The article focuses on theories, definitions, interests, possibilities and barriers in practice research in social work. It points out that both practice and research will be influenced by participating in and developing practice research. – and that both parts must and will learn from the process. To elaborate and define practice research in social work, it is necessary to consider connected approaches and theories. The article will show that practice research is both connected to and can use the theoretical frames of Actual science and Mode 2 knowledge production. To understand and develop research closely connected to practice it is necessary to define it in three different ways: practice research, practitioner research and user-controlled research. Examples from different Nordic approaches connected to these definitions will be presented. Although practice and research both need to develop practice research they do at the same time have different interests which will challenge both parts. Practice research must be looked upon as both an area of collaboration and a meeting point for different stakeholders: users, social workers, administrative management/organizers, politicians and researchers. It is stated that practice research at the same time need to break down barriers between the stakeholders, and to be aware not to combine them totally as differencies and dilemmas are a part of practice research and should remain so.
Social Work and Social Sciences Review, 2011, Vol 15, Issue 1, p. 49-73
practice research; stakeholders in practice research; barriers and possibilities in practice research; mode 2 knowledge production; actual science; user-controlled research; practitioner research