Program PhD act

Program PhDact

Program of each session


Morning session (plenary)

09.30 - 09.45 - Welcome and introduction

09.45 - 10.30 - First lecture

10.30 – 11.00 - Break

11.00 - 11.45 - Second lecture

11.45 - 12.30 - Questions and debate


Afternoon session (only for enrolled PhD students)

13.30 – 16.30: Interactive seminar with the students and lecturers (with 30 minutes break)


Dates and topics


February 18, 2022

Day 1: A human rights perspective on social work research (click here for the detailed program)

Lecturers:  dr. Abigail Ornellas (Stellenbosch University, South Africa) - dr. Didier Reynaert (Hogent, Belgium)  


In this first session we discuss ontologies of social work research and human rights as a framework for social work research. Social work has often been defined as a ‘human rights profession’. We discuss the consequences of this orientation for research and how a human rights perspective can be analyzed as a framework for research from a critical phenomological perspective. 


March 25, 2022

Day 2: Quantitative and qualitative data and the impact of social work

Lecturers: Prof. dr. Wim Van Lancker (KUL) – Prof. dr. Ingo Bode (University of Kassel)


In the second session we discuss the relevance and pittfalls of quantitative research in social work research in relation to showing impact of interventions. As social work, due to its value laden orientation, is always seen as having a strong affiliation with interpretative research approaches, the importance of quantitative approaches is often overlooked. Even if this quantitative approach historically always has been a part of critical social work approaches (e.g. the work of Jane Addams). In this session we discuss the relevance of quantitative approaches and some key elements of doing quants in social work research, as well as the pitfalls and the search for ‘alternative’ ways of highlighting impact of interventions.


April 22, 2022

Day 3: Participatory research in social work

Lecturers: Prof. dr. Judith McKenzie (University of Cape Town) – dr. Toon Benoot (Ghent University)


Interpretative research is often seen as the obvious choice for social work researchers, with a focus on participatory approaches. However, the grounds for this choice and the implementation of participation might stay too implicit and vague. As such, interpretative research runs the risk of being seen as easier than hard statistics, and as such the quality of the research process and fundamental choices to be made might not be discussed. It this session we discuss challenges and pitfalls of participative approaches in social work research.


May 20, 2022

Day 4: Making the invisible visible in social work research

Lecturers: Prof. dr. Martin Wagener (UCLouvain) – Prof. dr. Sofia Dedotsi (University of West Attica)


In the fourth session, we discuss the challenge in social work to research ‘hard to reach’ populations and making invisible problems visible. This topic became even more urgent in relation to the Covid19 crisis, during which vulnerable groups even became more difficult to contact, also in the context of research. In this session we focus on the choices which researchers need to make in relation to bringing in marginalized voices in research, especially in a context of neo-liberalisation of universities.