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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

The Psychological Health and Wellbeing of Australian Healthcare Professionals

Key dates

This study will be open until March 2019.

Participants sought

You are eligible to participate in this study because you reside in Australia, are over 18 years of age, and have worked as a healthcare professional providing care and/or intervention for anyone within Australia in the last five years.


The purpose of this study is to examine the possible predictors of healthcare professionals’ positive and negative psychological outcomes associated with their work. The results of the present study could increase our understanding of the factors influencing the psychological wellbeing of Australia’s healthcare workforce, and inform interventions to support these individuals.

What is involved

You will be asked to complete an anonymous online survey examining professional quality of life, psychological distress, job satisfaction, resilience, and coping. The survey will also ask that you provide some general demographic information about yourself, and is expected to take approximately 30-45 minutes to complete. Your submission of the survey will imply consent.

How to get involved

You can access the survey and further information.

Institution and investigator contact

This study is being conducted by Dr Kimberley Norris and Katelyn Cragg within the Division of Psychology at the University of Tasmania. Dr Kimberley Norris is the Chief Investigator on this project.

If you have any questions or concerns about this study, please do not hesitate to contact us:

Social Work Services for Male Eating Disorders

Key dates

Survey Closes: 30 September 2018

Final Thesis Submission: 20 December 2018

Participants sought

This study is looking for social workers work with clients with eating disorders. Those with experience working with male clients with eating disorders will be particularly welcomed.

The settings that participants work in may be, but are not limited to, specialist in-patient or outpatient programs, community mental health services or in private practice.


This research project aims to address significant gaps in research regarding social work services for male clients with eating disorders. We hope to allow you to share your valuable insights, which we believe need to be explored to enhance social work services for this marginalised and stigmatised client group.

What is involved

Participants will complete a 10-20-minute online survey containing multiple choice and open-ended questions. At the end of the survey, participants will be asked if they would like to have a 20-30 minute follow-up telephone interview at a time that best suits them.

How to get involved

Please be directed to the study.

Institution and investigator contact

Monash University

Miss Finola Sulman
Masters of Social Work
Ph: 0425 368 997

Associate Professor Fiona McDermott
Department of Social Work
Ph: 03 9903 1709

Encountering interspecies homelessness: Social work with vulnerable groups and their companion animals

Key Dates

Survey (Stage 1 of research) open from February 2018 to July/August 2018.

Semi-structured in-depth interviews taking place from March 2018 to August/September 2018

Participants sought

Victorian social workers working in Domestic Violence/Family Violence and Housing/Homelessness service provision


There has been a companion animal (pet) ‘turn’, or awareness in the mainstream media and community about the need for consideration of all members of interspecies families impacted by family violence and homelessness. What is less known is how this turn is playing out in the field of social work.

Despite recommendations that the awareness of the Human-Animal Bond be incorporated into companion animal-inclusive practice being made in social work literature, there is, to date, no documented evidence that this is happening in Australian social work. Anecdotally, there is a culture of covert, or subversive practices that has emerged to address this problem, in particular with the provision of social work to women experiencing, or at risk of homelessness.

This research has the potential to validate these practices by making them visible, thus demonstrating the importance of companion animals to the lived experience of service users.

What is involved?

Stage 1 of the research involves completion of an online survey of questions about social work with women who have pets, with the option to be involved in Stage 2 interviews.

How to get involved?

The online survey takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete, and can be accessed at

Institution and investigator contact

Melissa Laing BSW(Hons)/BSocSc(Psych)

PhD Candidate, Social Global Studies Centre

School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University

Prof Guy Johnson, Senior Supervisor/Chief investigator

Theorising the understanding of transpersonal experiences for social work practice

Key dates

Expressions of interest to participate in research close 30 September 2018

Participants sought

Social workers who have had clients disclose transpersonal (extrasensory, paranormal, mystical or psychic) experiences to them.


This research seeks an understanding of how social workers work with clients who disclose transpersonal experiences (extrasensory, paranormal, mystical or psychic) to them, and to explore the practice methodology that social workers use in responding to these clients. In this research the term transpersonal is used for these experiences. This may include but are not limited to; reconnection or ongoing connection with deceased loved ones, after death, near death or out of body experience, use of telepathy or intuition, indigenous spiritual or cultural phenomena, psychospiritual transformation, spiritual and mystical states, distance healing or use of bioenergy modalities such as Therapeutic Touch, Reiki, Acupuncture and so forth. These transpersonal experiences can be perceived as positive or negative; for example, healing reconnection with deceased loved ones or psychospiritual transformation may be perceived as positive and welcomed whilst spiritual experiences that have features similar to psychosis may be disturbing and distressing. The focus of the research is on the intervention used by practitioners, rather the content of the client’s experience. The interview material will be developed into an integrated theoretical and practice framework.

What is involved

Participation will involve audio recorded interviews (approximately 60 minutes duration) either face to face or by telephone.

How to get involved

Please contact Helen Parish (research contact) by email or telephone to register your interest in participating in this research.

Institution and investigator contact

Curtin University

Dr Mark Liddiard (Research Supervisor)

Prof Maria Harries (Research Supervisor)

Helen Parish (Doctoral Candidate)

Telephone: 0422 028 645. Email:

Mental health service cultures and reform aspirations

Key dates

The researcher will be conducting interviews from March to October 2018.

Participants sought

Mental health professionals, consumers and families (or carers/supporters) who are currently working in, or accessing mental health services in Australia, or have in the past five years.


You are invited to participate in a research study being conducted by Sophie Ridley, a PhD student at Curtin University.

This study seeks to understand how consumers, families and professionals experience mental health service cultures. The project is also interested to explore how service culture can help or hinder the type of change in mental health services that is called for in Australian policy documents.

One of the challenges is that culture can mean different things to different people. It can be difficult to define, particularly as it is not something we can see or hold. Despite this, we constantly hear different groups call for ‘culture change’. This project defines culture in the following ways:

  • Values (i.e. what is seen as important and what is valued).
  • Attitudes and beliefs (about and towards consumers, families and professionals).
  • What is considered ‘normal’ (or taken for granted, and therefore is not questioned).
  • Usual ways of doing ‘business’ or providing services (including ‘rules’ about what is acceptable or unacceptable).
  • The meanings that are applied to situations, people and behaviours.

What is involved

Participating in one semi-structured in depth interview. Interviews can be conducted in person or via phone or Skype.

How to get involved

For more information on this project and what participation will involve, please contact Sophie Ridley by email: or phone: 0439 933 468.

You can also find additional information here:

Institution and investigator contact

Sophie Ridley

Curtin University, Perth


Phone: 0439 933 468

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers