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Social work research

The School of Social Sciences (SOCSI) has a thriving programme of research in the field of social work and social care. The School regularly carries out research projects funded by research councils, national and local government and the third sector. SOCSI is one of three Welsh universities hosting the Academic Social Care Collaboration, funded by the National Institute of Social Care and Health Research (NISCHR).

Areas of research strength in SOCSI include looked after children and adoption, child protection, substance misuse and parenting, working with men, risk management, poverty, social work enquiries, social work education, self harm and suicide, as well as methodology and research capacity-building.



Social work academic staff are listed next with links to their web-pages for lists of funded research projects and publications, as well as involvement in policy and practice.

The School has a large number of social work PhD and Professional Doctorate students. Many of these are funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) through the Wales Doctoral Centre or by NISCHR social care studentships. The school also hosts the MA in Social Work, enrolling 48 students per year. Qualified practitioners may study part-time for the MSc Post-Qualifying Social Work award. Both Masters’ schemes include a research based dissertation.

If you are interested in applying to do a social work or social care research degree in SOCSI please look at the relevant web pages and feel free to contact staff with expertise in relation to your research interests.


Current and recent funded research projects include:




A full list of publications may be found on individual staff web pages (see links above). Below are a selection of books published by Cardiff social work researchers.


Research Networks

Social work researchers are members of several research groups and centres in Cardiff University, including the Health, Well-being and Social Care group, the Childhood Research Group, Adoption Research Group, DECIPHER, and WISERD. Cardiff social work researchers also have strong links with other universities, having collaborated on funded research and publications with colleagues in Bedfordshire, Bath, Birmingham, Bristol, Lancaster, Liverpool, LSE, Sussex and Swansea, amongst others. In terms of international universities, there are strong research links with McGill, Michigan, Newcastle (Australia) and Hong Kong Polytechnic. Cardiff social work academics have been invited keynote speakers at research conferences in Canada, Norway and the Republic Ireland.

Social Work Research & Practice Guest Lectures

Each year we run a guest lecture series about social work research and practice. This year's dates and topics can be found here.

Involvement with Policy and Practice

We have a strong relationship with the Welsh Government. Professor Mark Drakeford is the Welsh Health Minister. Professor Andy Pithouse is seconded part-time to the Welsh Government as special advisor for social services. Dr Sally Holland was academic member on the Welsh Assembly Government’s Safeguarding Children Review  2004-5 and an expert advisor to the Adoption Inquiry 2012. Dr Heather Ottaway is a member of the Welsh Government’s expert advisory group on adoption.

Cardiff social work researchers are regularly invited to give keynote speeches to practitioner conferences across the UK. Staff involvement with practice developments includes Mr Aled Jones’s work in training Mental Health First Aid trainers and Dr Teresa De Villiers’s membership of the Care Council for Wales Conduct and Registration committee. Dr Alyson Rees is a council member of the Care Council for Wales. Dr Sally Holland is a member of the board of trustees of Voices from Care Cymru.