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Inter-professional Education and Collaborative Practice: a critical literature review

Morrison, M., Arthur, L., Floyd, A., Glenny, G., Westcott, L., Ewens, A., Lansdown, G., Lloyd-Jones, N., Vitali, S., Bell, J. and Mickan, S., (2010) Inter-professional Education and Collaborative Practice: a critical literature review. Report. Oxford Brookes University, Oxford.

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This authoritative literature review of 36,500 words and approximately 370 cited references represents a significant outcome from a year-long collaboration between colleagues from the Westminster Institute of Education and the School of Health and Social Care at Oxford Brookes University. This aspect of the work has been led by Marlene Morrison. From the outset our intentions were not to replicate literature reviews already published in the field, most in health-related contexts. Neither did it set out to replicate or reinforce the somewhat evangelical discourses prevalent in some parts of the extant literature, especially among those ideologically committed to the advancement of Inter-professional Education. Rather, its objectives have been to examine the fields of Inter-professional Education and Collaborative Professional Practice unusually from the joint perspectives of Health, Social Care, and Education, applying a critical perspective to an arena we perceived to be both under- and multi-theorised, or, as Leathard (1994) has described it, a ‘semantic quagmire’. In so doing we have identified common themes across professions as well as distinctive omissions in the extant literature. Our focus is upon services for children and young people, based on a literature search mainly, but not exclusively, of publications between 1980 and 2010. The applied framework is social scientific. As such, it interrogates literature at the interstices of structure, agency, and identity in Health, Social Care, and Education. Political, academic, as well as practical interests in different experiences, processes, and outcomes in and from IPE and CP are underpinned, sometimes explicitly, but often implicitly, by a range of views about how, whether, and why people’s identity and agency and the effects of structure play out in the context of health, social care, and education provision, not least at the professional boundaries of each. As such it seems almost inevitable that some of our writing is steeped in the discourses of relative disadvantage and advantage, and what this means in the context of service users as well as professionals. This is hardly surprising. We live in times characterised by Alterman (2005, quoted in Macbeath et al 2007) as ‘post-truth political environments’, where it is challenging to discern whether research ‘truths’ inform policy and practice, or are controlled and/or constrained by them. Most significantly, the review reveals both omissions in inter-agency writing by inter-agency professionals and academics in the field (remarkable enough given the focus of our as well as their purported interests) and relative paucity in research evidence to demonstrate the benefits or disbenefits of IPE and CP for clients and service users. In summary, the ideas surrounding IPE and arguments in favour of a causal link to CP bring attempts to constantly change professional structures, identities and cultures to the fore. Professionals are seen as interminably trainable, persistently in deficit, with nascent leadership capacity in need of constant awakening. If the intention is to allocate and re-allocate more and more resources to IPE in times of constant reminders that resources are finite, then the very least academics and practitioners can do, beyond fervent enthusiasm for or against its development, is to ensure that educative processes are research-centred and theoretically informed. Anything less reduces IPE, and indeed its leadership in academic or practitioner circles, to unsustainable zeitgeist. Such considerations have underpinned this review of the literature.

Item Type:Report (Report)
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Improving Equity and Inclusion through Education
ID Code:74415
Publisher:Oxford Brookes University

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