Understanding social policy: what do we learn from research with different actors within the policy process

  • Simpson, M. (Speaker)
  • Ruth Patrick (Speaker)
  • Steve Crossley (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Research on the welfare state may examine the development of high-level policy, street-level implementation of policy or the impact of policy developments on claimants’ everyday lives. Empirical studies correspondingly tend to focus on different actors within the system. This participatory workshop will bring together academics with divergent approaches to researching various aspects of social welfare policy development and implementation to discuss the experience of research with different actors in the process. It will consider the opportunities and limitations associated with a focus on particular groups, as well as exploring the potential for research that works with several stakeholder categories simultaneously. The workshop will include short presentations from individuals who have recently researched ‘welfare’ by interviewing street level workers (Crossley), elite policy makers (Simpson) and out-of-work benefit recipients (Patrick). Presentations will highlight the advantages and challenges implicit in research with these groups, as well as the specific insights that can be gained from work with each group. There will then be opportunities for small group activities and discussion, before a final whole group interactive session looking at how we can best use these different forms of knowledge and expertise to better understand the ‘welfare’ policy making process, and its impact.
Period11 Jul 2017
Event titleSocial Policy Association annual conference 2017
Event typeConference
LocationDurham, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • social policy
  • research methods
  • elite actors
  • experts by experience
  • service users
  • street level bureaucrats
  • frontline workers