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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.13/934491
- Changing modes: a study of the knowledge economy of human service research in Australia
- This report provides an analysis and evaluation of the contemporary research landscape and the consequent production of knowledge within the human services and social work in Australia. The study explored whether social work constituted a ‘gold standard’ example of Mode 2 knowledge production as outlined by Gibbons, Limoges, Nowotny, Schwartzman, Scott, and Trow (1994). Their so-called ‘new theory of knowledge production’ hypothesises that collaborative research increases the likelihood that the findings of research will be translated to practice. Methods of analysis included a review of the literature on knowledge and its production in tandem with a targeted review of knowledge production in social work. The study showed that collaboration in and of itself does not lead to the uptake of research or the implementation of research findings. Equally important is the translation of knowledge – as research findings – into a form that can be used. More than the application of research or implementation of research findings, the uptake of knowledge requires organisational change to create an environment receptive to new knowledge and the practices it entails. In summary, despite advances in the theory of knowledge production, at a very practical level, partnerships and collaborations between researchers and industry partners do not necessarily result in knowledge translation without an interceding process of take-up and end-user engagement. The study found social work does not constitute the ‘gold standard’ of Mode 2 research, but confirmed the profession’s essential transdisciplinary nature and preference for styles of operation consistent with Mode 2. Recommendations from this research include the need for a holistic model for knowledge production that incorporates Mode 1 and Mode 2 activities and takes account of the impact of the research context and use of rankings to determine the nature of research within this field.
- Research Institute for Social Inclusion and Wellbeing (RISIW), University of Newcastle
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