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Dr Sandy Fraser

Profile summary

Professional biography

I completed my first degree and PhD at the University of Aberdeen before becoming a Research Fellow at the University of Dundee in 1990. My PhD research concerned Looked After children in residential child care, principaly related to Fraserburgh Childrens Home.

At the University of Dundee I was part of a Scottish Office funded research project with Andrew Kendrick concerning Integrated Child Care. In 1993, before beginning my social work training at the University of Exeter I completed a small evaluation project for the Childrens Society in South Devon concerning their Start Point project based in Paignton. This project aimed to prevent children from entering the public care through a 'systems management approach'. 

Following professional social work qualification in 1995 I practised in an area child care team for Neath - Port Talbot County Borough Council (formerly West Glamorgan) until 1999. From 1999 until 2001 I supported children and foster carers for Foster Care Associates based in Plymouth but operated throughout Devon and Cornwall.

In 2001 I became employed by the Open University Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies(formerly the Faculty of Health and Social Care) within our 'children and young people area'. In this capacity I was part of the course team which produced EK310 Research with Children and Young People, which involved editing two books 'Doing Research with Children and Young People' and the 'Reality of Research with Children and Young People' both co-published by The Open University and Sage.  Subsequently I became involved in the Open University Social Work Programmes, first with Diploma in Social Work (Course Team Chair for K215 Social Work Practice Learning Stage 2) and now with the Open University Social Work Degree. 

I was involved as consultant on the BBC 1 televised documentary series called 'Someone to Watch Over Me', concerning Child care social work in Bristol, which was broadcast in November and December 2004.

I have been responsible for creating practice learning guidance in all three practice learning courses; K(ZW)113 Foundations for Social Work Practice, K(ZW) 216 Applied Social Work Practice and k(ZW)315 Critical Social Work Practice.  I have also been the lead academic (Course Team Chair) for K(ZW)315 Critical Social Work Practice, which is the last element in the Social Work Degree Programme. This course uses a range of innovative web-based learning guides and eLearning components to deliver course materials. A also edited a book 'The Critical Practitioner in Social Work and Health Care', a OU/Sage co-publication.

Research interests

Looked After Children

International Social Work

Vulnerable Children in Southern Africa

eLearning pedagogy

Use of ICT in social work practice, e.g. Computer Aided Self Interview

Personalisation in Health and Social Care


With Alun Morgan, evaluation research in Newcastle and Hertfordshire concerning the use of the Viewpoint system of gathering the views of Looked After Children.

Understanding the mental health social work with children and young people in social work practice in Lithuania, South Africa and the USA. This research was based on the production of K315 Critical Social Work Practice.

PhD Supervision  re Child Sexual Abuse of Pre-school childen in South Africa

PhD Supervision re Evaluation of the Unison/Open University Learning Partnership Route to Social Work Qualification

Teaching interests

Social Work


Personalisation in Health and Social Care



Exploring the experiences of distance learning students being supported to resubmit a final assignment following a fail result (2023)
Mitchell, Vince; Borgstrom, Erica; Murphy, Sam; Campbell, Charlene; Sieminski, Sandy and Fraser, Sandy
Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 49(2) (pp. 190-202)

Mapping the “housing with care” concept with stakeholders: insights from a UK case study (2018)
Wild, Annie; Clelland, David; Whitelaw, Sandy; Fraser, Sandy and Clark, David
Journal of Integrated Care, 26(4) (pp. 257-266)

Looked after young people and their social work managers: a study of contrasting experiences of using computer-assisted-self-interviewing (A-CASI) (2009-03)
Morgan, Alun and Fraser, Sandy
British Journal of Social Work, 40(2) (pp. 445-461)

Reflections on values and ethics in social work practice (2011)
McCormick, Mick and Fraser, Sandy
In: Seden, Janet; Matthews, Sarah; McCormick, Michael and Morgan, Alun eds. Professional Development in Social Work: Complex Issues in Practice (pp. 24-29)
ISBN : 0-415-55336-9 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

The Critical Practitioner in Social Work and Health Care (2008)
Fraser, Sandy and Vicary, Sarah eds.
ISBN : 978-1-4129-4840-1 | Publisher : SAGE Publications Ltd | Published : London

The Reality of Research with Children and Young People (2004)
Lewis, Vicky; Kellett, Mary; Robinson, Chris; Fraser, Sandy and Ding, Sharon eds.
ISBN : 9780761943785 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London, UK

Doing Research with Children and Young People (2004)
Fraser, Sandy; Lewis, Vicky; Ding, Sharon; Kellett, Mary and Robinson, Chris eds.
ISBN : 9780761943808 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London, UK