Applied Social Studies - Journal Articles

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    The social media, online and digital abuse and harassment of social workers, probation officers and social work students in Ireland: A national survey
    (Oxford University Press, 2024-06-08) Burns, Kenneth; Halvey, Olwen; Ó Súilleabháin, Fiachra; O’Callaghan, Elaine; Coelho, Gabriel
    An estimated five billion people use social media globally. The digital world enables networking and community-building beyond geographical and jurisdictional boundaries, it can facilitate information-sharing and knowledge development, and facilitates speedy access and communications links. On the other hand, digital and social media platforms can also be sources and purveyors of hurt, discrimination, defamation, hatred, abuse, cyberbullying and disinformation. Their increased usage within professional practice has become a nascent area for scholarly debate and research. Our scoping literature search indicated that there are very few studies examining this issue within the profession. This article seeks to address a considerable gap in the research by reporting the findings from an exploratory study in Ireland focusing on social workers, probation officers and social work students. Three hundred seventy-nine participants completed an online survey on their experiences of using social media, with eighty-three (21.9 per cent) participants indicating that they had experienced online and digital abuse and harassment. Facebook, Twitter (now X), and email were the top three sources of abuse and harassment by platform.
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    Teaching empathy on a remote social work placement: Relationship-based practice teaching
    (Whiting & Birch, 2023-08-10) O'Brien, Elaine; Halton, Carmel; Rose, Joanne; Drinan, Chelsea
    In this article, the author reflects on their experience of teaching and supervising an MSW student on placement, in a fostering agency, during COVID-19. The author emphasises the practical and pedagogical challenges they experienced when developing learning opportunities for online placement, during a global pandemic. The article points to design features of the placement, to their implementation, and discusses learning outcomes for the student and practice teacher. The author drew on related literature when preparing for and designing the placement. They were guided by the work of Bennett (2008) and their principles of effective supervision, the Kolb learning cycle (1984), and research on empathy (Morrison, 2005; Gerdes, et al 2011).The author focused on representing how role modelling the skill of empathy in the supervision space was used to support their practice teaching methodology. The student feedback on completion of the placement provides evidence that supports the author’s contention that supervision must be made a safe context for student learning. In addition, the use of ‘role modelling’ as a teaching methodology and the importance of ‘relationship building’ between the practice teacher and the student in the supervision space are critical components of the placement learning experience and subsequent learning outcomes.
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    Here's the truth about resilience
    (Raidió Teilifís Éireann, 2023-04-18) Lotty, Maria
    Opinion: it's time to debunk the notion that resilience is a personality trait: we are not born with it, it's a human process we have to engage with
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    Trauma in the foster care system: finding positive ways forward in practice
    (The Irish Foster Care Association (IFCA), 2024) McCormack, Lisa; Campbell, Niamh; Lotty, Maria; Barrett, Niamh
    This article discusses a new initiative in a fostering team within Tusla–Child and Family Agency that is using a trauma-informed lens. The initiative is part of an area-wide project (in Dublin South Central) that is endeavouring to embed trauma-informed practices in service provision, through the TARA practice model (University College Cork, 2023). The Dublin South Central area is one of 17 areas of the child welfare agency. TARA supports the integration of trauma-informed practices into current practices. The ‘T’ in the acronym denotes trauma, ‘A’ is for Attachment, ‘R’ is for resilience and ‘A’ stands for into-Action. TARA supports recognising, acknowledging, and identifying ways to support children and families who have been exposed to traumatic experiences whilst also bearing in mind the impact of this work on the practitioner.
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    The application of co-operative inquiry to a student led research project on social work placement: A student, professional placement coordinator, and academic tutor reflect on their experience
    (IASW, Irish Association of Social Workers, 2023) Halton, Carmel; Rose, Joanne; McLaughlin, Amy
    The authors reflect on their experiences of engaging in an international, online, student-led co-operative inquiry research project. It was designed and delivered during Covid-19 a time when placements and social work education had to adapt and accommodate new teaching and learning methods, to enable social work education programmes to continue and when all but essential international and internal travel was restricted (Dept. of Taoiseach, 2020, Archer-Kuhn et al 2020, O’Brien et al, 2023, McLaughlin, et al 2020). For the placement duration, Australian and Irish social work students and their academic tutors engaged in online conversations that were transcribed, resulting in the co-production of data. (McLaughlin et al, in press) The authors include a student, an academic, and a professional placement coordinator. The research project was a first-time engagement with such an activity for all 3 authors. They discuss features of the project design and its enactment and critically reflect on their own engagement with the project. Using co-operative inquiry, the article points to how students, in collaboration with academic tutors, used co-operative inquiry and various technological affordances to complete a piece of practice research, while on placement, during Covid-19. The article points to an increase in student knowledge and confidence in completing field research.