Practice research fosters and creates new learning opportunities for social work students in field education. It is important that students are prepared to carry out their professional duties to the best of their abilities. Students need to perceive themselves as active investigators and knowledge developers in practice, where research can become a tool to generate new knowledge, enhance practice strategies, and move the profession forward.
Field educators and social work academics need to guide students in practice research from an educational perspective, as research knowledge and skills are a vital component of social work practice. It is essential that students be provided with opportunities to apply their course-based research learning into practice. There are a variety of methods for integrating practice research into a field education placement and for evaluating students in their practice research activities.
There are significant benefits associated with practice research for students, field educators, and field agencies. Practicum-based research not only brings research to students in an active and collaborative manner, but it also makes research more accessible for field instructors and agencies. In this manner, field education can be transformed through partnered research training initiatives (Drolet & Harriman, 2020) that involve social work programs, students, field educators, service users, and field agencies. To achieve this transformation, we need to enhance students' knowledge and skills, while also building research capacity through sustained partnered research endeavors.