Research Study Information

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Factors affecting Recruitment and Retention in the Social Work Profession

Please see the details of the study below and click NEXT to proceed.


Purpose of the Study:  We are Maynooth University Social Work Students, in the Department of Applied Social Studies, Maynooth University.  Working in collaboration with Departmental staff, Dr. Niamh Flanagan and Dr. Gloria Kirwan, we are undertaking a research study as part of the requirements for our Masters in Social Work. The study is concerned with the factors influencing recruitment and retention within the profession of social work.

What will the study involve? The study will involve filling out an anonymous online survey which will take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Who has approved this study?  This study has been reviewed and received ethical approval from Maynooth University Research Ethics committee. A copy of this approval can be made available to you on request.

Why have you been asked to take part? You have been asked because you are a member of the social work profession.

Do you have to take part? No, you are under no obligation whatsoever to take part in this research. However, we hope that you will agree to take part and give us some of your time to complete an anonymous online questionnaire. It is entirely up to you to decide whether or not you would like to take part. If you decide to do so, you will be asked to tick a box to indicate consent and participate and provided with a copy of the information sheet for your own records. If you decide to take part, you are still free to withdraw at any time without giving a reason. However, once submitted, your anonymous data will be unidentifiable and therefore it will not be possible to withdraw it from the study. A decision to withdraw at any time, or a decision not to take part, will not affect your relationships with this research team or the University.

What information will be collected? We would like to ask you questions about your motivations and reasons for entering and/or leaving the social work practice and some demographic information. In the event that you do not wish to answer any question within this survey feel free to skip it.

Will your participation in the study be kept confidential? Yes, all information that is collected about you during the course of the research will be anonymous. No names or other personal data will be requested at any time. All electronic information will be encrypted and held securely on an MU PC or server and will be accessed only by the Principal Investigator (Niamh Flanagan) and Collaborator (Gloria Kirwan). No information will be distributed to any other unauthorised individual or third party. As students we will work with aggregate data.

‘It must be recognised that, in some circumstances, confidentiality of research data and records may be overridden by courts in the event of litigation or in the course of investigation by lawful authority. In such circumstances the University will take all reasonable steps within law to ensure that confidentiality is maintained to the greatest possible extent.

What will happen to the information which you give? All the information you provide will be stored on Maynooth University servers in such a way that it will not be possible to identify you. On completion of the research, the data will be retained on the MU server. After ten years, all data will be destroyed (by the PI). Electronic data will be reformatted or overwritten by the PI.

What will happen to the results? In the first instance the research will be written up by MU social work students and presented in an article in the Irish Social Worker Journal. Further analysis will be undertaken by the PI and Collaborator. The research may be written up and presented at conferences and may be published in scientific journals. A copy of the research findings can be made available to you upon request.

What are the possible disadvantages of taking part? We don’t envisage any negative consequences for you in taking part, although it is possible that reflecting on your experience may cause some distress.

What if there is a problem? If you experience any distress following the survey you may contact the following organisations:

  • IASW – Irish Association of Social Workers, who are supportive of this research, have kindly agreed to act as a source of support to members of the profession. They can be contacted at Tel: 01 677 4838; email or via their website at
  • The Samaritans provide a confidential non-judgmental support, 24 hours a day for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. They may be contacted at Tel:116 123 or email:  or via their website
  • If you feel the research has not been carried out as described above, you may contact the PI (Niamh Flanagan - or the University’s Research Ethics Office (,  01 708 6019)

Any further queries?  If you need any further information, you can contact the PI Niamh Flanagan, at Tel: 01-474 7326, email:;  Address: Department of Applied Social Studies, Maynooth University, Maynooth, Co. Kildare.

Thank you for taking the time to read this


If you agree to take part in the study, please click NEXT to complete the online consent form.