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Research Methods for Social Work

Research Methods for Social Work
A Problem-Based Approach

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January 2020 | 464 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Research Methods for Social Work Practice: A Problem-Based Approach is a comprehensive introduction to methods instruction that engages students innovatively and interactively. Using a case study and problem-based learning (PBL) approach, authors Antoinette Y. Farmer and G. Lawrence Farmer utilize case examples to achieve a level of application which builds readers’ confidence in methodology and reinforces their understanding of research across all levels of social work practice. These real case examples, along with critical thinking questions, research tips, and step-by-step problem-solving methods, will improve student mastery and help them see why research is relevant. With the guidance of this new and noteworthy textbook, readers will transform into both knowledgeable consumers of research and skilled practitioners who can effectively address the needs of their clients through research.


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Chapter 1: Evidence-based Practice

The Search for Best Practices

Scientific Method

Evidence-based Practice

Summary, Review and Assignments

Chapter 2: Research Ethics

The Belmont Report

Institutional Review Board

Summary, Review and Assignments

Chapter 3: The Research Process

What is the Purpose of Research?

What is Research Design?

The Research Process

Summary, Review and Assignments

Chapter 4: Problem Formulation

The Importance of Conducting a Literature Review

Ethics and the Research Question

Diversity and the Research Question

Summary, Review and Assignments

Chapter 5: Measurement

Conceptual Versus Operational

Levels of Measurement

Sources of Measurement Error

Reliability and Validity

Selecting Standardized Measures

Constructing Measurement Instruments

Ethics and Measurement

Diversity and Measurement

Summary, Review and Assignments

Chapter 6: Experimental Designs

Types of Experimental Research designs

Ethics and Experimental Design

Diversity and Experimental Designs

Summary, Review and Assignments

Chapter 7: Quasi-Experimental Designs

Quasi-Experimental Designs

Types of Quasi-Experimental Designs

Ethics and Quasi-Experimental Designs

Diversity and Quasi-Experimental Designs

Summary, Review and Assignments

Chapter 8: Qualitative Research

Sampling Strategies Used in Qualitative Research

Types of Qualitative Research

Criteria for Ensuring the Trustworthiness of Data

Ethics and Qualitative Research

Diversity and Qualitative Research

Summary, Review and Assignments

Chapter 9: Mixed Methods Research
Sampling Strategies Used in Mixed Methods Research

Ethics and Mixed Methods Research

Diversity and Mixed Methods Research

Summary, Review and Assignments

Chapter 10: Observational Research

Types of Observational Research

Ethics and Observational Research

Diversity and Observational Research

Summary, Review and Assignments

Chapter 11: Sampling

Types of Sampling Strategies

Reasons Why Samples May Differ from a Population

Criteria for Evaluating the Quality of a Sample

Ethics and Sampling

Diversity and Sampling

Summary, Review and Assignments

Chapter 12: Survey Research

Sources of Error Affect Survey Research

Design Phase of the Survey

Modes of Data Collection in Survey Research

Response Rate

Ethics and Survey Research

Diversity and Survey Research

Summary, Review and Assignments

Chapter 13: Quantitative Analysis

Key Statistics Concepts

Levels of Measurement

Coding the Data

Statistical Analysis Used to Describe Data

Statistical Analyses Used to Asses the Degree of Relationship Among Variables

Statistical Analyses Used to Asses Significant of Group Difference

Ethics and Quantitative Data Analysis

Diversity and Quantitative Data Analysis

Summary, Review and Assignments

Chapter 14: Qualitative Data Analysis

Phases of the Qualitative Data Analysis Process

Coding if the Data

Types of Qualitative Analyses

Criteria for Ensuring the Trustworthiness of Data

Ethics and Qualitative Data Analysis

Diversity and Qualitative Data Analysis

Computer Programs for Qualitative Data

Summary, Review and Assignments

Chapter 15: Single-Case Design Evaluation

What Needs to be Done Prior to Conducting a Single-Case Design

Phases of the Single-Case Design Evaluation Process

Types of Single-Case Designs

Graphing and Analyzing the Data

Ethics and Single-Case Design Evaluation

Diversity and Single-Case Design Evaluation

Summary, Review and Assignments

Chapter 16: Program Evaluation

Program Logic Model

Types of Program Evaluations

Structure of an Evaluation Report

Ethics and Program Evaluation

Diversity and Program Evaluation

Summary, Review and Assignments

Appendix A: Guidelines for Writing a Manuscript/Research Paper


Student Resource Site
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  • an open-access site that makes it easy for students to maximize their study time, anywhere, anytime;
  • learning objectives reinfoce the most important material; and
  • eQuizzes that allow students to practice and assess how much they’ve learned and where they need to focus their attention.
Instructor Resource Site
SAGE Edge for instructors supports your teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students with:
  • a password-protected site for complete and protected access to all text-specific instructor resources;  
  • test banks that provide a diverse range of ready-to-use options that save you time. You can also easily edit any question and/or insert your own personalized questions;
  • sample course syllabi for semester and quarter courses that provide suggested models for structuring your courses;
  • editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides that offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for your course;
  • lecture notes that summarize key concepts by chapter to help you prepare for lectures and class discussions; 
  • chapter-specific discussion questions help launch engaging classroom interaction while reinforcing important content; and
  • engaging class activities reinforce concepts for students.

“The authors have proposed a very innovative way to make research understandable and interesting to an audience that doesn’t typically enjoy the research process. The problem-based learning model will engage students and challenge them to think about research in ways that many of them previously hadn’t thought about it.”

Juan J. Barthelemy
Louisiana State University

Research Methods for Social Work Practice is a new take on the standard research text. This text incorporates a problem-based learning approach to addressing research content along with case studies to facilitate understanding of research content.”

Patricia Saleeby
Southern Illinois University

“This text is student-friendly and offer students immediate answers related to why and how research is relevant and required in the social work profession. From my review, I believe Research Methods for Social Work Practice may be exactly what we've needed in our program.”

Sonja V. Harry
Winston-Salem State University
Key features
  • Learning objectives and competency grids guide students through each chapter and illustrate how the content is applied to the relevant, updated EPAS competency practice behaviors.
  • Case studies open every chapter and include steps on applying the steps of problem-based learning (PBL) to real-life case scenarios students may encounter in a professional social work setting.
  • Application Checkpoints, tied to chapter case studies, are integrated throughout each chapter allowing students to apply what they learned, enhancing their critical thinking skills and competencies.
  • Research tables and figures, such as SPSS screenshots, allow students to see the breakdown of research activities.
  • Content on diversity and ethics is integrated throughout, ensuring students understand that diversity and ethics must be considered throughout the entire research process.
  • Step-by-step instructions on various analyses in quantitative methods provide guidance.
  • Summary, Review and Assignment sections at the end of each chapter provide ample opportunities for further reinforcement of learning objectives and review of the research process through assignable assessment questions and additional recommended readings.  

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ISBN: 9781506345307