Social care - defining, evidencing and improving: mixed-methods qualitative study

Findings from a mixed-methods qualitative study, that used interviews and creative research workshops, and developed a model (based on the 3Rs of respectful, responsive and relational) that explains how ‘good’ social care in Scotland can be defined, evidenced and improved.

Annex B: Workshop methods

Workshop 1: "What does good social care look like and how do we evidence it?"

The aim of this workshop was to bring together people with different perspectives on social care in Scotland. It was held in Edinburgh on 23rd February 2023 and involved two linked creative methods to support conversation and elicit qualitative data: Object-based discussion of what 'good' social care looks like; Collage-making activity on evidencing good care in an inclusive way.

  • Object-based discussion of what 'good' social care looks like

Prior to the workshop, participants were asked to bring an object that represents what good care means to them. Participants worked in small groups of approximately six people per group and took turns telling their group about their chosen object, reflecting on why it is personally meaningful and what it symbolises about good care. The group then discussed and agreed the common defining characteristics of 'good' social care drawn from their collective object stories. They summarised these on large sheets of paper, which were displayed for the whole room to see and used by the researcher for analysis.

  • Collage-making activity on evidencing good care in an inclusive way

In the second part of the workshop, participants were invited to work in their same groups to make a shared collage that represented an inclusive knowledge world for social care – i.e. a world where everyone's knowledge about what good care means is equally valued and heard. Participants accessed a large selection of different magazines, paper and card of different types, textures and patterns, and coloured pens. The activity was supported by some prompt questions (Box 3). Each group nominated one person to feedback their collage to the whole room, sharing its main messages. The collages and a transcript of the feedback from all groups were analysed as data by the researcher.

Box 3. Prompt questions for collage-making activity

What does it mean to be inclusive of different types of knowledge when we make decisions about 'good' social care?

What types of knowledge are important?

Who holds these different types of knowledge?

How do we create equal opportunities for different types of knowledge to be heard?

How do we make sure that everyone is given a fair opportunity to define what good care is?

When it comes to deciding what is 'good' social care, who currently has a voice, and who doesn't?

Workshop 2: "Visioning a distinctly social care approach to improvement"

The workshop was held in Dundee on 28th March 2023 and involved using future visioning techniques. Participants were provided with creative materials and worked in small groups to create a visual representation of the social care improvement approach operating in 2080. They were challenged to vision what is possible, suspend doubts and identify the characteristics of an ideal approach based on what they perceived to be distinctly social care values, knowledge and skills. Participants were then asked to look back from their new vantage point in 2080 to identify: elephants, barriers and blind spots (defined in Box 4). Finally, participants were asked to write a letter back in time, combining their lessons from the future into actionable advice for policy makers, researchers and practitioners in 2023 to identify what can be done, and how, to realise their vision for a future social care improvement approach. Groups provided feedback to the whole room after every activity. The visual work produced and a transcript of the feedback from all groups were analysed as data by the researcher.

Box 4. Prompt questions for the elephants, barriers and blind spots exercise

The social care approach to improvement in 2080 – how did we build it?

Now that you have designed and described the social care approach to improvement operating in 2080, it is time to look back how we built it. From your vantage point in 2080, reflect on how it was developed. What were the:

Elephants in the room?

What were the questions we were too afraid to ask?

What were the consequences of facing these (or not)?

Whose voice finally got these questions across and how?


What were the barriers in the way of progress?

How were they identified and overcome?

Who had the knowledge and resources we needed?

Blind spots?

What were the stumbling blocks that we didn't predict?

Why did they arise and how did we miss them?

What were the consequences of these blind spots?



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