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Dr Amanda Shields

Profile summary

Professional biography

Dr Amanda Shields is the Professional Lead for Social Work, at The Open University in NI and is responsible for managing the BA (Hons) Degree in Social Work (NI). 

Prior to joining the Higher Education sector, she was a social worker working in the areas of homelessness, substance use disorders and mental health. Before commecing employment with the OU, Amanda completed a PhD at Queen's University Belfast, undertaking a mixed-methods reseach study titled "An Exploration of the Relationship Between Homelessness and Substance Use in Northern Ireland". Whilst at Queen's University, Amanda was a tutor for social work students, with experience teaching social work law, social policy, psychology, preparation for practice learning, social work in context, criminal justice and court work skills.

At the OU, Amanda has also been a Fitness to Practise Risk Assessor, ensuring students on professional programmes are suitable and safe for training.

If you are interested in undertaking doctoral level study with Amanda as a supervisor, please contact her at

Research interests

Mixed methods research; qualitative research; narrative enquiry; ethnography; homelessness; substance use and substance use disorders; working with complexity; mental health; consent and capacity; harm reduction; peer research; service user involvement; photovoice; social prescribing; social work education; systematic reviews; social work education; creative arts in research.

Teaching interests

Social work education - preparation for practice learning, social work law, mental health, homelessness and substance use disorders.