Leeds Beckett University
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Practice educators’ and students’ themed narratives on social work student supervision

posted on 2024-01-05, 16:22 authored by Paula BeesleyPaula Beesley

This thesis considered what contributes to students’ development of knowledge and skills in social work student supervision. This is a protected time for students to explore their experiential learning from their practice within placement. Nevertheless, this is undertaken in a private space, so has rarely been subject to scrutiny. 

The uniqueness of this study is founded in two core differences. This is one of the first research studies to include both supervision participants’ perspectives and one of the first that observed social work student supervision, giving it a unique data perspective that enriched the significance of the findings. 

The methodology for this thesis was firmly rooted in a Narrative Inquiry, which enabled the use of a range of data collection methods. Eight social work student supervisions were observed and audio-recorded, and each supervision participant (practice educator and student) interviewed immediately afterwards to develop a significant data corpus. 

A thematic analysis approach identified two themes: diligence and collaboration. It was identified that where supervision participants had a diligent approach, which included being committed and organised, it enabled collaborative social work student supervision, which reduced the inherent power differential and enabled the development of students’ social work knowledge and skills. Implications are discussed that include both the importance of students understanding supervision as a site of the development of their knowledge and skills, and the development of positive social conditions in which both participants feel confident to contribute openly and honestly to develop students’ knowledge and skills. 

Finally, a model of development of knowledge and skills in social work student supervision was developed that incorporated the core themes of practice educator and student diligence and collaboration.


Qualification name

  • PhD


Burden, Sarah ; Hill, Darren

Awarding Institution

Leeds Beckett University

Completion Date


Qualification level

  • Doctoral


  • eng


Leeds Beckett University

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