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Social Work Research I

Explore research as a tool of social work practice.

Meeting a client’s needs often means choosing from a variety of options, from services and programs to advice and information. The best way to find the best option is to rely on research. In SOWK 6341 Social Work Research I, you’ll learn how to leverage research to help you make decisions that will help your clients.

Course Description

In the field of social work, research can be as academic as a review of literature to see what has and hasn’t worked in similar situations. Research can also be as simple as asking your clients the right questions and getting helpful information from them about their situations and their needs. In this course, you will explore research as a tool of social work practice. You will learn a variety of research concepts, including quantitative methods, qualitative methods, research ethics, and cultural competency in research.

You will identify ways to select evidence-based practices, examine barriers to these methods and analyze ethical issues related to experimental designs. You will also address validity in research studies and see how quasi-experimental designs—while useful in many respects—leave opportunities to question whether the research findings accurately reflect reality.

Practitioners often use surveys as a research tool, and it is important for all social workers to understand the basics of survey design. You will discover methods for designing relevant client surveys as well as for capturing and tracking clients’ progress. You’ll also look at single subject design and its need for baseline and ongoing assessment.

Social workers do not have to be statisticians, but it will be useful for you to view a table or chart and extract relevant information from it. You will focus on interpreting the types of statistics you are likely to encounter in your profession. As you evaluate cultural competency issues in research studies, you will complete an online training through the National Institute of Health to receive a certificate in human subject protections.

Sample Learning Exercise

To help you understand how to best obtain information from clients, you will develop a short survey consisting of between five to ten questions. Based on an assigned scenario related to your topic, this survey will collect demographics and other data.

Assignment Example

Over the course of this class, you will craft a professional-quality agency memo detailing your recommendations for an intervention to use with a specific client population and developing a single subject design for testing your recommended intervention in a social work setting.

Course Topics

Sample core topics from SOWK 6341 are listed below and are subject to change based on the instructor.

  • Translating Good Science and Strong Theories into Practice
  • Choosing Evidence Based on Research
  • Self-Care and Catch-Up
  • Choosing Measures
  • Interpreting Statistics
  • Human Subjects and Cultural Competency in Research

Learning Outcomes

Through SOWK 6341, you will gain a better understanding of research topics and methods specific to professional social work identity, values and ethics, diversity, human rights, social and economic justice, and cultural competency with an emphasis on Hispanic families and children.

  • Recognize research terminology and research methods.
  • Identify the key concepts of evidence-based practice.
  • Articulate the importance of using research evidence as a tool to guide social work practice decisions.
  • Recognize the importance of ethical and cultural standards in conducting social work research, including research with Hispanic families and children.
  • Critically appraise evidence supporting the use of interventions for specific social work populations.
  • Evaluate statistical findings and researchers’ interpretations of findings.
  • Design a single subject evaluation for use in practice.

Learn More About Helping Others

In SOWK 6341, you will gain insight into how research evidence can help you decide which programs, services or answers might best meet your clients’ needs. To learn more about this course or any other course in the online Master of Social Work from Our Lady of the Lake University, call 855-275-1082 to speak with an admissions advisor right away, or you can request more information.

The content presented on this page is representative information for example purposes and is subject to change as course and student needs change over time.

Programs that include this course