Postgraduate students learning about research: exploring the attitudes of social work and mental health students in an English university setting.

Bell, Linda and Clancy, Carmel (2013) Postgraduate students learning about research: exploring the attitudes of social work and mental health students in an English university setting. Social Work and Social Sciences Review, 16 (2). pp. 37-50. ISSN 0953-5225

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Abstract

We discuss an ongoing pedagogic initiative and research project exploring how postgraduates undertaking social work or mental health educational programmes in one UK university since 2007 responded to learning about research methods during a year-long module. Few studies have looked specifically at postgraduate students’ attitudes towards research / research methods although previous work considered undergraduate students’ attitudes or research methods training for social work or health studies students. We note from previous research that students may express anxiety when learning about research, particularly quantitative methods. Using an existing validated rating scale with 5 subscales (Papanastasiou, 2005), we explored student attitudes prior to taking a research module and the possible significance of gender, professional group and status on course (college or employment based). We report initial findings from two student cohorts (2007-8 & 2008-9) comprising 105 social work + dual diagnosis (mental health) masters students. Project data was then used by students to complete a quantitative assignment as part of module assessment. Results showed these students had a ‘positive’ attitude towards research pre-module; this was generally maintained but did not increase post-module. Student cohorts were rated as having overall research ‘anxiety’ pre-module; this lessened post-module although the change was not statistically significant. A significant change (decrease) in ‘usefulness to career’ subscale was recorded post-module. We consider the factors that could have impacted on these research findings such as reduced follow up sample sizes ; but report how combining a pedagogic initiative with a research project offers opportunities to explore this complex area in more depth and with positive outcomes for student learning.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Mental Health, Social Work and Interprofessional Learning
Item ID: 9017
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Linda Bell
Date Deposited: 09 May 2012 06:53
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:24
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/9017

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