Research for Social Workers: An Introduction to Methods

Author: Alston, Margaret


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  • ISBN: 9781865088945
  • Author: Alston, Margaret
  • Publ Date: 2002-12-01
  • Edition:
  • Pages: 344
  • Imprint: ROUTLEDGE *#
  • Status: ACT
  • ID - 70014

Table of Contents :

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Social work research2. Choosing your topic area3. Developing research questions4. Steps in the research process5. Sampling6. Surveys and interviews7. Needs identification and analysis8. How do I evaluate my program?9. Action research10. Best practice evaluation11. Other methods12. Producing results: qualitative research13. Producing results: quantitative research14. Statistics for social workers15. Influencing policy and practiceBibliographyAppendix Index


As social work practice has become increasingly sophisticated, the role of research in social work has become more critical. Today research is relevant to just about every area of social work practice, from determining needs in the initial stages of an intervention, to planning a course of action, and finally evaluating practice. Springing from the research traditions of sociology and psychology, social work is now developing its own research orientation and knowledge base. This book is an accessible introduction to research methods specifically needed in social work and social welfare. It outlines the major stages of research projects step by step, covering both quantitative and qualitative methods. It offers explanations of how to combine these two traditions in practice, as well as guidelines to analysing results and reporting. It also includes chapters on needs assessment and evaluation, skills essential for human service workers. The book is written for researchers without a strong maths background. Illustrated with examples, and accompanied by exercises and questions, it is a suitable introduction for newcomers to research, and a reference for more experienced social work researchers who would like to improve their skills. This second edition is fully revised and updated. It includes an extra chapter on researching your own practice and the chapter on statistics has been expanded.

Author Biography:

Margaret Alston is associate professor and Wendy Bowles is senior lecturer in social work at Charles Sturt University, Riverina. Margaret is director of the Centre for Rural Social Research and author of "Women on the Land" and "Breaking Through the Grass Ceiling, "and editor of "Social Work Fields of Practice."


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