Social work students perceptions of their role and of their future profession in the light of media coverage

Drake, Catherine (2011) Social work students perceptions of their role and of their future profession in the light of media coverage. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    The aim of this research project is to explore MSc Social Work students' experiences and personal feelings on becoming practitioners in the light of the media coverage about the profession and the staff working within it. The study was replicated on a recent unpublished research project by Whittaker and Holyland (2010). Students from years 1 and 2 took part in two separate focus groups. A closed question, anonymous questionnaire was given to all participants whose answers were stored and processed using electronic voting equipment, immediately followed by a focus group discussion based on the questionnaire responses. The main finding was that participants felt that their social work training needs to formally address the role the media plays in the profession, and provide an outlet to allow them to discuss their concerns. Results also indicated that participants not only felt the media is negative about social work but that if the current situation remains the profession will struggle with retention. There was no significant difference between the two year groups with many of the same issues being raised and similar responses given. However, the results suggest that level 2 students are more aware of external influences to their practice, and as a result has left some feeling demoralised or frustrated. This research recommends that higher education institutions consider adapting their curriculums to include more time to address negative media and the existing stigma around the profession. It is recommended that social work students be provided with a forum to discuss their views, where they can be acknowledged and supported by academic staff. This is seen to be essential to ensure the long term retention of social workers.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Science > School of Health Sciences and Social Work
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2011 15:33
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:40

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