S W 313 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Inductive Reasoning, Longitudinal Study, Antipositivism

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Essential Research Methods for Social Workers
Allen Rubin & Earl Babbie
Fourth Edition
Chapter Four: Factors Influencing the Research Process
Introduction:
There is agreement that both social work research and social work practice
seek to resolve social welfare problems.
Research Purposes in Qualitative and Quantitative Studies:
Studies vary in purpose.
Different aims are connected to different research processes.
Exploration:
o Much social work research is conducted to explore a topic
o Typical purpose
o Can employ various qualitative and/or quantitative methods
o Seldom provide conclusive answers to research questions
o Give hints to answers and give insight into research methods
Description:
o Describe situations and events
o Observes and then describes what was observed
o Can follow a quantitative and/or qualitative research methods
o The term description differs when talking about qualitative and
quantitative studies.
o In qualitative studies, description is likely to refer to a thick
examination of phenomena and their deeper meanings
Concerns are conveying a sense of what it’s like to walk in
the shows of the people being described, and providing
rich details with precision
o In quantitative studies, description typically refers to
characteristics of a population.
Concerns are objectivity, precision, and generalizability.
Explanation:
o Explain things
o Can follow a quantitative and/or qualitative research process
Evaluation
o Evaluate social programs, policies and interventions.
o Encompass evaluation, description, and explanation
Constructing Measurement Instruments
o Aim to develop and test out measurement instruments that can
be used by other researchers or practitioners.
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Essential Research Methods for Social Workers
Allen Rubin & Earl Babbie
Fourth Edition
Multiple Purposes
o More than one purpose or possible purposes are hard to
distinguish
Explaining and Predicting
o There is a difference between being able to predict something
and being able to explain or understand it.
o We are often able to predict without understanding
The Time Dimension:
The time period is another influencing factor on research.
Cross-Sectional Studies studies based on observations that represent
a single point in time.
o May have an exploratory, descriptive, or explanatory purpose.
o Explanatory cross-sectional studies tend to have an issue due to
trying to determine causal effects on a one-time observation
Longitudinal Studies studies that conduct observations at different
points in time.
o Can be great for assessing whether one particular attribute
increases one’s risk for developing a problem later on.
o Trend studies are those that study changes within some
population over time.
o Cohort studies examine more specific subpopulations as they
change over time.
o Panel studies examine the same set of people each time.
Longitudinal studies have an advantage over cross-sectional in
providing information over time
This comes at a disadvantage due to heavy cost
Dropping out of a longitudinal study could distort results
The Influence of Paradigms:
Whether and how researchers use or emphasize quantitative or qualitative
methods will be influenced by the paradigm they favor.
Paradigm a set of philosophical assumptions about the nature of reality a
fundamental model or scheme that organizes out views of some things.
There are two contrasting paradigms that influence social work research:
Contemporary positivism a paradigm that emphasizes the pursuit of
objectivity in our quest to observe and understand reality.
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