Social Care Research

Social Care Research

What is Social Care Research?

Social care research includes research into services that are provided for adults and children who require personal care, support or protection. These services include those that are provided by the NHS, local authorities, private and voluntary organisations and even the families themselves. Previously social care research was limited to social service departments and social workers; it is now recognised that these services are provided by a much larger range of stakeholders.

What methods should I use for social care research?

Social care research can be challenging because of the increased need to take into account often complex contextual elements, multiple stakeholder experiences and views, shifting fiscal and political boundaries. Research often combines qualitative and quantitative methods in order to fully address multi-factorial research questions.  One way to address this is to use complex intervention methods. Complex interventions are those that are made up of various interconnecting parts, for example, interventions directed at a social care workers’ behaviour, community based interventions (such as programs to address loneliness), group interventions (such as within schools). They can also be individual-based interventions such as cognitive behavioural therapy.

For more information see:

MRC – Developing and evaluating complex interventions

The Magenta Book – guidance for evaluation

How can the RDS help you?

  • advice on your research question;
  • research design;
  • linking with other professionals;
  • advice on appropriate funding sources.