Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore


Social work research through and towards human relationships

Social work research, professional practice and policy making are all human relationships matters in which the responsibility is not for something but towards someone, at the individual and collective level. Thus, promoting social work research through and towards human relationships is key to retaining the values of the profession and to informing policies and political decisions in such complex times.
Through research and knowledge development processes, social work researchers give voice to voiceless, stimulate critical debates, inform social policies and practices, and guide transformative processes through and towards human relationships inspired by principles such as empowerment, reflexivity, self-determination, equality and reciprocity.
Putting these ongoing efforts into a human relationships perspective, important questions arise, such as: How can social work research draw further inspiration from human relationships to transform practice, policy and education? How can it produce representative scientific knowledge while also valuing the particularity of human relationships? What can social work learn reflexively from people involved in coping with the difficulties that life can bring?
Social work, both in its theoretical foundations and in its practical application, represents the basis for a development of policies and interventions towards a welfare of people and communities which rely on the strength of human relationships, and social work research is critical to assist our understanding of such questions. In the European context there are many related studies and experiences to learn from.
Thanks to the valued contributions of experts by experience, practitioners, and researchers, we look forward to a stimulating debate in order to develop and strengthen social work research at the European level and beyond.

Series themes

  1. Challenges and opportunities for social work research, practice, policy or education in contemporary contexts
  2. Social work research, policy, practice or education across national, social, cultural, disciplinary and professional boundaries
  3. Exploring the impact and effectiveness of social work practice
  4. Social work history and identity as a profession and discipline
  5. Theorizing social work and/or social work research
  6. Connecting social work research and practice, including the co-creation of knowledge
  7. Methodological development, innovation and capacity building in social work research



About the Conference