Working together: research and practice

Working together: research and practice

Research and its role in our discipline and department is something that we discuss with our undergraduate psychology students from their very first day on the course. The psychology staff team are all research active and have either achieved PhD’s or are working towards them.  We are extremely proud of the research culture we have created in our department. In particular, the way our students can become research partners by volunteering as research assistants on a range of staff projects.

A specific area of specialism in the Psychology department is interpersonal violence, with members of the team conducting research with different populations on a variety of related issues.  We have a strong focus on inclusive research, meaning we champion methods that encourage the voices of those that often go unheard to be included in the research process, and we often work in an interdisciplinary way to ensure our research reaches the widest possible audience.

Within the team current projects include:

  • Exploring children and young people’s experiences of domestic violence
  • Understanding men’s experiences of domestic violence, and post-separation abuse, including the barriers that exist to their help-seeking
  • Understanding the experiences of gender-variant prisoners
  • Exploring domestic violence in the LGBTQ+ population
  • Young people’s experiences of technology assisted harmful sexual behaviour
  • Examining child-to-parent violence by working with children, parents, and practitioners
  • Evaluating a prison based domestic violence programme
  • Examining the use of domestic violence protections notices/orders

As researchers, we consider collaboration with practitioners fundamentally important. The application of findings to policy and practice being the ultimate goal.  Academics have a duty to go out into the environments where their research is likely to impact. For a researcher in this area, this means working with agencies, communicating findings to practitioners and engaging the public in our research findings.  There is a need for a mutual dialogue – research should inform practice but equally researchers should engage with practitioners and understand the lived experiences of those working in the field. With politics, funding cuts and accreditation processes, it is important to recognise that practitioners may not always have freedom to implement evidence-based change.  For effective reduction of interpersonal violence, there is an urgent need to work at the research-practice nexus.  This ethos is central to our undergraduate and postgraduate research training.

We will be celebrating working in this collaborative and interdisciplinary way at our May 2019 conference. Sex, Aggression, and Violence: Contemporary challenges for researchers and practitioners is an event that brings internal and external colleagues and students together with a goal of building evidence-based practice.

Related events and resources:

To read more about some of the research projects in the team, check out our Psychology Department blog: UoC Psychology Blog

Intimate Partner Violence: New Perspectives in Research and Practice edited by Dr Elizabeth Bates and Dr Julie Taylor, published by Taylor and Francis, is due out in 2019.

Sex, Aggression, and Violence: Contemporary challenges for researchers and practitioners will be held at the University of Cumbria Fusehill Street campus on 16th May, 2019.