An international consensus on a research agenda for social work supervision?

Liz Beddoe,  Synnöve  Karvinen-Niinikoski,Gillian Ruch, Ming-sum Tsui

Is there an international consensus on the agenda for research and development of supervision in social work?

Our first article published from the  supervision agenda Delphi study project is now published. In 2012 the authors met to discuss possibilities for establishing an international consensus about the focus of supervision research. We identified the following shared understandings: 1) the centrality of supervision for good practice, 2) the need for a global map of supervisory practices, 3) acknowledgment of the threats and challenges to supervision associated with austerity and managerialism, and 4) the paucity of a coherent research agenda, including the lack of attention paid to identifying key areas for research and appropriate research methodologies.  The impetus for the project was our commitment to supervision as a reflective, transformative learning process, enabling and empowering practitioner participation in producing knowledge and as a forum for developing best practice. From our diverse locations—Finland, Hong Kong, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, the authors set out to explore understandings, concerns and gaps in knowledge about social work supervision and to identify key areas  and methodologies for research. To realise these aims, a Delphi Survey was devised as an initial research strategy (for its potential as a collaborative process) based on the following question:

We started from the premise that supervision is seen as a vital to meeting many professional demands:  reflection, the continuing development of professional skills, retention and wellbeing of practitioners, the safeguarding of competent and ethical practice and the oversight of casework.

The first phase of the study reported in this article confirms that internationally supervision researchers seek a deeper understanding of the impact of different contexts in which supervision is practiced and its effectiveness. The authors hope also that fruitful collaborations may be promoted in future  via the building of a better international network of supervision researchers. Read more in our BJSW article, link provided below.

Beddoe, L., Karvinen-Niinikoski, S., Ruch, G., & Tsui, M.-s. (2015). Towards an international consensus on a research agenda for social work supervision: Report on the first survey of a Delphi study. British Journal of Social Work. doi:10.1093/bjsw/bcv110 Read here 


4 thoughts on “An international consensus on a research agenda for social work supervision?

    • Thanks Lambert. And thank you for the info about the special issue on supervision in the EJSW. Would you like me to post about this from my blog?

  1. Apologies Liz, I missed your previous post about the special issue of EJSW. We are in the process of reviewing selected papers now. But i want to congratulate you with the work on “talking about supervision in Ireland”. The slides are very informative, even if the topic is demarcated to one country. I think it’s applicable to many other context. Thanks for the thought provoking work you are constantly producing!

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