Research activity among UK social work academics

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Teater, Barbra ; Lefevre, Michelle ; Mclaughlin, Hugh (2018)

Summary: The research activity of social work academics in the UK has been of interest and concern amongst academics and research funders. Multiple initiatives have been implemented to develop social work research activity, yet research by social work academics remains limited, hindered by lack of time, support infrastructures, funding and training. Through the use of a mixed-methods cross-sectional survey (N = 200) and follow-up individual interviews (N = 11), this study reports on the factors that were found to contribute to or impede the amount of time that social work academics reported spending on research.\ud \ud Findings: The results from the survey indicated that 73% of respondents were research active. Bivariate analysis revealed that academics spent less time on research and teaching, and more time on administration than expected by their employing universities. Multivariate analysis found that less time spent on administration and teaching, more university supports, and being from a pre-1992 university predicted more time spent on research.\ud \ud Applications: The findings indicate that the administrative burdens associated with teaching and assessment in social work education result in academics struggling to fit research into their busy lives, despite initiatives to raise the profile and productivity of social work research. Research support infrastructures and strategies should be reviewed in light of such findings.
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