Methods of Social Work Research
Social work practitioners need research skills in order to be accountable, and to evaluate their own practice, programs, and service delivery. Moreover, as service roles and tasks expand and as accountability demands progressively increase, the need of the social work profession for systematic development of empirically validated knowledge becomes more acute. To address these needs a two-course sequence is designed to enable students to prepare for three roles: 1) competent evaluators of their own practice whether clinical or organizational; 2) critical consumers of research in the social and behavioral sciences; and 3) active participants in knowledge generating inquiries that include designing and implementing research for the development of service and the clarification of clinical issues in social work practice.
This course focuses on foundation content in research design and methodology to introduce students to the research process that can be used by social work practitioners to evaluate their individual practices, evaluate social programs, and advance practice knowledge. The major aims of the course are to enable students to develop a scientific perspective, to acquire an understanding of different research philosophies that can be used to evaluate practice, and to incorporate that perspective and understanding into a broader conceptual base for social work practice. Building on a liberal arts perspective, the course aids students in thinking critically about the methods and limitations of various systems of inquiry, and about society, people, and their problems.