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‘If it’s not written down it didn’t happen’: Social worker perspectives on contemporary writing and recording demands

Lillis, T.; Leedham, M.; Twiner, A.; Moore, J. and Whitehead, M. (2016). ‘If it’s not written down it didn’t happen’: Social worker perspectives on contemporary writing and recording demands. In: Joint Social Work Education and Research Conference (JSWEC) 2016, 15th July 2016, Milton Keynes.

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Abstract

The production of written texts is a high-stakes activity in professional social work, playing a central role in all decisions about services and simultaneously used to evaluate social workers’ professional competence. Social work writing (often referred to as recording or paperwork) is frequently the target of criticism in reviews and public media reporting. Despite its significance, little empirical research has been carried out on writing in professional practice.  ‘Writing in professional social work practice in a changing communicative landscape’ (WiSP) is a 2-year, ESRC-funded project which aims to address this gap. Involving 50 social workers from a range of social work domains, including children’s, adults and mental health, the project explores the range of written texts produced, the writing practices of social workers and the perspectives of social workers on the nature and place of recording in everyday professional practice.

  The aim of this presentation is twofold:
1)      To briefly illustrate and (provisionally) evaluate the two core methodologies being used in the project- ethnography and corpus linguistics;
2)      To discuss some of the key challenges the team is facing in seeking to research highly confidential data, including the contrasting timescales of funding agencies as compared with those of local authorities and unresolved ethical issues relating to observation and informed consent of service users.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Writing in professional social work practice in a changing communicative landscapeES/M008703/1ESRC Economic and Social Research Council
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Languages and Applied Linguistics
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
International Development & Inclusive Innovation
Language & Literacies
Health and Wellbeing PRA (Priority Research Area)
Item ID: 49264
Depositing User: Alison Twiner
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2017 10:51
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2017 15:39
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/49264
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