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Opportunities for research participation

Opportunities for members to participate in research

The AASW National Research Committee; as part of its commitment to promote and encourage social workers' involvement in research; reviews and approves various research projects to be advertised to members. Both conducting and participating in research are considered to be key professional development activities and can be counted towards your annual CPD. If you participate in any of the research activities listed below, you can record this as a Category 3 activity (Professional Identity) in your online CPD record.

Current research projects

Mental health and the menstrual cycle: practitioner attitudes, confidence, and practice.

Key dates

03/11/2022 – 31/05/2023

Participants sought

Mental health professionals (e.g. psychiatrist, psychologist, mental health nurse, social worker, occupational therapist, support worker, or peer support worker), working in Australia, and currently supporting people with a mental health diagnosis.

About

Can you help researchers at the University of the Sunshine Coast understand current practice and attitudes regarding the role of the menstrual cycle in mental health?

There is growing evidence of the impact of the menstrual cycle on fluctuations in mental health symptoms across a number of diagnoses. However, to date, there is no data on the current practice of mental health professionals in considering the menstrual cycle in their assessment and treatment of their patients.

This research aims to address this gap and explore the current practice, confidence, and attitudes of mental health professionals with regards to considering the role of the menstrual cycle in the assessment and treatment of their clients’ mental health needs.nto practical recommendations for working with this unique population.

What is involved

You will be asked to complete a short (10 minute) survey about your confidence, attitudes and current practice in considering the role of the menstrual cycle in your clients’/ patients’ mental health. If you take part you will have the opportunity to enter a prize draw for one of two Rocketbook smart notebooks.

How to get involved

For more information and to take part please click here.

Institution and investigator contact

Dr Rachel Brand, Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, University of the Sunshine Coast: rbrand@usc.edu.au

Social Worker Well-being: Vicarious Trauma and Vicarious Posttraumatic Growth in Social Workers from Diverse Cultural Backgrounds in Australia

Key dates

9/1/2023 - 6/9/2024

Participants sought

  • Social workers working with clients who have a trauma history and/or are currently experiencing trauma.
  • Social workers from every cultural background (including Caucasian Australians) located in Australia are invited to participate in this research.

About

Social workers routinely listen to clients’ traumatic experiences and respond to crisis situations. Their empathic engagement with traumatic material can result in negative alterations in the social worker’s inner experience, referred to as vicarious trauma. Professionally, vicarious trauma can have a significant impact on workers’ professional judgement, ability to maintain hope and optimism, and dedication to engage in therapeutic work. Aside from the negative impact of working with trauma survivors, a lesser-explored phenomenon in the literature is the potential positive outcomes of trauma work.

To date, there is limited research regarding how the diverse cultural backgrounds of social workers interface with their experience in managing vicarious trauma and developing vicarious posttraumatic growth. There is also a lack of research concerning the well-being of multicultural social workers and what individual and organisational support can do to bolster their ability to manage vicarious trauma and foster vicarious posttraumatic growth.

This research aims to explore the lived experiences of vicarious trauma and vicarious posttraumatic growth in Australian social workers from diverse cultural backgrounds

What is involved

This study involves two audio-recorded semi-structured interviews. The second interview will be conducted nine to twelve months after the first interview. You can participate in the interviews in person (Brisbane based), over the phone or online using a platform that is the most convenient to you (e.g., zoom). All audio-recorded data collected from interviews will be transcribed verbatim for analysis by the research team. Once the transcript is complete, you will have the opportunity to review it. Special care will be taken to check against the audio file and transcription to anonymise any potentially identifiable information. Participation in this research is entirely voluntary and confidential.

Questions in the interviews I would like to ask might include:

  • Can you tell me what it is like in your line of work?
  • Do you think your work has changed you? If so, can you describe what are the changes and how the changes occur?

To recognise your contribution should you choose to participate, the research team offers a $50 e-gift card after the first interview. Another $50 e-gift card will be given upon completion of the second interview.

How to get involved

Please contact the Principal Researcher Michael Wong (shunkin.wong@hdr.qut.edu.au) for more information and to organise an interview.

Institution and investigator contact

Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Principal Researcher/PhD Student:
Michael Wong
Supervisor Investigator Details:
Professor Jane Shakespeare-Finch
Professor Renata Meuter

Transdisciplinary approaches: what do social workers think about sharing skills/tasks with other professions?

Key dates

11/11/2022 – 31/12/2022

Focus Groups will be held in January/February 2023 at a convenient date/time.

Participants sought

Healthcare professionals and clinical managers, including social workers.

About

Clinical researchers at Mater Research Institute-University of Queensland want to understand the social work perspective on transdisciplinary care. Transdisciplinary refers to the sharing clinical skills, knowledge and tasks with other disciplines, allowing one professional to complete an episode of care on behalf of others. The allied health team at the Mater Hospital Brisbane have started using a transdisciplinary stroke assessment. We have found that staff now spend less time completing assessments, while patients receive earlier stroke assessment, support and rehabilitation. We want to find a way to share these benefits with other healthcare settings.

What is involved

Participants are invited to partake in a 10-minute research survey to share perspectives on the acceptability, appropriateness, and feasibility of transdisciplinary approaches. In the survey, participants will be shown a copy of the transdisciplinary assessment used at Mater Hospital Brisbane. At the end of the survey, participants will be invited to sign up to partake in an optional 60-minute Focus Group (or individual interview if preferred/required), where open-ended questions about transdisciplinary care will be asked.

How to get involved

If this study might be of interest, click on the link to access the survey:

Institution and investigator contact

Mater Research Institute – University of Queensland

Aleysha Martin

Assessing Attitudes and Knowledge of Domestic and Family Violence in Social Work University Education: A Scoping Survey.

Key dates

07/11/2022 – 31/01/2023

Participants sought

  • University students studying a Bachelor of Social Work, and in their third or fourth year of study;
  • Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying) students;
  • Social work graduates (within five years of their post-Australian Association of Social Work qualifying degree).

About

The purpose of this project is to investigate Australian university social work students' or newly graduated social workers, attitudes, beliefs, knowledge, skills, and competence about recognising and responding to domestic and family violence (DFV). Social workers, who are trained initially through university education, are essential in community responses that seek to address domestic and family violence. It is therefore critical that pre-service social workers are provided with adequate curriculum and scaffolded learning opportunities, addressing the area of domestic and family violence during their university studies; yet there is scant literature in the Australian context to measure social workers knowledge and competencies as concerns domestic and family violence. Attitudes and beliefs about domestic and family violence are being included in the review of the study as they can act as a barrier to effective social work responses. This research may illuminate the nature of social workers attitudes, knowledge, and competencies about DFV; and be used to inform the development of innovative teaching approaches in tertiary social work education.

It is imperative that attitudes and knowledge of domestic and family violence in social work education is understood, to inform future curriculum and program development, and following, to implement best practice in university social work curriculum.

What is involved

Your participation will involve completion of an online questionnaire that will take approximately 30 minutes of your time. Questions will include demographic details; what level of exposure to domestic and family violence content during your studies you have experienced, your understanding of violence against women; attitudes towards gender equality and violence against women; your perceived knowledge of domestic and family violence, perceived preparedness to respond and actual knowledge about domestic and family violence.

Participants are able to complete the survey via the link below or you can also complete the survey via the Market Research Service Provider known as Prolific. Participants who are recruited via Prolific, will be paid a sum of $5 dollars to participate in the study. For those interested in being provided a small sum to engage in the study, you can register as a participant, by following the steps to sign up via the Prolific web link:

Your participation in this project is entirely voluntary, but if you do choose to participate, note that the survey is anonymous.

How to get involved

To access the study, please either scan the QR code on the attached flyer or click this link

Here you will be provided with a detailed study information sheet and consent to participate should you wish to partake in the study.

Institution and investigator contact

University of Southern Queensland:

Principal Investigator Details:
Ms Krystal Schaffer
Telephone: (07) 4631 5408

Supervisor Investigator Details:
Professor Jill Lawrence
Telephone: (07) 4631 1004

Dr Neil Martin
Telephone: (07) 4631 2342

Dr India Bryce
Telephone: (07) 4631 1192

Online Group Therapy: What we know and what we are yet to know!

Key dates

04/11/2022 – 28/02/2023

Participants sought

Mental Health Professionals who currently, or previously, have facilitated group therapy or group counselling in the ONLINE space

About

Group counselling offers many benefits to clients including sense of commonality. Further, recent review papers conclude that group therapy is efficacious for those suffering PTSD, substance use disorders, depression and bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders. With Covid-19 and the concomitant social restrictions, a subsequent impact was found on the mental health of the community, with Phiri et al (2021) reporting a found increase in mental health burden and suicidality. Group therapists pivoted their group therapy programs to online delivery, but without the research to inform the best-practice guidelines. It was soon found that online group therapy is not the same as in-person group therapy, with many obstacles. This stimulated recent research into online group therapy and its delivery, but this is just the beginning and is an emerging area of research and practice that warrants further investigation in order to establish a comprehensive body of knowledge pertinent to the efficacious delivery of online group therapy programs at a time when it is needed the most.

What is involved

Interested participants simply need to click on the Qualtrics link below and read the first page, outlining the research and give consent. When consent is given, the participant arrives on page 2, which is the online survey asking about the participants online group therapy/counselling experience. It is anticipated that the survey will take about 30 minutes of the participants time.

How to get involved

For more information and to take part please click here.

Institution and investigator contact
Dr Katrina Andrews, Lecturer in Counselling
07 5459 4546
Dr Dyann Ross, Senior Lecturer in Social Work
07 5459 5565

Social Work and countering violent right-wing extremism: A comparative study of the gendered dimensions of Social Work practice in the US and Australia

Key dates

15/08/2022 – 21/02/23

Participants sought

I am hoping to speak to social workers located anywhere in Australia, both AASW members and non-members, who have completed a social work qualification (BSW or MSW). I would like to interview you if you have worked (or are currently working) with clients/consumers who hold extreme and/or violent ideologies which you would consider “extreme right wing”.

About

You are invited to participate in a research study on the work of social workers engaging with those who are either suspected of or are known to be involved in right-wing extremism. The research looks at social workers navigate this area of work, through training and practice. I am particularly interested in how social workers identify and manage any gender issues which arise in this work.

What is involved

If you agree to participate you will be asked to engage in a semi-structured interview with the researcher which should last approximately 1 hour. The interview will be conducted online using a platform that is most convenient to the participant (e.g., Zoom or similar). The interviews will be audio-recorded. The audio recording will be transcribed into a text document for analysis by the researcher. Once the transcript is complete, you will have a chance to read through it.

The types of questions asked will be about your social work background, the nature of work within the field of countering right wing extremism, and whether you have encountered any gendered issues working with this clientele. You will also be asked about, types of theories used in your work and what supports, and other services would you like to have to help with your work. You are also encouraged to tell me anything you feel is relevant about the work you have done or the work you are doing.

The interview data collected from you for this project is anonymous and all potentially identifying information will be removed from written transcripts of the interview prior to data analysis.

You will not be identified in the research write up – you will be given a pseudonym in any direct quotations used in the Doctoral thesis. All interview data will be de-identified including specific geographic markers or potentially identifying client information. Information will not be sought or used if it could potentially identify anyone in this field.

How to get involved

Please contact the Principal Researcher SPenn-Turrall@CSU.edu.au to arrange an interview.

Institution and investigator contact

This research is being conducted through Charles Sturt University.

Principal Researcher SPenn-Turrall@CSU.edu.au

Supervised by Dr Karen Bell and Dr John Healy.

Learning from the COVID-19 Pandemic: Understanding Experiences of Social Workers Operating in Mental Health in Australia

Key dates

25/03/2022 – 31/12/2022

Participants sought

  • You are eligible for AASW membership.
  • You have worked at any time during the COVID-19 pandemic in a mental health service setting (public or private organisation, hospital, community practice setting etc) anywhere in Australia.

About

In early 2020 the world was brought to a standstill by the unprecedented spread of COVID-19, and has since impacted the wellbeing of many who have been in isolation and lockdowns. This unique global phenomenon has resulted in a rise of concern for the mental wellbeing of populations and an increased need for mental health services The pandemic has challenged traditional methods and skills of face-to-face (or in-person) work with service users, leading to increased use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs).

This mixed methods study = explores Australian social worker experiences’ of mental health service delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic, The research will give us an in-depth understanding of practitioner experiences and intends to develop a ‘skill inventory’ for pandemic proof practice.

The exploration of Australian experiences will help identify the specialist and practical skills needed for current and future practice while laying the foundations for future in-depth research into this topic area. The findings may also have impact for universities, organisations and policy and practice.

What is involved

The study involves two stages.

Stage 1. Online Survey

Complete an online survey that explores 6 areas of social work practice. The survey will take approximately 20- 30 minutes to complete d

Stage 2. Focus Discussion Group

At the end of survey, you will be invited to participate in a focus discussion group (if you desire) to further discuss the challenges experienced and strategies adopted to practice during COVID-19.

Participation in both stages is completely voluntary. - Participation in the survey does not compel you to participate in the focus group discussion.

How to get involved

Copy and paste the link below onto your web browser to access the survey, participation information letter and consent form.

https://acu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0DIOk9ZkJA54K1M

Please direct any questions to below contacts

Institution and investigator contact

Australian Catholic University (ACU)

Kimberley Musarurwa (Social Work Honours Student Researcher)

Kimberley.musarurwa@myacu.edu.au

Dr Aniqa Farwa (Principal Investigator and Student Supervisor)

aniqa.farwa@acu.edu.au

Dr Sera Harris (Co-Investigator and Student Supervisor)

Sera.harris@acu.edu.au

Social Worker Perspectives on Working with Men who have Experienced Child Sexual Abuse

Key dates

27/4/2022 – 15/11/2022

Participants sought

Social workers located anywhere in Australia, both AASW members and non-members, who have completed a social work qualification (BSW or MSW), and have professional experience of working with men survivors of child sexual abuse.

About

The purpose of this research study is to explore and understand social workers’ perspectives on working with male survivors of CSA in Australia. The researchers are interested in learning about the contexts in which social workers meet and work with men survivors of CSA, the theoretical ideas and practice models that social workers rely on when working with men survivors, and what challenges influence their work with men survivors.

What is involved

Social workers with professional experience of working with adult men survivors of child sexual abuse will be interviewed about their perspectives and professional experiences. You will be asked to participate in one interview (45-60 mins) that will take place online by Zoom. Participation is completely voluntary and confidential.

How to get involved

Please email student researcher Amelia Craig at amelia.craig@myacu.edu.au

Institution and investigator contact

Dr. Alankaar Sharma (Chief Investigator)

Senior Lecturer in Social Work, Australian Catholic University
Email: Alankaar.Sharma@acu.edu.au

Dr. Sera Harris (Co-Investigator)

Senior Lecturer in Social Work, Australian Catholic University
Email: Sera.Harris@acu.edu.au

Ms. Amelia Craig (Student Researcher)

BSW (Honours) student

email: amelia.craig@myacu.edu.au

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers