Ms Louise O'Connor

Personal profile

I originally studied Social Science at University College Dublin prior to moving to London where I worked with children and young people in Care. Since completing an MSc in Social Work Studies and a CQSW at the London School of Economics I worked for 14 years as a social worker in the children and families sector, in both voluntary and statutory settings. This included experience in referral and assessment, family support and with  ‘looked after’ and disabled children. Specialising in complex assessments of families affected by abuse, domestic violence and parental substance misuse, I also had opportunities for in-depth therapeutic work using group work, family & play therapy interventions. I have qualifications in counselling, teaching and practice teaching. Working extensively with social work students on placement triggered my interest in social work education which I moved to full-time in 2002. I continue to be a registered social worker and maintain links with practice via ongoing work with drug and alcohol practitioners.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and have an ongoing interest in social work pedagogy. As a social work lecturer I work with students at undergraduate, postgraduate and post-qualified levels. Teaching interests include social work and organisational theory, risk, assessment and decision-making, child observation, communication, direct practice and preparation for practice.

My research interests focus on social work pedagogy and practice, with particular interests in the process of social work and the roles of emotion and identity in practice. Research projects relate to the themes of diverse identities in social work education and practice, inter-professional learning, substance misuse and decision-making. Current research activities include decision-making in children and families practice and the role of emotion in social work, the latter being the focus of my PhD studies.

Educational background


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. 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.

Personal profile

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