• 594 Citations
  • 13 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile


I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). My current teaching is around policy development. I have broader teaching interests is residential child care, ethics and social work theory and a particular interest in professional education.


I was a practitioner and manager in residential child care settings for almost 20 years before entering academia. My first academic post was at the University of Strathclyde, where I set up and taught a Masters programme in residential child care. In 2005, I moved to the University of Edinburgh as lecturer, and subsequently, senior lecturer, in social work. I served as head of social work there from 2013 - 2017. I joined the University of Dundee as Professor of Social Work in 2017. My wife and I are respite and foster carers, which maintains a link with direct care practice.


I have a broad range of research and writing interests. I have published three books on residential child care, one of which is translated into Japanese, and two edited volumes on moral panics and on social work in a changing Scotland. I am writing a further book on the stories of boys (now men) who were brought up in a residential school in the 1980s. I regularly publish articles in high ranking journals. My writing and research interests lie in the areas of care and upbringing, social pedagogy, social work ethics and theorising social work. I have a particular current interest in historical abuse in residential child care.

I would be interested in supervising PhDs in any of the above areas, or more broadly, through negotiation.

Education/Academic qualification


Award Date: 28 Jul 2016

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh


Award Date: 14 Nov 2013

Master of Education, University of Edinburgh


Award Date: 31 Oct 1991

University of Stirling


Award Date: 29 Jun 1987

Master of Arts, University of St Andrews

Oct 1977Jul 1981

Award Date: 9 Jul 1981

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Research Output

Recognising strategy and tactics in constructing and working with involuntary social work clients

Smith, M., 2 Jul 2020, In : Australian Social Work. 73, 3, p. 321-333 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Social pedagogy and its relevance for Scottish social welfare

    Smith, M. & Monteux, S., 5 Jun 2019, Glasgow: Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services. 16 p. (Insights: A Series of Evidence Summaries; no. 49)

    Research output: Book/ReportOther report

    Open Access
  • 38 Downloads (Pure)

    The politics and ethics of research into ‘wicked’ social problems: The case of Jimmy Savile at Duncroft

    Smith, M., 30 Jul 2019, Designing and Conducting Research in Social Science, Health and Social Care. McSweeney, F. & Williams, D. (eds.). 1 ed. Taylor & Francis, 13 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  • Open Access
  • 5 Downloads (Pure)