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Professor Roger Smith

Professor of Social Work

Professor of Social Work in the Department of Sociology
Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing


Following my first degree in Sociology, I went on to practice and then qualify as a social worker in 1980.  I worked as a Probation Officer, specialising in diversion with young offenders until 1988, when I went on to take up a policy role with The Children’s Society.  At the same time, I completed further postgraduate study, gaining my MPhil (on juvenile diversion) in 1989 and my PhD (on values and practice in child care) in 1995.

I moved to the University of Leicester in 2000, leading the social work qualifying masters programme there.  In 2006, I joined De Montfort University as Professor of Social Work Research, before coming to Durham University in 2012.

As a practitioner, educator and researcher, my primary area of interest has been young people and crime, on which I have published widely. I have also developed an interest in research methods in social work, particularly participatory approaches; the sociology of childhood; social work theory (notably around the subject of ‘power’); interprofessional learning; and working with people with learning difficulties.

Current areas of interest include:

a)      Participatory models of practice in youth justice

b)      Models of evaluation in interprofessional education

c)       Power, networks and their implications for social work

d)      Innovations in social work education

I have supervised a variety of Phd projects, including studies of children’s residential care, travellers and the care system, child care in Qatar, post adoption contact and decision-making in children’s services. I would welcome Phd proposals in any of my areas of interest, and in social work with children and young people more broadly.


Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article

Other (Print)


Supervision students