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Research skills are as critical to social work practitioners as skills in individual and group counselling, policy analysis, and community development. Adopting strategies similar to those used in direct practice courses, this book integrates research with social work practice, and in so doing promotes an understanding and appreciation of the research process. This second edition of Practising Social Work Research comprises twenty-three case studies that illustrate different research approaches, including quantitative, qualitative, single-subject, and mixed methods. Six are new to this edition, and examine research with First Nations, organizing qualitative data, and statistics. Through these real-life examples, the authors demonstrate the processes of conceptualization, operationalization, sampling, data collection and processing, and implementation. Designed to help the student and practitioner become more comfortable with research procedures, Practising Social Work Research capitalizes on the strengths that social work students bring to assessment and problem solving.
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Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgments 1. INTRODUCTION 1. The Case Study Method 2. The Research Process 2. PROBLEM SOLVING: BRIEF CASE STUDIES Introduction Steps in the Process of Research Identifying the Problem Case Study 1: Research and the Media: What Are You Being Told? Ethics: Ensuring No Harm Comes to Participants Case Study 2: A Question of Ethics: Willowbrook Case Study 3: Another Question of Ethics: Studying HIV Case Study 4: Ethical Issues of Obtaining Consent to Interview Children in Post- Separation Disputes Case Study 5: Respectful Ethical Research Practice: Working with First Nations, Inuit Innu and Metis Peoples Preparation: Conceptualizing, Operationalizing and Sampling Case Study 6: Understanding Ideas and Counting Them Case Study 7: Implementing a Pilot Project: A Question of Sampling Case Study 8: Who Do You Ask? Sampling in a Qualitative Context Research Methods Case Study 9: Criminal Justice Issues in Social Work Research: The Search for Causality Case Study 10: Psychometric Properties: How Should We Measure? Case Study 11: The Validity of Research Case Study 12: The Application of Quasi-experimental Design in Social Work Research Case Study 13: The Power of One: Single-Case Study Design Case Study 14: One More: Another Example of Single-Case Study Design Case Study 15: Asking Questions Properly: An Examination of Questionnaire Design Case Study 16: Asking Questions in Child Advocacy: Which Approach Is Best For Children? Case Study 17: What Does it All Mean? Qualitative Interviewing with Children About Their Views and Experiences of Family Justice Professionals Case Study 18: Q & Q: Employing Both a Qualitative and a Quantitative Approach Case Study 19: On PAR: Engaging and Empowering Clients through Participatory Action Research Data Collection and Statistical Analysis Case Study 20: Measuring Client Satisfaction: Do They Like Me? Case Study 21: Adding Some Numbers Case Study 22: Descriptive Statistics: The First Step from Guessing to Knowing Case Study 23: Inferring What You Know: Selecting an Appropriate Statistical Test 3. CRITIQUING RESEARCH Introduction Critical Analysis of Quantitative Research Critical Analysis of Qualitative Research 1. A Qualitative Design: Surviving the Tornado: Psychiatric Survivor Experiences of Getting, Losing, and Keeping Housing Cheryl Forchuk, Cathy Ward-Griffin, Rick Csiernik, and Katherine Turner Critique 2. A Quantitative Design: An Examination of Two Different Approaches to Visitation-Based Disputes in Child Custody Matters Rachel Birnbaum Critique INDEX

About the Author

Rick Csiernik is a professor in the King's University College School of Social Work at the University of Western Ontario. Rachel Birnbaum is an associate professor in the King's University College School of Social Work at the University of Western Ontario.


This book is written in a simple, straightforward style with little jargon. It is aimed at students, not academicians or researchers, and it is easily readable and comprehensible. The authors' social constructionist perspective will appeal to students and qualitative method instructors in particular. It stresses experiential learning, understanding through dialogue, empowerment of students, and the sharing of power between students and instructors... Used for course assignments and class discussions, the real world case studies speak directly to the interests of our students, and should immediately engage them. -- Marsha Schwam-Harris, Journal of Teaching in Social Work The strength of the approach used by these authors is that discussion of research methods and concepts are grounded in the case example providing opportunity for social work students to connect the abstract discussion of research concepts and theory to information contained in the case examples ... The book is useful to social work students... [and] can also be used effectively by instructors, as the discussion questions embedded in each section could be used for small group work and discussion in the classroom ...The case study approach is an effective means to read, learn, and teach research methods. -- Judy Hughes, Social Work Education

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