What is social care
research (and why
is it important)?


Emerald and SDGs
An Emerald mission in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Social care research is, by its very nature, interdisciplinary – that is, it draws on research traditions such as psychiatry, psychology and sociology. Social care research is not, however, without its own distinctive character and focus.

At its core is a concern with exploring how care and support is delivered. A further defining feature of social care research relates to the way in which knowledge is exchanged. As such, it is used to build professionalism, workforce confidence and retention, and theory-informed practice. Similarly, it places particular emphasis on the insights and expertise of people with lived experience. Over and above this, it can enhance quality of life and promote independence.

In our mission to understand the importance of social care research and evidence, we ask: What is distinctive about social care research? How can practitioners use social care research to deal with problems and improve services? What barriers and enablers affect user services and carer-led research? And is it possible to envisage a future whereby social care research achieves parity of esteem with health research?  

On this page


If you would like to contribute to this discussion, or have research relevant to social care, then please do get in touch with us.

This mission is aligned with our Healthier lives goal

Section 1

Free access to our articles, & author videos & blogs


Our publications have content on social care research that we’d like to share with you.

Apart but not Alone? A cross-sectional study of neighbour support in a major UK urban area during the COVID-19 lockdown

Emerald Open Research

Authors: Mat Jones, Amy Beardmore, Michele Biddle, Andy Gibson, Sanda Umar Ismail, Stuart McClean, Jo White


Blogs, videos & podcast

To find out more about what our authors/community have to say regarding social care research, watch/read our blog, podcast and videos.

Blog: Social care research and impact: too long a hidden relation of health

Julie Bayley, Lincoln Impact Literacy Institute, University of Lincoln, UK, and Mo Ray, School of Health and Social Care, University of Lincoln, UK,

In their blog, Julie Bayley and Mo Ray discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the challenges of social care.


Podcast: What is social care research (and why is it important)?

Le-Ann Fenge and Luke Geoghegan discuss what is social care research and how do we get it to those who are practising in the field? How do we bridge the gap between academia and practitioner? This lively conversation examines these questions and more.

section 2

Different routes to publication

If you would like to contribute to the discussion, take a look at our different routes to publication and contact us to get involved.

Recent books

Visit our online bookstore to see all our latest publications.

Special issues

See our recently published special issues on this topic.

Cover: Journal of Integrated Care

Intermediate Care: Integrated, Local and Personal

Journal of Integrated Care
Due to publish April 2022

Editor Axel Kaehne speaks to guest editors Anne Hendry and Helen Tucker about their special issue on ‘Intermediate care’’ Watch the video

section 3

Additional information

Infographic: Exploring change-readiness among homeless people

Despite an abundance of initiatives for its mitigation, homelessness has currently surged to a new high.

To address this issue requires a more dynamic understanding of homelessness as more than its dualistic identity of being either a housing or a welfare problem. Now, for the first time ever, a paper published in Housing, Care and Support attempts to fill in this gap in research by documenting how homelessness services staff conceptualise the readiness for change among their service users, and how these perceptions inform their decision-making in practice.

Exploring change-readiness among homeless people is an infographic outlining the key themes and practical implications of this paper.

Download the infographic (PDF)

What's in the infographic

Exploring change-readiness among homeless people: perspectives of homelessness services staff

People who are homeless face multiple complex barriers to achieving the changes facilitated by homelessness services and the welfare system.

How do homelessness service sta members conceptualise the readiness of change in people who are homeless?

Semi-structured interviews of homelessness services sta members

5 key themes constructed from interviews

  1. Multiple complex needs mean multiple complex changes
  2. Talk versus behaviour
  3. Change is not a linear trajectory
  4. Role of consistent boundaried relationships
  5. Change is not solely within the individual's control

Implications for support provision staff

  1. Need to understand behaviours as coping mechanisms and support the development of alternative coping
  2. Development and use of the awareness of the concept of 'readiness to change' to inform day-to-day practice
  3. Need for well-coordinated, flexible, and non-time-bound services
  4. Importance of building quality relationships with service users and delivering person-centred support
  5. Further research to understand and address systemic and structural changes

Homelessness services sta need to understand the emotional and social needs of people who are homeless better to help them overcome the barriers of change-readiness.

Change readiness in individuals experiencing homelessness and multiple complex needs
Housing, Care and Support
Lord et al. (2021) DOI: 10.1108/HCS-11-2020-0017

Talk to us about your work

We really welcome insights not only from researchers but practitioners too about their work.

If you would like to contribute to the discussion, or you are working on research in areas related to social care research, please let us know by filling in this form.

  • Current Your details
  • Area(s) of interest
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Mission-led research – our goals

Our core area of focus is interdisciplinary research aligned with the UN SDGs, with these key goals in mind, all of which are about creating real world impact, at a time when it's needed most.

Fairer society

We are passionate about working with researchers globally to deliver a fairer, more inclusive society. This perhaps has never been more important in today’s divided world...



Healthier lives

We understand the value of a world that recognises and protects the most vulnerable and acknowledges the importance of a healthy mind as well as a healthy body...



Responsible management

We aim to champion researchers, practitioners, policymakers and organisations who share our goals of a more ethical, responsible and sustainable way of working...



Quality education for all

We believe in quality education for everyone, everywhere and by highlighting the issue and working with experts in the field, we can find ways we can all be part of the solution...



Sustainable structures and infrastructures

We recognise the transformative power of sustainable engineering, design and building practices in creating a world where our planet and its inhabitants can thrive.