The authors offer a critical account of the struggle faced by social work practitioner research in emerging from a state of near ‘invisibility’. The authors make the case for practitioner-led research (PLR) to be valued and supported within the broad arena of social research by an infrastructure that can capitalise on the advantages of PLR. It is argued that the practitioner's situated perspective can access knowledge which takes practice fully into account. Practitioners are uniquely situated at the interface of service users, carers, work organisations and policy; their knowledge is transferable to other practice situations and has the potential to achieve change that will enhance the quality of the lives of both service users and carers. Furthermore, PLR provides a vehicle for the frontline practitioner to have a voice in their own right. Once due recognition and the requisite support is given to PLR, it will, it is argued, emerge out of the shadows and stand in full view in the light of knowledge enquiry.