Hello there, Kristoffer Nilsson, doctoral student in Social Work ...2020-05-11
… within the Research School on Sustainable Societal Transformation since 1 February this year. Why did you decide to do a PhD?
“Well, because I’m curious, I want to learn more, develop, and also contribute to developing the knowledge in social work as a field...
... I completed the Master’s programme in social sciences with a specialisation in social work at Karlstad University and it felt like a natural step to apply for a doctoral studentship.”
What is the topic of your doctoral thesis?
“I’m investigating the public’s view on social work and the social services in Sweden.
I will look at issues of knowledge, prejudice and trust in terms of the social services and caseworkers. It will include both quantitative surveys and qualitative methods. For example, I use the SOM Institute’s large survey on trust, where I focus on Värmland. In the survey, people aged 16 to 85 answered a number of questions concerning their trust in various social institutions, among other things. I will also investigate how ‘common people’ talk about the social services and caseworkers in various Internet forums, mainly Flashback and Familjeforum. In addition, I will interview caseworkers about how they view their occupational practice and status.”
Online forums such as Flashback – are you not worried that you will only gather comments from moaners and Internet trolls?
“That is, of course, a risk. There are those who complain and make a lot of noise, but people often answer back so it is an interesting conversation to look at. But we will see how it goes once I start digging deeper into this and whether I’ll need to add something.”
Why do you find it interesting to look closer at the social services in particular?
“Surveys on people’s trust in the social services are fairly limited today, both in Sweden and abroad. However, there are several surveys on people’s trust in, for example, the police and other authorities. I think it is important to know what level of trust the public has in the social services since it is an important, supportive function in our society. And the level of trust that the social services and caseworkers have with the public naturally affects the profession and policies. To sum it up, it is interesting from three perspectives; the client’s perspective, the professional perspective and the policy perspective.”
And who is Kristoffer Nilsson?
“I started out as a carpenter. I studied construction in upper-secondary school and worked as a carpenter for a number of years. Then I changed course and trained as a social worker. As a caseworker in the social services I worked with people who deal with addiction, but mainly I worked with children and young people, in both the municipal and the private sector. I always kept one foot in the world of academia and continued my professional development with a Master’s degree. And now I’m a doctoral student. In my spare time I enjoy doing sports, I’ve played football for as long as I can remember and I like martial art – boxing, for instance. I still enjoy doing carpentry work in my free time, like building furniture, among other things.”
Good luck with your thesis!