Involving Directly Affected Parties in Research
Report on the Virtual Social Work Science Day 2020 of the St. Pölten UAS
Under the topic “Transformative Research”, this year’s Social Work Science Day of the St. Pölten UAS dealt with how affected persons can be integrated into research projects as well as with the consequences and challenges of the new multitude of perspectives.
Contribution by affected people
Transformative research allows affected persons to contribute to research themselves and to create a basis for rearranging and reorganising their life together with social workers and scientists. Within the framework of the symposium held by the St. Pölten UAS which took place online this year due to the current situation, 200 social work practitioners exchanged their views and experience on the topic.
“The special characteristic of transformative science is that effective changes in practical fields relevant for social work can be initiated through the collaboration of different disciplines and the involvement of concerned parties themselves. Complex problems in particular cannot be solved from a single perspective”, explains Johannes Pflegerl, head of the Ilse Arlt Institute for Social Inclusion Research at the St. Pölten UAS.
Transformative Research Is Change-Oriented Research
Susanne Elsen from the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano held the keynote speech of the symposium. “Transformative research refers to change-oriented research and development”, says Susanne Elsen. “This research paradigm is based on the knowledge that complex problems can be understood and solved only with a multi-perspective approach. This knowledge developed over the past three decades against the background of social and ecological destruction. Social work is a discipline and profession where this culture of participatory and change-oriented research and development took shape very early on. Now we have to rethink his understanding to adapt it to changed circumstances.”
Support during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Transformative social research remains important in the current Covid-19 pandemic: in one of the workshops, the participants addressed the consequences of the lockdown for persons unable to leave their homes due to old age, illness or disability, and discussed how affected persons can be involved in establishing a supportive network.
Innovative Projects in Teaching and Research
In a poster session and in workshops, students of the master degree programme Social Work and the master-degree further education programme Social Pedagogy used current projects to show how they develop solution approaches relevant for social work through research involving affected persons. The projects included topics such as Social Work 4.0 in digital living environments, the support of care-giving relatives, and participatory community work.
Social Work Science Day of the St. Pölten UAS: Transformative Research
The Social Work Science Day is an event hosted by the Ilse Arlt Institute for Social Inclusion Research of the Department of Social Sciences at the St. Pölten UAS. The Institute deals with social work-scientific research and development in the focus areas of participation, diversity & democracy development, health & social care, and social work methodologies & social diagnostics.
FH-Prof. Mag. Dr. Johannes PflegerlHead of Research Institute
Ilse Arlt Institute for Social Inclusion Research Lecturer Deputy Academic Director Social Work (MA) Deputy Head of Department Department of Social Sciences