Training the Researcher-Practitioner


Professor Trudy Festinger, NYU School of Social Work
Professor Joanne Turnbull, CUSSW


Professor Michael Moncher, Fordham University, Graduate School of Social Service

This workshop explored the issue -- some might call it a debate -- of the role of social work education in preparing Masters level candidates to take their places within the profession. Themes that merged from this workshop included the following a reas.

The paradigm of the MSW "researcher-practitioner", as more valuable than one who researchers to the exclusion of practice, or one who engages in direct practice to the exclusion of any research, will likely add heat, if not always light, to the continu ing search by the profession for theoretical and practical resolution of the question. Ultimately, it may be in best interest of the educational establishment, containing as it does numerous and varied interest groups, to take the initiative and to deal c ogently with what is perhaps a philosophical, self-definitional exercise. Training researcher-practitioners can only occur if we can agree to some extern on what they are. Are they practitioners who must learn all the statistical and methodological tools needed to do full-blown studies? Are they researchers who never before faced with a true "clinical" practice, must now come down from their mountaintops and learn the skills of direct practice? What kind of "research" is called for in training of this "re searcher-practitioner"? The answers to these and related questions were explored in this workshop.