Social work research in the child protection field in Australia

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Tilbury, C, Hughes, M, Bigby, C & Osmond, J 2017, 'Social work research in the child protection field in Australia', The British Journal of Social Work, vol. 47, no. 1, pp. 256-274.

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Social work makes an important contribution to child protection practice and policy in Australia, but data are limited about the discipline's contribution to research. The aim of this scoping review was to examine the quantity and nature of Australian social work child protection research for the period 2007–14. A comprehensive search of nine bibliographic databases identified 255 peer-reviewed articles. The papers were authored by 287 researchers, most of whom published only one paper during the period. The research was published in seventeen Australian and thirty-five international journals. Non-empirical papers and those using qualitative methodologies were most prevalent, and there was a lack of research depth and quantum on particular child protection topics. The findings indicate that developing more sustained programmes of research, underpinned by a balanced portfolio of methods and approaches, would maximise the potential for research impact on child protection policy and practice.

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