Research questions

Our research focuses on the following five topics.

Overarching questions

There is a foundational debate in applied ethics on the nature of professional obligation, which will be of strong interest to editors of leading applied ethics journals. A postdoctoral fellow will work on this topic under the supervision of Clarke and Luck.

Through partnerships with industry, priority community issues can be explored and strategies developed to enhance professionals' capacity to respond to urgent challenges spelled out in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Heated debate is taking place around the role of formal education for the library and information professions. This debate lacks an evidence base, which members of our group will provide.

The professions in a post-COVID world

The realisation that many of our actions can significantly impact on the health of others has led to a rethinking of the proper scope of moral responsibilities, including those of professionals. This is a pressing issue.

The increasing magnitude and frequency of disasters has disproportionate impacts on marginalised communities. It is crucial to embed skills for disaster practice in the professional domain. While there is a body of literature on post-disaster social work practice, the conceptualisation framework for contemporary professional practice is under-developed

Professions for an ageing population

There is a lack of rigorous philosophical research on issues of intergenerational justice and about the extent to which professions are responsible for ensuring that just outcomes are delivered to older people. There is a clear need for such research, which our group can provide.

The majority of older people do not have access to high quality, equitable and culturally appropriate care. To build capacity for quality palliative care, opportunities to upskill health and welfare professionals are critical. An e-health platform for palliative care education would deliver flexible, self-paced, low-cost skill development for professional practice.

Professions in an increasingly online world

Research is needed regarding a post-COVID world with changed configurations of physical and online spaces, and different attitudes and behaviours towards social interaction. Our group can provide this research, building on the internally funded COVID-19 and public libraries research project.

Internationally, public libraries are employing social workers to diversify services provided to community members experiencing complex social issues. In Australia, this form of inter-professional cooperation is underdeveloped and requires further research to optimise impact and effectiveness.

Professions and conscience

This is a crucial issue for many religious professionals and religious organisations that provide social services. It also raises important questions about the autonomy of professional organizations. Work on the topic builds on Clarke's current ARC DP on 'Religion, Pluralism, and Healthcare Practice'.

The traditional 'information neutral' stance of librarians has come under particular strain in recent years with the proliferation of conspiracy theories and 'fake news'. Research will investigate the role that librarians can and should play in providing access to trustworthy information to meet the needs of vulnerable groups in their communities.