Third International Conference on Practice Research June 9-11, 2014
New York City

A persistent metaphor for linking social work research and practice is "building a bridge". However, prevailing strategies for doing so come closer to "digging a pipeline"-- with all knowledge flowing from academic researchers to social work practitioners and ultimately to the people who use social work services. But real bridges support two-way traffic, and social work knowledge-building should do the same.

The purpose of this conference is to promote innovative, flexible and truly collaborative practice-research strategies that engage academic researchers and social work practitioners in a productive dialogue rather than a conflict over research-based "versus" practice-based knowledge-development paradigms. It is intended to bring our most inventive national and international thinkers together to learn from each other rather than to set them apart.


Conference Mission and Objectives

The organizers of this conference-practice research leaders from several countries---view the New York conference as a means of widening the discussion of practice research by engaging a broader international audience of current practitioners, users and researchers regarding the role practice research can play in knowledge-building. Additionally, we view the New York conference as a means of engaging social work educators regarding the role of social work practice research in educating future social workers to confront the following challenges that could be presentation topics:

  • Engaging practitioners and researchers meaningfully in a dialogue about research designs, outcomes and implementation.
  • Involving researchers more closely in the day to day practice contexts.
  • Involving senior management in order to develop the necessary organizational supports for social work practice research and/or partnering with university-based researchers.
  • Inviting other research colleagues to adopt multidisciplinary and trans-disciplinary approaches to the dissemination and utilization of social work practice research; what are some of the best ways of disseminating social work practice research through a multi-actor approach?
  • Discussing the possibilities and the barriers in the negotiated meeting-points between practice and research.
  • Expanding the domain of social work practice research to actively include service users.
  • Promoting the transformation of practice questions into practice research questions through the active use of critical reflection and critical thinking.
  • Educating research-minded practitioners at the BSW, MSW, DSW & PhD levels.
  • Educating practice-minded researchers through the exploration of applied research methodologies that locate them within various social work practice domains.
  • Deliberating the changing context of practice; e.g.,how can practice research inform the merging health, mental health and social services in numerous governmental locales around the world?
  • Developing public policy; how do findings from practice research get translated into new, more service user relevant policies and practices?

Conference Organizing Committee

  • Irwin Epstein - (Chair) Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, USA
  • Michael Austin - University of California (Berkeley), USA
  • Mike Fisher - University of Bedfordshire, UK
  • Christa Fouche - University of Auckland, NZ
  • Harriet Goodman - Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, USA
  • Dan Herman - Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, USA
  • Lynette Joubert - University of Melbourne, AU
  • Ilse Julkunen - University of Helsinki, FI
  • Rosaleen Ow - National University of Singapore, SG
  • Gary Rosenberg - Ichan School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, USA
  • Riki Savaya - Tel Aviv University, IL
  • Timothy Sim - Hong Kong Polytechnic University, HK
  • Lars Uggerhøj - Aalborg University, DK
  • Co-sponsor:


    Doris Siegel Memorial Fund, Division of Social Work and Behavioral Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

    We thank the New York Community Trust for their support of this conference.