Beneficence in psycho-social research and the role of containment

Ruch, Gillian (2014) Beneficence in psycho-social research and the role of containment. Qualitative Social Work, 13 (4). pp. 522-538. ISSN 1473-3250

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Within the context of research ethics beneficence consistently receives less attention than non-maleficence and research ‘benefits’ are predominantly understood in tangible, intentional terms. Scanter attention has been given to the more subtle aspects of the research process that elicit less tangible, and often unexpected, benefits for research participants. Drawing on a study conducted with social workers in two childcare social work settings, this article outlines how psycho-social approaches to research – and specifically the concept of containment – can provide fruitful theoretical and conceptual frameworks for the development of more complex understandings of beneficence in the research process. The article concludes by proposing that there is scope to enhance the experience and quality of research if, from the outset, attention to containment is embedded within the research process. Realizing ‘containing’ research involves firstly, recognizing the capacity of researchers to retain an observational stance of ‘negative capability’ that attends to research processes and secondly, understanding the importance of social researchers being contained through appropriate support systems that help to manage the anxiety inherent in social work research contexts specifically, and human relations research, more broadly.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Social Work and Social Care
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV0040 Social service. Social work. Charity organization and practice Including social case work, private and public relief, institutional care, rural social work, work relief
Depositing User: Michael Davy
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2013 10:21
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2019 01:36

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