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Practitioner Research refers to academic research and/or workplace research such as evaluation performed by individuals who also work in a professional field as opposed to being full-time academic researchers. Practitioner research developed as a recognised type of research in the last quarter of the 20th century. In this context, 'practitioner' means someone who delivers public services, such as a nurse, teacher, advice worker, probation officer, counsellor or social worker. To begin with, practitioner research developed in disciplinary silos, but by the turn of the century it had been recognised that all disciplines could approach practitioner research in broadly the same way.
For a practitioner, doing research alongside practice can assist with one or more of the following:
- Solving a specific problem, such as how to reduce crime on a particular housing estate.
- Contributing to the learning of a discipline such as education or social work.
- Influencing government policy, e.g. welfare or health policy.
It is also held to improve the quality of the practitioner-researcher's practice.
Practitioner research has two categories:
- Research in the workplace, such as a service evaluation or needs assessment, and
- Academic research related to the practitioner's role, such as a master's degree or PhD in a relevant subject.
- Kara H (2012) Research and evaluation for busy practitioners: a time-saving guide, p.1. Bristol: The Policy Press.
- Molde S and Diers D (1985) Nurse practitioner research: selected literature review and research agenda. In Nursing Research 34(6) pp 362-367
- Bell G and Colbeck B (1984) Whole school practitioner research: the Sunnyside Action Inquiry Project. In Educational Research 26(2) pp 88-94
- Pieper M (1985) The future of social work research. In Social Work Research Abstracts 21(4) pp 3-11
- Wilkinson D (ed) (2000) The researcher's toolkit: the complete guide to practitioner research (Routledge Study Guides). Abingdon: Routledge.
- Wilkinson D (ed) (2000) The researcher's toolkit: the complete guide to practitioner research (Routledge Study Guides), p.2. Abingdon: Routledge.
- Fox M, Martin P and Green G (2007) Doing practitioner research, p. 88. London: Sage.
- Kara H (2012) Research and evaluation for busy practitioners: a time-saving guide, p. 1. Bristol: The Policy Press
- Drake P and Heath L (2011) Practitioner research at doctoral level: developing coherent research methodologies. Abingdon: Routledge.
- Dahlberg L and McCaig C (eds) (2010) Practical research and evaluation: a start-to-finish guide for practitioners. London: Sage.
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