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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

A systematic review of the international literature on effective professional development interventions for groups of welfare professionals

A research project of the School of Education.


The quality of the professional development of education and welfare professionals working with children and adolescents (for example, pre-school teachers, school teachers, social workers, psychologists, police officers) is of key importance to policy makers and practitioners in these fields. The general wellbeing of a country’s citizens and the provision of better opportunities in terms of educational and social welfare outcomes (for example, participation in higher education, reduction of anti-social behaviour) have been linked to the quality of teaching and, by implication, the quality of professional development. Conversely, a potential barrier to achieving these education and welfare aspirations is the variable quality of the professional training delivered to the educational and/or welfare practitioners, which could mean that the education and training of these groups of professionals may, sometimes, be less than optimal.


In order to inform education and welfare professions – policy makers and practitioners - about the nature and effectiveness of a diversity of approaches to professional development, a systematic review of the international literature is, therefore, proposed. Professional development of these groups of professionals could include strategies such as: focused supervision; feedback; team work or other kinds of training/ PD approaches.


The project is funded by the following grant.

  • A Systematic Review Of The International Literature On Effective Professional Development Interventions For Groups Of Welfare Professionals (£30000.00 from TrygFonden)


The review would systematically search for, locate, quality appraise and synthesise all the available effectiveness studies which evaluate relevant interventions using rigorous designs. By ‘rigorous designs’ we refer to those research designs that can establish a causal link between professional development and outcomes for professionals themselves, children and adolescents. Therefore, we would include: experiments or quasi-experiments (including studies using regression discontinuity design) and systematic reviews and meta-analyses. We would search substantively for studies in the fields of education, social welfare and crime and justice.


From the School of Education