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Service-user and provider perspectives on the ‘Team Around the Family’: a Q-methodological analysis of four cases.

SEMPIJA, RACHEL,ANNE (2011) Service-user and provider perspectives on the ‘Team Around the Family’: a Q-methodological analysis of four cases. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The research focused on the lived experiences of four service-users, their families and the professionals working with them in multidisciplinary early intervention teams in a local authority in the North East of England. ‘Teams around the family’, or TAFs, were working at a controversial (and significantly publicly scrutinised) period of social work, wider public sector reorganisation and funding cuts. Young people were subject to a Child in Need plan, under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 (amended 2004).

The comparability of the lived experience of different players in TAFs has suffered because studies have tended not to focus on the TAF group as a meaningful unit of analysis. The rationale for a Q-methodological study with a follow-up interview design is discussed. The original behaviourist position adopted by Stephenson, the father of Q, is described as well as the current ‘qualiquantilogical’ approach (Stenner & Stainton Rogers, 2004). A modified version of social constructivism, that considers power, was utilised to centralise active participation in the construction of shared understanding for participants.

Results from factor analysis of 34 Q-sorts and 24 follow-up interviews are given in a four factor solution. Briefer discussion is given to a five and three factor solution. Interview data and other commentary are integrated into reflection about expert-centric Expert Judges, family-centric Anti-Interventionists, system-centric Hopeful Reflectors and rights-centric Collaborators.

The helpfulness of the focus on highly emotive, rare and tragic stories through Serious Case Reviews is queried by the results. The argument for further researcher-practitioner studies and a more compassionate cycle of learning and development in social work is presented.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Social work, children’s safeguarding, Q-methodology, researcher-practitioner.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Applied Social Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2011
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:01 Aug 2019 11:49

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