Even When No One is Looking: Students' Perceptions of Social Work Professions. A Case Study in a Northern Ireland University

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Public perceptions, increased scrutiny and successive governments’ reshaping and attempting to define what is and what is not social work has eroded the progressive and radical force
of the profession. This article explores how students’ perceive the profession and presents evidence
from a small-scale study conducted in a Northern Ireland University with 37 undergraduate social
work students and 25 postgraduate student social workers (training-as-practice educators) on their
perceptions of the characteristics of a professional social worker. A quantitative research design was
used, consisting of a face-to-face survey distributed to respondents following an input on the Place
Model, (Clarke, 2016). Respondents also shared their perceptions in relation to Freidson’s (2001) three
logics: professionalism, bureaucracy and the free market, with Ternary graphs and word clouds used
as a novel way to present this data. Several themes emerged as important characteristics of social
work professionals including reliability, accountability, ethics and appearance. At the other end of the
scale, respondents identified unprofessional, de-personalised and cynical as the least aspirational qualities of the profession.
LanguageEnglish
Article number233
Pages1-19
Number of pages19
JournalEducation Sciences
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sep 2019

Fingerprint

Northern Ireland
Social Work
social work
profession
Students
social worker
student
quantitative research
bureaucracy
research planning
Social Responsibility
moral philosophy
Ethics
educator
responsibility
Research Design
market
Surveys and Questionnaires
Social Workers

Keywords

  • social work education; students’ perceptions; professional identity; higher education; Northern Ireland

Cite this

@article{66e8f4e123cd437788f4948208bc5510,
title = "Even When No One is Looking: Students' Perceptions of Social Work Professions. A Case Study in a Northern Ireland University",
abstract = "Public perceptions, increased scrutiny and successive governments’ reshaping and attempting to define what is and what is not social work has eroded the progressive and radical forceof the profession. This article explores how students’ perceive the profession and presents evidencefrom a small-scale study conducted in a Northern Ireland University with 37 undergraduate socialwork students and 25 postgraduate student social workers (training-as-practice educators) on theirperceptions of the characteristics of a professional social worker. A quantitative research design wasused, consisting of a face-to-face survey distributed to respondents following an input on the PlaceModel, (Clarke, 2016). Respondents also shared their perceptions in relation to Freidson’s (2001) threelogics: professionalism, bureaucracy and the free market, with Ternary graphs and word clouds usedas a novel way to present this data. Several themes emerged as important characteristics of socialwork professionals including reliability, accountability, ethics and appearance. At the other end of thescale, respondents identified unprofessional, de-personalised and cynical as the least aspirational qualities of the profession.",
keywords = "social work education; students’ perceptions; professional identity; higher education; Northern Ireland",
author = "{Mac Dermott}, Denise",
year = "2019",
month = "9",
day = "4",
doi = "10.3390/educsci9030233",
language = "English",
volume = "9",
pages = "1--19",
journal = "Education Sciences",
issn = "2227-7102",
publisher = "MDPI AG",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Even When No One is Looking: Students' Perceptions of Social Work Professions. A Case Study in a Northern Ireland University

AU - Mac Dermott, Denise

PY - 2019/9/4

Y1 - 2019/9/4

N2 - Public perceptions, increased scrutiny and successive governments’ reshaping and attempting to define what is and what is not social work has eroded the progressive and radical forceof the profession. This article explores how students’ perceive the profession and presents evidencefrom a small-scale study conducted in a Northern Ireland University with 37 undergraduate socialwork students and 25 postgraduate student social workers (training-as-practice educators) on theirperceptions of the characteristics of a professional social worker. A quantitative research design wasused, consisting of a face-to-face survey distributed to respondents following an input on the PlaceModel, (Clarke, 2016). Respondents also shared their perceptions in relation to Freidson’s (2001) threelogics: professionalism, bureaucracy and the free market, with Ternary graphs and word clouds usedas a novel way to present this data. Several themes emerged as important characteristics of socialwork professionals including reliability, accountability, ethics and appearance. At the other end of thescale, respondents identified unprofessional, de-personalised and cynical as the least aspirational qualities of the profession.

AB - Public perceptions, increased scrutiny and successive governments’ reshaping and attempting to define what is and what is not social work has eroded the progressive and radical forceof the profession. This article explores how students’ perceive the profession and presents evidencefrom a small-scale study conducted in a Northern Ireland University with 37 undergraduate socialwork students and 25 postgraduate student social workers (training-as-practice educators) on theirperceptions of the characteristics of a professional social worker. A quantitative research design wasused, consisting of a face-to-face survey distributed to respondents following an input on the PlaceModel, (Clarke, 2016). Respondents also shared their perceptions in relation to Freidson’s (2001) threelogics: professionalism, bureaucracy and the free market, with Ternary graphs and word clouds usedas a novel way to present this data. Several themes emerged as important characteristics of socialwork professionals including reliability, accountability, ethics and appearance. At the other end of thescale, respondents identified unprofessional, de-personalised and cynical as the least aspirational qualities of the profession.

KW - social work education; students’ perceptions; professional identity; higher education; Northern Ireland

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85073352936&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3390/educsci9030233

DO - 10.3390/educsci9030233

M3 - Article

VL - 9

SP - 1

EP - 19

JO - Education Sciences

T2 - Education Sciences

JF - Education Sciences

SN - 2227-7102

IS - 3

M1 - 233

ER -