Social work research as a practice of transparency
Faculty of Law
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
European journal of social work. - Oxford
, p. 1021-1034
University of Antwerp
Social work research is inherently normative and as such the assumptions about social problems in social work research should be open to scrutiny and contestation. But although researchers often face tussles and huge contradictions, they rarely articulate them. In this article, we report on a small research project in which a collective of social work researchers in Flanders (the Dutch speaking part of Belgium) tried to think critically through some of the questions and complexities they were confronted with in social work research, more specifically in research on poverty. Our research aim implied that we tried to discuss the choices that were made during a diversity of research projects, including making explicit the grounds on which this happened. We learned that the choices made, although they seem to be very obvious ones, often remained implicit during the different research processes. We conclude that social work research requires that researchers attempt to realize a practice of transparency. The pursuit of such a practice of transparency refers to the importance of the creation of reflexive space in research communities to collectively embrace and discuss the complexities of social work research.