Brian Taylor

Professor Emeritus of Social Work, Ulster University, Northern Ireland


Brian Taylor is Emeritus Professor of Social Work at Ulster University in Northern Ireland. Before moving to the University, he spent 10 years as a practitioner and manager, and 12 years in training and organisation development in health and social care. His research and teaching interests are in professional judgement, decision making, assessment, risk and the use of knowledge to inform practice. Brian is principal organiser of the biennial international symposium on Decisions, Assessment, Risk and Evidence in Social Work. He has supervised PhD students and research projects - and has published widely - on these topics including the books: Professional Decision Making and Risk in Social Work and Understanding and Using Research in Social Work. Brian has collaborated with the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin on projects on Risk Communication in Dementia and heuristic models of professional judgement in child protection. He is a Senior Fellow of the National Institute for Health Research (School for Social Care Research), London and a founder member of the Board of the European Social Work Research Association.


Website: Institute for Research in Social Sciences at Ulster University


Selected publications

Hill L, McIlfatrick S, Taylor BJ, Jaarsma T, Moser D, Slater P, McAloon T, Dixon L, Donnelly P, Stromberg A & Fitzsimons D (2018) Patient and professional factors that impact the perceived likelihood and confidence of healthcare professionals to discuss Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator deactivation in advanced heart failure: results form an international factorial survey. Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 33(6), 527-535

Stevenson M, McDowell ME & Taylor BJ (2018) Concepts for communication about risk in dementia care: a review of the literature. Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice, 17(3), 359-390

Stevenson M & Taylor BJ (2016) Risk communication in dementia care: family perspectives. Journal of Risk Research, 18(1-2), 1-20

Stevenson M & Taylor BJ (2017) Risk communication in dementia care: professional perspectives on consequences, likelihood, words and numbers. British Journal of Social Work, 47(7), 1940-1958

Stevenson M & Taylor BJ (2019) Involving individuals with dementia as co-researchers in analysis of findings from a qualitative study. Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice, 18(2), 701-712

Stevenson M, Taylor BJ & Knox J (2016) Risk in dementia care: searching for the evidence. Health, Risk and Society, 18(1-2), 4-20

Taylor BJ (2017a) Decision Making, Assessment and Risk in Social Work (3rd ed). London: Sage.

Taylor BJ (2017b) Heuristics in professional judgement: a psycho-social rationality model. British Journal of Social Work, 47(4), 1043–1060

Taylor BJ, Killick C & McGlade A (2015) Understanding and Using Research in Social Work. London: Sage

Taylor BJ & Moorhead A (in press, due Spring 2019) The social sciences. In ‘Part II: Tackling the challenges: considerations and methods for medicinal product risk communication research’ of Bahri P (Ed.) Communicating about Risks and Safe Use of Medicines: Real Life and Applied Research. Heidelberg: Springer

Taylor BJ, Stevenson M & McDowell M (2018) Communicating risk in dementia care: survey of health and social care professionals. Health and Social Care in the Community, 26(2), e291–e303

Whittaker A & Taylor BJ (Eds) (2018) Risk in Social Work Practice: Current Issues. London: Routledge


Selected presentations

Taylor BJ (2019, January) Developing professional decision making. Invited plenary speaker at the TAFIBUT: TrygFondens netwark for anvendt forskning I born & unges trivsel [Network for Applied Research] seminar. Copenhagen University, Copenhagen, Denmark

Taylor BJ (2018, May) Discretion and dialogue in adult safeguarding decision-making. Invited plenary speaker at the Invited International Meeting: Decision Making in Child and Adult Protection: Discretion and Dialogue. University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), Switzerland

Taylor BJ (2017, October) How do we make good decisions in child protection? Invited plenary speaker at the 6th National Child Protection and Welfare Social Work Conference, Cork, Ireland

Taylor BJ (2017, July) Synthesising child abuse risk factors: prospects for a European knowledge hub using big data. Invited opening plenary speaker at special meeting of the Decisions, Assessment & Risk Special Interest Group of the European Social Work Research Association. Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany

Taylor BJ (2017, May) Enabling decision making in a risk-averse culture. Invited opening plenary speaker at the Annual Social Work Conference: Decision Making and Professional Judgement. London: London South Bank University

Taylor BJ (2017, March) New directions for risk, knowledge and professional judgement in social work. Invited opening plenary speaker at the Annual School Conference: New Directions in Social Work and Social Care. London: Kingston and St. George’s University