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The Practice of Research in Social Work
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The Practice of Research in Social Work

Fourth Edition
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February 2016 | 496 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
The Fourth Edition of The Practice of Research in Social Work introduces an integrated set of techniques for evaluating research and practice problems as well as conducting studies. Evidence-based practice comes alive through illustrations of actual social work research. Updated with new examples, the latest research, and expanded material on technology and qualitative methods, this popular text helps readers achieve the 2015 EPAS core competencies essential for social work practice..

See the text’s CSWE Competency Matrix, linking chapter content to the 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS). 


 
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

Supplements

Student Study Site
SAGE edge for Students provides a personalized approach to help students accomplish their coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning environment.
  • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material
  • A  customized online action plan includes tips and feedback on progress through the course and materials, which allows students to individualize their learning experience
  • Video and multimedia resources that appeal to students with different learning styles
  • Web resources to extend and reinforce learning or allow for further research on important chapter topics
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter
Instructor Resource site
SAGE edge offers a robust online environment featuring an impressive array of tools and resources for review, study, and further exploration, keeping both instructors and students on the cutting edge of teaching and learning. SAGE edge content is open access and available on demand. Learning and teaching has never been easier!

SAGE edge for Instructors, supports teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students.

  • Test banks provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding
  • Sample course syllabi for semester and quarter courses provide suggested models for structuring one’s course
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for the course
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter to encourage students to think critically
  • Video and multimedia resources that appeal to students with different learning styles
  • Web resources to extend and reinforce learning or allow for further research on important chapter topics
  • Lecture notes summarize key concepts by chapter to ease preparation for lectures and class discussions
  • Suggested student projects designed to promote students' in-depth engagement with course material
  • Tables and figures from the book are available in an easily-downloadable format for use in papers, handouts, and presentations

This book provides a comprehensive yet down-to-earth and practical foundation for social work students.

Dr Mary Ager Caplan
School Of Social Work, University Of Georgia
November 21, 2016
Key features

NEW TO THIS EDITION:

  • New and expanded content on qualitative methods and analysis, community-based participatory research, and conversation analysis reflects the latest advances in the field.
  • Coverage of emerging research techniques includes discussions of ethical issues and Internet research, expanded material on the use of electronic surveys and cell phones for research, and new coverage of qualitative methods, such as online interviewing and netnography.
  • New examples of research in the real-world settings of social work practice address such topics as homelessness, domestic violence, substance abuse, poverty, aging, the methods used and the challenges confronted by researchers.
  • Updated and expanded coverage of implications for evidence-based practice, including the steps associated with the practice decision model and the challenges of implementing evidence-based practice at the agency level, prepares students for real-world practice.
  • Reorganized and expanded coverage of mixed methods in a new Chapter 12 is supported by social work examples ranging from practice and policy assessment to measurement validity.
  • Expanded coverage of secondary data analysis includes coverage of how to access sources, how to assess the utility of a data sets, and the ethical issues associated with analysis and big data.
  • New appendices cover questions to ask when reading a qualitative research article.

 
KEY FEATURES:

  • Each chapter focuses on a particular substantive research question to underscore the strong and weak points of actual research projects.
  • Methods are presented within a unified conceptual framework of validity to help students critically evaluate social work research articles and practice.
  • Real-world examples demonstrate the methods used by social work researchers to discover the efficacy of interventions, identify needs, and test the impact of social policies.
  • Ethics is introduced in an early chapter (Chapter 3) and discussed in concluding sections in every chapter.
  • Culture and diversity is discussed within each chapter to address questions about social diversity in every stage of the research process.
  • An engaging presentation of qualitative methods appropriate to the field of social work includes coverage of Photovoice and its applicability to social justice.
  • Extensive review exercises, presented in a variety of formats, help students master the key concepts of every chapter.
  • Free SAGE edge online resources include practice quizzes, a personalized action plan, eFlashcards, web resources, and more.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 4

Chapter 8


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