Many social workers are familiar with the apparent conceptual and practical boundaries between ‘theory’ and ‘practice’. Furthermore, there are implicit distinctions that associate ‘theory’ with ‘the academy’, and ‘practice’ with ‘the field’. There is ongoing scholarly work that aims to investigate the ways in which these boundaries may be crossed to achieve ‘more effective practice’ and ‘more relevant theory’, and constructive relationships between social workers in different spaces constituted as ‘the academy’ and ‘the field’. This presentation discusses a collaborative research project involving ‘practitioners’ in child and family welfare and child protection in Geelong, Victoria, Australia, and ‘academics’ from Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia. The purpose of the research was to explore an alternative child protection practice repertoire by investigating with practitioners, the appropriateness of engaging with concepts from social constructionism within risk assessment frameworks. This presentation discusses how the collaborative research processes and emphasis on dialogue facilitated building bridges between ‘theory’ and ‘practice’, and ‘the academy’ and ‘the field’, and the outcomes that were achieved beyond those directly associated with the research aims. The presentation demonstrates the place of research in practice, the generation of knowledge for practice through relationships between researchers and practitioners, and the ways in which new knowledge and perspectives can become new practices.
|Publication status||Published - 2008|