Louise O'Connor
  • TW20 0EX

Personal profile

Personal profile


My research and supervisory interests focus on professional practice, particularly the roles and meanings of intersubjective emotions in the performance and processes of social work, interdisciplinary practice, gender and decision-making. My PhD research used ethnographic methodologies to identify interconnected emotion practices undertaken by practitioners who operate as ambivalent policy actors in complex emotion systems.  Driven by an interest in how professional practice is performed and intersects with organisational, individual and structural factors, my research projects span relationship-based practice, risk assessment and decision-making in children and families social work; children’s experiences of parental substance use; the role of identities in social work education and practice; and social work pedagogy.

I completed my PhD at the University of Bristol and hold an MSc In Social Work Studies (London School of Economics) and a BSc In Social Science (University College Dublin). I hold additional qualifications in teaching and counselling and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

I am a registered social worker, prior to working as a lecturer I worked in social work practice in London for 14 years.

Teaching interests include social work, organisational, sociological and psychosocial theory,  research methods, emotions in social work, risk, assessment and decision-making, child observation, communication, direct practice and preparation for practice.


Educational background


PhD (University of Bristol)

Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCHE)

Practice Teacher Award                   

MSc. Social Work Studies

Certificate of Qualification in Social Work (C.Q.S.W.)                                   

Certificate in Analytic Counselling                                        

BSoc. Sc. (Hons) Social Science                   


Personal profile


O'Connor, L. (2022) Agile Emotion Practices: Findings from an Ethnographic Study of Children and Families Social Work, British Jounral of Social Work, Advance Access, 0-22, https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcac051

O’Connor, L. (2020) How social workers understand and use their emotions in practice: A thematic synthesis literature review Qualitative Social Work 19(4), 645–662 https://doi: 10.1177/1473325019843991 

Leonard, K. & O’Connor, L.  (2018) Transitioning from ‘outside observer’ to ‘inside player’ in social work: practitioner and student perspectives on developing expertise in decision-making, Journal of Social Work Practice, 32(2), 205-218, DOI: 10.1080/02650533.2018.1438998


O’Connor, L. and Leonard, K. (2013)  Decision Making in Children and Families Social Work: The Practitioner’s Voice British Journal of Social Work (2013) Advance Access 1–18 doi:10.1093/bjsw/bct051

O'Connor, L., Cecil, B., and Boudioni, M. (2009) Preparing for Practice: An Evaluation of an Undergraduate Social Work 'Preparation for Practice' Module' Social Work Education, Vol. 28, No. 4,  pp 436 – 454.

O’Connor, L. (2008) Learning to Learn? The Collaborative Challenge of Partnership in Practice. Case study, online publication,SWAP (Social Policy & Social Work) Higher Education Academy. link

Cecil, B., and O’Connor, L. (2007) Preparation for Social Work Practice: Examining the Evidence, Constructing the Experience. in Social Work & Science – an Uneasy Relationship. Contributions to the Conference “Social Work in Scientific Debates” Lille March 2007. Adams, A, Erath, P. & Jovelin, E. (eds). Institut Fur Verleichende Sozialarbeitswissenschraft und Interkulturelle / Internationale Sozialarbeit (ISIS) e.V. eichstatt.


  • Decision Making In Social Work
  • Emotions In Social Work
  • Preparation & Pedagogy
  • emotion practices
  • transformation