A Method for Exploring the Interaction Between Client and Social Worker
Eide, Solveig Botnen
Sociology and Social work Agder University Kristiansand, Norway
The interaction between a professional and their client is a key issue in health care as well as in different welfare systems. Many other and different studies focus on this. A common characteristic of many of these studies is that the clients are being asked how this interaction was perceived, using a pre-written questionnaire or using an interview guide, like in various client surveys.
In this paper I will give an account of the method I use when researching the interaction between clients and social workers, with special reference to the investigation of the clients? participation .
Those studies are of an inductive nature and are based on ordinary conversations between the client and their social worker. These conversations are tape recorded, and later typed out in full length. After this process, the social worker and client are asked to read the transcribed conversation and to highlight parts which,
- regard or show participation of the client
- invite the client to participation
Using this as a foundation, the client and social worker is then interviewed individually. This approach ensures the proximity to the interaction between social worker and client, and engages them in the interpretation of the study?s primary sources.
The methodological approach is qualitative and can be characterized as an open and active approach . This approach is chosen to get close to the actors and their perceptions, as well as to gather a ground for a phenomenological-ethical analysis of the findings according to the clients? participation. In addition to a discussion of the methodology and its potential, this paper will provide examples of the findings of my research
1. This method were used in the research for my doctor thesis: Principles and Experience ? Conversations About, and Experiences of, the Relationship Between Mother and Child in the Context of Child Protection (Eide 2007). Detecting Client Participation (Eide 2009).
2. Schutz, A. (2002): Den sociale verdens fenomenologi. Uddevalla: Daidalos.
3. Holstein, J.A. and J. F. Gubrium (1995): The Acrive Intervjue.Thousand Oks. CA: SAGA