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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

Exploring the diversity of social work practice responses to domestic violence against women

Key dates

The survey will be open from 1st October 2018 until 31st December 2018.

Participants sought

Participation is sought from social Workers who are currently eligible for membership of the AASW and providing health services in Australia including public and private hospitals, mental health services, community health services, not for profit organizations as well as accredited health and mental health social workers in private practice.


The study is requesting feedback from social workers to identify what informs their responses when working with women who have experienced domestic violence in terms of training, supervision, organisational policy and experience to understand what guides professional social work practice with women who receive social work assistance for domestic violence.

What is involved

You can participate in the study by completing an anonymous online survey, which will take approximately 20 minutes to complete. This is the first part of the study and you may wish to submit your responses to the questionnaire and end your participation at this stage.

At the end of the survey you will be invited to participate further and progress to stage two of the study by expressing your interest in attending an individual interview (in person, by phone or Skype) to explore these matters further.

How to get involved

Information for potential participants, consent form and the questionnaire can be accessed via this link:

Institution and investigator contact

Principal investigator for the study is:
Vera Hempel, MSW, GDRC, BSW, BA.
PhD Candidate College of Arts, Society and Education, JCU.

Supervisors for the study are:
Associate Professor Debra Miles, PhD, MSW, BSW
College of Arts, Society and Education, JCU.

Associate Professor Susan Gair, PhD, GCTT, PG Cert Writing, BSW (Hons.)
College of Arts, Society and Education, JCU.

Cultural competence in mental health practitioners in Australia

Key dates

This survey closes 23 October 2018.

Participants sought

  • Mental health practitioners i.e. psychologists, counsellors, social workers, nurses, occupational therapists, psychiatrists and others that work within mental health.
  • Willing to give 30 minutes of your time, online.


How culturally competent are mental health practitioners?

What is involved

Your participation will involve completing an anonymous online survey. Questions will be about your perceptions and knowledge about culturally competent service provision

The survey can be taken at any time that is convenient for you.

How to get involved

Please complete the survey.

Institution and investigator contact

Principal Researcher: Ms Inge-Marie Piekkala - Honours student

Associate Researcher: Dr Kate Murray - Supervisor

School of Psychology and Counselling, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

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:

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

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