as in the development of innovative Social Work services.
The two already worked with this approach and associated methods as part of the FFG project "A digital guide to social problems. The Social Route Plan for Western Austria", in which the Department of Social Work has been successfully involved since 2021 (see infobox).
The conference contribution and the associated knowledge transfer added valuable insights to the approaches and methods of Service Design Thinking and Service User Involvement. These fields are highly relevant not least for the Social Work students at MCI | The Entrepreneurial School® due to their practical applicability in studies and research both in their studies and in their later practice.
Eva Fleischer & Thomas Dierker at the 6th International Conference on Practice Research in Social Work in Aalborg Photo: © MCI/Department of Social Work
Eva Fleischer is a professor at the department of Social Work at MCI. She studied Social Work, Education and Political Science and has been active in teaching and research in Social Work for many years. At MCI she teaches in the bachelor's and master's programs of the Department of Social Work and is a member of the Ethics Committee.
Thomas Dierker is a teaching & research assistant at the department of Social Work at MCI with research and interests in Social Management and Social Economy. He completed his bachelor's degree in Social and Organizational Education in Hildesheim and is a graduate of the master's program in Social Work, Social Policy and Management at MCI.