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The Practice of Research in Social Work


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Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1. Science, Society, and Social Work Research Reasoning About the Social World Everyday Errors in Reasoning The Social Scientific Approach Social Work and the Social World Research in the News: Why Did New York City's Homeless Population Increase? Social Work Research and Evidence-Based Practice Social Work Research in Practice Alternative Research Orientations Social Work Research in a Diverse Society CHAPTER 2. The Process of Social Work Research Social Work Research Questions Consider Social Diversity when Formulating a Question Foundations of Social Work Research Implications for Evidence-Based Practice Theory and Social Work Research Research in the News: Does Money Buy Happiness? Alternative Research Strategies Social Research Standards CHAPTER 3. Ethical and Scientific Guidelines for Social Work Research Research on People Historical Background Research in the News: Is it Ethical Science? Ethical Principles Institutional Review Board Reviews Internet Research Scientific Guidelines for Social Work Research CHAPTER 4. Measurement Concepts Research in the News: What is your Race? From Concepts to Observations Levels of Measurement Measurement Error Assessing Measurement Accuracy Measurement Validity Ways to Improve Reliability and Validity of Existing Measures Using Scales to Identify a Clinical Status Measurement in a Diverse Society Measurement Implications for Evidence-Based Practice CHAPTER 5. Sampling Sample Planning Research in the News: What are the Best Practices for Sampling Vulnerable Populations? Sampling Methods Sampling Distributions Recruitment Strategies with Diverse Populations Implications for Evidence-Based Practice CHAPTER 6. Causation and Research Design Research Design Alternatives Research in the News: Why is Child Poverty so High? Criteria for Quantitative (Nomothetic) Causal Explanations Comparing Research Designs Implications for Evidence-Based Practice CHAPTER 7. Group Experimental Designs Threats to the Validity of Group Experimental Designs Features of True Experiments Types of True Experimental Designs Quasi-experimental Designs Nonexperimental Designs Implications for Evidence-Based Practice Implications for Evidence-Based Practice Diversity, Group Design, and Evidence-Based Practice Ethical Issues in Experimental Research CHAPTER 8. Single-Subject Design Foundations of Single-Subject Design Measuring Targets of Intervention Analyzing Single-Subject Designs Types of Single-Subject Designs Research in the News: Exercise Your Brain? Implications for Evidence-Based Practice Single-Subject Design in a Diverse Society Ethical Issues in Single-Subject Design CHAPTER 9. Survey Research Survey Research in Social Work Designing Questionnaires Writing Questions Refine and Test Questions Survey Design Alternatives Survey Research Design in a Diverse Society Implications for Evidence-Based Practice Ethical Issues in Survey Research CHAPTER 10. Qualitative Methods Fundamentals of Qualitative Methods Participant Observation Intensive Interviewing Research in the News: Can Taping Interviews Capture a Trend? Interviewing Online Focus Groups Community-based Participatory Research Qualitative Research in a Diverse Society Implications for Evidence-Based Practice Ethical Issues in Qualitative Research CHAPTER 11. Qualitative Data Analysis Features of Qualitative Data Analysis Techniques of Qualitative Data Analysis Alternatives in Qualitative Data Analysis Research in the News: What's in a Message? Content Analysis Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Implications for Evidence-based Practice Ethics in Qualitative Data Analysis CHAPTER 12. Secondary Data Analysis and Mixed Methods Secondary Data Analysis Mixed Methods CHAPTER 13. Evaluation Research Evaluation Basics Describing the Program: The Logic Model Questions for Evaluation Research Design Decisions Implications for Evidence-Based Practice Evaluation Research in a Diverse Society Ethics in Evaluation CHAPTER 14. Quantitative Data Analysis Introducing Statistics Preparing Data for Analysis Displaying Univariate Distributions Summarizing Univariate Distributions Describing Relationships Among Variables Implications for Evidence-Based Practice Quantitative Data Analysis in a Diverse Society Ethical Issues: Avoiding Misleading Findings CHAPTER 15. Reporting Research Beginning With a Research Proposal Writing Can Be Frustrating! Reporting Results Research in the News: How Much Should Social Scientists Report? Poster Presentations Implications for Evidence-Based Practice Social Work Research in a Diverse Society Ethical Considerations Appendix A. Questions to Ask About a Quantitative Research Article Appendix B. How to Read a Quantitative Research Article Appendix C. Questions to Ask About a Qualitative Research Article Appendix D. How to Read a Qualitative Research Article

About the Author

Rafael J. Engel, PhD, is associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh. He received his PhD (1988) from the University of Wisconsin, his MSW (1979) from the University of Michigan, and his BA (1978) from the University of Pennsylvania. He coordinates the graduate certificate program in aging and is the principal investigator for the Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education. He has written Fundamentals of Social Work Research (with Russell Schutt) and Measuring Race and Ethnicity (with Larry E. Davis). He is co-editor-in-chief of the journal, Intergenerational Relations and a member of the editorial board of Race and Social Problems. He has authored journal articles on such topics as poverty in later life, welfare benefits, and depressive symptomatology, and he has written a variety of monographs reporting agency-based evaluations. His research experience includes funded research studies on gambling, faith-based organizations, and employment in later life as well as funded evaluation research studies on welfare-to-work programs and drug and alcohol prevention programs. His most recent research involves older adults and gambling prevention. Russell K. Schutt, PhD, is a professor and the chair of sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and a lecturer on sociology in the Department of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School (Massachusetts Mental Health Center). He completed his BA, MA, and PhD (1977) at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a postdoctoral fellowship in the Sociology of Social Control Training Program at Yale University (1977-1979). His other books include Investigating the Social World: The Process and Practice of Research and Fundamentals of Social Work Research (with Ray Engel), Making Sense of the Social World (with Dan Chambliss), and Research Methods in Psychology (with Paul G. Nestor)-all with SAGE Publications, as well as Homelessness, Housing, and Mental Illness (Harvard University Press) and Social Neuroscience: Brain, Mind, and Society (coedited with Larry J. Seidman and Matcheri S. Keshavan, also Harvard University Press). Most of his peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters focus on the effect of social context on cognition, satisfaction, functioning, and recidivism, the orientations of service recipients and of service and criminal justice personnel, and the organization of health and social services. He is currently a coinvestigator for a randomized trial of peer support for homeless dually diagnosed veterans, funded by the Veterans Administration.

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