'Enabling Others in Social Work: A Review of the Reflexive Framework'

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article describes a piece of social research commissioned by the Northern Ireland Social Care Council. It investigated the significance of a reflexive framework and linked, enabling process for social work practice. Both of these conceptual areas had been previously developed by the author and outlined in a prior submission to the journal. The methodological orientation was qualitative and idiographic so that the participants' in-depth meanings could be captured in the form of a case study. In terms of data collection, three parallel, coterminous focus groups were convened and met on three occasions. To enhance the study's representativeness, the sample was purposively drawn from a range of social work sectors and enabling contexts within Northern Ireland. The results showed that the participants wanted a reduced format and presentation of the framework, one that was accessible for busy practitioners and one that helped to clarify the nature of social work within the political and economic spheres. They also strongly registered the barriers to practising reflexivity in the modern organisation. Although the research design was limited to perspectival accounts, it showed how reflexive social work practice can be helpfully conceptualised through an awareness of the impact of various power-laden, psychosocial domains on social life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-423
Number of pages17
JournalCritical and Radical Social Work
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2015

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