the Social Work Research Program at the University of Newcastle has established a strong track record and an ERA ranking of well above world standard

SOCIAL WORK
Research Program

About us

Led by Professor Mel Gray from the School of Humanities and Social Science, the Social Work Research Program has established a strong track record and an Excellence in Research for Australia ranking of 'well above world standard'.

The over-arching theme of the program's research has been the translation of theory and research to inform social work education and practice.

Areas of established social work research at the University of Newcastle include:

  • Community engagement and capacity building Assets-based community development, disaster recovery, linking school and community
  • Child protection Child and family social work, child sexual abuse occurrence and outcome, institutional child abuse; prevalence, response and recovery
  • Creativity and art in social work Relationship between social work, art and social change
  • Environmental social work Climate change, environmental decline, women and the poor, natural disasters; preparedness, response and recovery
  • Evidence-based social work Research use in social work
  • Family estrangement
  • International, Indigenous and decolonising social work Impact of development policies on social work in the Global South, issues of social work's relevance in and contribution to Africa and Asia, including China
  • Social work and health Social management of chronic illness
  • Social work supervision Critical approach to social work supervision, critical pedagogy, organisational learning
  • Knowledge production and transfer in social work Connecting research to action, bridging the theory-practice gap
  • Neoliberal managerialism and its impact on social work and the human services
  • Social development
  • Social enterprise Social entrepreneurship, micro-enterprise development
  • Social policy Development studies, disability and the NDIS, impact of social policy and programs on service users and their families, social policy and programme implementation in complex environments
  • Social work education Experience-based learning, research-integrated learning, critical pedagogy, innovative pedagogy for equity, interprofessional education
  • Social work practice in rural, regional and remote locations Cultural contexts and culturally appropriate practice, environmental contexts of practice, policy and organisational contexts of rural and remote practice

Social work research at the University of Newcastle has an outstanding reputation. It was awarded a five ('well above world standard') rating in the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment conducted by the Australian Research Council (ARC). This is the highest ERA rating for social work in Australia and the University of Newcastle was the only university to receive a five in this field of research. 

Social Work Research Program Social Work Research Program members. Standing L to R: Mel Gray,
Lou Johnston, Leanne Schubert. Seated L to R: Dara Sampson,
Alice Acejas, Amanda Howard.