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Personal profile

Area of academic expertise - outline

I qualified in social work in 1988 and my career has taken me from the far north of the Scottish mainland in Wick to the south of Scotland in Dumfries. My career interests have spanned 23 years in front line practice at practitioner and management grades within the statutory sector. My learning and experience has come from working across the range of client groups; children and families, learning disabilities, mental health, criminal justice as well as learning from leadership challenges in the sector.  


My 23 years of front line social work practice in practitioner and management grades within the statutory sector before coming to the University of the West of Scotland in 2010 offers informed research insights into day to day practice and management issues across the social work caseload.


Current research activities


My research interests in social work practice include the facilitation and support of social work practitioner research to improve local problem solving capacity and innovation.


In addition, research interests are on-going across the social work sphere but particularly within criminal justice social work practice with particular interest on offender assessment and the generation of imaginative outcome focussed responses to service user need.


I am currently researching French probation and social wor practices in order to support the transfer of learning between the two countries.


Within the field of education, my research interests are in preparing students for professional practice and the place of electronic media in education.



Desired research direction


My research goals are:


  • To improve social work practice by offering research insights into day to day practice in collaboration with front-line staff

  • To support social work organisations to develop and maintain a research and innovation culture

  • To support the development of student learning capacity during and post qualification

  •  To offer international insights and knowledge exchange.



Target collaborative companies

  • Private sector care providers



Target collaborative organisations

  • Local authorities

  • Third sector organisations

  • French speaking welfare and probation services  



External positions

Dumfries and Galloway Branch Chair, Scottish Association for the Study of Offending

9 Jun 2016 → …

Social Work Lecturer of the Year, Scottish Association of Social Workers


Member, La Confederation Francophone de Probation

2014 → …

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Research Output

« Les besoins avant les actes »: le Children’s Hearing écossais et l’héritage durable de Lord Kilbrandon

Translated title of the contribution: "Needs not deeds": the Scottish Children's Hearing and the enduring heritage of Lord KilbrandonSturgeon, J. & Leygue-Eurieult, E., 30 Mar 2020, In : Criminocorpus: Histoire de la justice, des crimes, et des peines. 26 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 8 Downloads (Pure)

    Les transformations de la probation en France: réflexions et leçons écossaises à l’usage de mes collègues français

    Translated title of the contribution: Transformations in French probation: reflections and lessons from transformation in Scotland for the use of French colleaguesSturgeon, J., 14 Sep 2018.

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

  • As Others See us: A French impression of Scottish criminal justice social work

    Sturgeon, J. & Lethien, O., 1 Jun 2016, In : Scottish Justice Matters. 4, 2, p. 29 29 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • Community Justice Reform in France

    Sturgeon, J., 1 Jun 2016, In : Scottish Justice Matters. 4, 3, p. 27 28 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • Prizes

    Social Work Lecturer of the Year

    Sturgeon, John (Recipient), 16 Mar 2016

    Prize: National/international honour