SW335 Social Work Research

for FA 2011

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Mission Statement: Park University provides access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective and engage in lifelong learning and service to others.

Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.


SW 335 Social Work Research


FA 2011 HO


Larcom, Cynthia


Adjunct Professor Social Work



Office Hours

by appointment

Daytime Phone





Class Days


Class Time

2:25 - 3:40 PM

Credit Hours



  Research Methods for BSW Students (9th edition), Grinnell, Williams, And Unrau.  

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

Brew, Leah and Michael K. Altekruse. Building the Relationship: Common Errors in Helping. Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole, 2006.

Hill, Clara E. and Karen M. O'Brien. Helping Skills: Facilitating Exploration, Insight, and Action. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2002.

Ivey, Allen E. and Mary Bradford Ivey. Intentional Interviewing and Counseling (Sixth edition). Belmont, CA: Thompson Brooks/Cole, 2007. 

McHenry, Bill and Jim McHenry. What Therapists Say and Why They Say It. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc., 2007.

Meier, Scott T. and Susan R. Davis. Elements of Counseling (Fourth Edition). Belmont, California: Wadsworth, 2001.

Samovar, Larry A. and Richard E. Porter. Intercultural Communication: A Reader (Seventh Edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1994.

Sevel, Judith, Linda Cummins, and Cesar Madrigal. Social Work Skills Demonstrated. Needham Heights, MA.: Allyn and Bacon, 1999.

Shebib, Bob. Choices: Counseling Skills for Social Workers and Other Professionals. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2003.

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information http://www.park.edu/Current/.

Course Description:
SW335 Social Work Research: This course introduces basic methods of social research, including various aspects of research design, data collection, analysis, and reporting of findings. It examines both qualitative and quantitative research methods, and explores the application of social research knowledge to critical assessment of published social work research and evaluation of social work interventions and programs. 3:0:3 Prerequisite/Co-requisite: SW205 Prerequisite: MA120

Educational Philosophy:
We are forever students of life. As the world evolves, so must we if we are going to be effective. There are times when silence is not golden and you must ask questions not to only gain knowledge, but to understand. Questions, discussion and passionate dialogue expands our minds and our experience.  It’s through knowledge that we will effect change. 

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify and apply research process and social work research methods with application to the evaluation of social work practice and programs.
  2. Ability to apply scientific methods to issues of concern for social workers, including how to formulate meaningful research questions, how to select appropriate research designs, how to develop and employ basic methods of data collection including quantitative and qualitative analysis.
  3. Use empirical studies as a knowledge base to support professional interventions and decisions for the enhancement of client well-being.
  4. Interpret statistical concepts and present results as they apply to social work.
  5. Demonstrate ability to critically evaluate published research studies both in print and on the internet.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical dimensions and applications of social research relative to privacy, rights of human subjects, diversity and social justice.

Core Assessment:

·  Exams (LO 1-4, 6)

·  Behavior Change Project   (LO 1-6)

·  Critique of Research Article  (LO 1-6)

·  Core Assessment: Evaluation of Practice  (LO 1-4, 6)

Class Assessment:

Presentation of weekly reading assignments, Critique of Research Articles, Evaluation of Practice, Exams, Research Project and Attendance Participation. Further details on these assignments will be distributed in class.

Written assignments are to be double spaced, 12 font size, typed or word processed, APA style. CO refers to course objectives met, noted in parenthesis.

Exams: There may be two exams in this class.
Critique of Research Articles: Identify and select examples of published research relevant to the generalist practice of social work. Complete a written critique of each article based upon assignment outline and be prepared to facilitate a class discussion relative to the article and your critique. The critique should include discussion of the studies relevance to generalist social work practice and considerations as to how the study might be improved upon. (CO1-7)

This checklist provides a summary of some of the main criteria for critiquing research articles. When critiquing an article, it is suggested that you first indicate on a separate piece of paper your numerical rating for each criterion and enter a brief comment besides each rating of major importance in guiding your overall evaluation of that particular article. You may rate each criterion on the following four-point scale: 1) Excellent; 2) Good; 3) Fair; 4) Poor; NA Not Applicable. (Not applicable may for example refer to experimental controls when critiquing a descriptive, exploratory, and qualitative study.) After rating each criterion, you may sum your ratings. Because of the not applicable your overall rating of the article should be a mean criterion score (between 1-4) obtained as follows:

Sum of ratings (Excluding NAs). Number of Criteria minus those that are not applicable or NA.


o Clarity of purposes and research questions.

o Clarity of conceptual framework and relationship to prior studies.

o Clear specification and adequate operationalization of variables.

o Reasonableness of assumptions.

o Adequacy and representativeness of sampling. Evaluation of Practice: In this assignment students will demonstrate the use of scientific inquiry as a knowledge base to support and measure interventions and decisions for the enhancement of generalist social work practice. (CO 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7)
Research Project
Students will work together as a collaborative team for a not for profit agency to develop a research/survey instrument, conduct interviews, analyze data, present finds and complete a final research paper.

Chapter Outline/Presentation Assignments:

Ø Create an outline/handout for your classmates on the chapter(s) you are to cover.

o   Open Note tests where you will be able to use these handouts 

o   Be certain to cover main points/concepts of chapter

o   Your work will determine your classmates grades

Ø Lead Discussion of your chapter in class.

o   Cover major concepts of chapter

o   Relevance to practice and/or class research project

Ø Be as creative/innovative as you like: simple notes, brochure, flyer, PowerPoint slides  

Ø Can be in Word, Publisher, PowerPoint


Every effort will be made to be fair and reasonable in grading your work and participation. If you have questions or concerns about this, please speak to the instructor in a timely manner. You are expected to present material that is legible and well considered. While you will be tested over specific course content, you should do well if you read the material and pay attention in class.

Exams: two exams 10% each,

Senior Services Research Project: 50%
Research Critiques: total of 20%
Chapter Outline/Presentation: 10%
Attendance and Participation 10%    

Scoring: A= 90-100   B= 80-89    C= 70-79    D= 60-69    F= 59-0

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Assignments are due at the beginning of the class on the date indicated. In the event of an absence, assignments may be submitted to the instructor electronically, but will receive the deduction if not submitted prior to the start of class on the due date. The student remains responsible for lost, misdirected or incompatible formatting of electronic submissions. In extenuating circumstances (as determined by the instructor) and with timely notification an exception may or may not be granted. Assignments not submitted on time will receive a deduction of 10% of the possible score per day. After the third day an assignment is late it will not be accepted.  If you ever have a question about any assignment or expectation in this course, please contact the instructor in a timely manner. Please be aware that there is no extra credit work in this course.

Make up exams: Exams are given only on the date specified. Make-up exams will only be scheduled at the instructor’s prerogative under extreme circumstances. Students or an agent of the student must notify the instructor prior to the exam and must be prepared to submit documentation of the circumstances.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
 In order to maintain a positive learning environment the following ground rules will be followed:

  1. Personal perspectives will be valued. Degrading or discriminatory remarks or behaviors are not acceptable.
  2. Discussion will reflect an exchange of information, experiences, ideas, and opinions that have an educational value.
  3. If you work in groups, it is the responsibility of the group members to delegate work. All members of a group must present on the project and all will receive the same grade.
  4. Because of our sensitive subject matter, courtesy needs to be maintained in the classroom at all times.
  5. Cell phones will be turned off during class.
  6. Students will refrain from texting/instant messaging during class.
  7. Students need to arrive on time.
  8. Students will not hold private/side conversations when another person is speaking. Students will speak one at a time, respecting the diversity of opinion. 
  9. If student’s behavior in the classroom is disruptive, the instructor will allow the student an opportunity to correct the behavior without consequences. If the student’s behavior continues to be disruptive, that student may be asked to leave the classroom and will be referred to the Office of Academic Affairs.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

The Context of Social work Research

Class   1:   Introductions and Getting Started! [Core Learning Objects:  1]
Chapter 1:  Place of Research in Social Work
Class   2:  Diving into the Research Process [Core Learning Objects:  1]
Chapter 2:  Formulating Research Questions 
  and Library Tour (Class in Library)
Class   3: Ethics in Social Work Research [Core Learning Objects:  1, 2, 3 and 6]
Chapter 3:  Research Ethics
Ethics Articles
Class   4: Research with Special Populations [Core Learning Objects:  1, 2, 3 and 6]
Chapter 4:  Culturally Competent Research, and 
1st Journal Critique Due
                Presentation from Research Agency

Approaches to Knowledge Development

Class 5: Statistics Review   [Core Learning Objects:  1, 2 and 3]
Chapter 5:  Quantitative Approach
Class   6: Statistics Review [Core Learning Objects:  1, 2 and 3]
    Chapter 6:  Qualitative Approach

Measuring Variables

Class   7:   How to measure service delivery efficacy [Core Learning Objects:  1, 2 and 3]
Chapter 7:  Measurement  and 
2nd Journal Critique Due
Class   8:  Measurement Tools [Core Learning Objects:  1, 2 and 3]
Chapter 8:  Measurement Instruments 

Sampling and Research Designs 

Class   9:  How do you decide on your sample data? [Core Learning Objects:  1, 2 and 3]
Chapter 9:  Selecting Research Participants 
Class 10: Designing the study [Core Learning Objects:  1, 2 and 3]
Chapter 10:  Single Subject Designs and 
3rd Journal Critique Due
Class 11:   Designing the study [Core Learning Objects:  1, 2 and 3]
Chapter 11:  Group Designs

Class 12:   Test 1 (chapters 1-11)

Collecting Data

Class 13:  The numbers - quantitative data collection  [Core Learning Objects:  1, 2 and 3]
Chapter 12:  Collecting Quantitative Data and 
4th Journal Critique Due
Class 14:  Quality Data - subjective data collection   [Core Learning Objects:  1, 2 and 3]
Chapter 13:  Collecting Qualitative Data and 
Chapter 14:  Selection a Data Collection Method

Analyzing the Data

Class 15:  So what do those numbers tell us? [Core Learning Objects:  1, 2, 3 and 4]
Chapter 15:  Analyzing Quantitative Data
Class 16: How do you analyze qualitative data? [Core Learning Objects:  1, 2, 3 and 4]
Chapter 16: Analyzing Qualitative Data, and 
5th Journal Critique Due
Fall Break:  October 10-15
Research Proposals and Reports

Class 17: Writing proposals and reports  [Core Learning Objects:  1, 2 and 3]
Chapter 17:  Quantitative 
Class 18: Writing proposals and reports [Core Learning Objects:  1, 2 and 3]
Chapter 18:  Qualitative 

Program Evaluation 

Class 19:  Introducing Program Evaluation [Core Learning Objects:  1, 2 and 3]
Chapter 19:  Doing Program Evaluations 
and finalize Survey Questions 

Class 20:   Test 2  (chapters 12-19)

Field Work:  Putting Knowledge to Work in an Agency Setting!

Class 21:   Research - Data Collection [Core Learning Objects:  1, 2 and 6]
Class 22:   Research - Data Collection [Core Learning Objects:  1, 2 and 6]

Real World Data Analysis 

Class 23:  Process Evaluation:  What did you learn about Research Design and Implementation [Core Learning Objects:  1, 2 and 4]
Discuss Process, and 
begin data compilation
Class 24:  Finalize data compilation and begin research analysis [Core Learning Objects:  1, 2 and 4]

Putting Your Hard Work to Real World Use:  How Social Service Agencies Use Research Data

Class 25: Data Analysis What do your findings mean for the agency? --   Group Work [Core Learning Objects:  1, 4, 5 and 6]
Class 26: Continued Group Work, and  [Core Learning Objects:  1, 4, 5 and 6]
Research Papers Due
Class 27: Develop Agency Board Presentation  --   Group Work [Core Learning Objects:  1, 4, 5 and 6]
Class 28:   November 24th - NO Class Thanksgiving!

Class 29:  Class Evaluations and  [Core Learning Objects:  1 and 6]
Finalize Board Presentation
Class 30:  Final Research Presentations to Agency Executive and Board of Directors [Core Learning Objects:  1, 2, 3, 4,5, and 6]

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty (www.park.edu/current or http://www.park.edu/faculty/).from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 96

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .

Additional Information:

Social Work Research meets the following CSWE 2008 EPAS   Core competencies:

Educational Policy 2.1-Core Competencies:   measurable practice behaviorsthat are comprised of knowledge, values, and skills.

Educational Policy 2.1.1-Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly.  We serve as representatives of the profession, its mission, and its core values. We know the profession's history. Social

workers commit themselves to the profession's enhancement and to our own professional conduct and growth. Social workers

* advocate for client access to the services of social work;

* practice personal reflection & self-correction to assure continual

professional development;

* attend to professional roles and boundaries;

* demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior, appearance, and communication;

* engage in career-long learning; &

* use supervision and consultation.

Educational Policy 2.1.2-Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice. We have an obligation to conduct ourselves ethically and to engage in ethical decision making. Social workers are knowledgeable

about the value base of the profession, its ethical standards, and relevant law. Social workers

* recognize and manage personal values in a way that allows professional values to guide practice;

* make ethical decisions by applying standards of the NASW Code of Ethics and, as applicable, of the International Federation of Social Workers/International Association of Schools of Social Work Ethics in Social Work, Statement of Principles;

* tolerate ambiguity in resolving ethical conflicts; and

* apply strategies of ethical reasoning to arrive at principled decisions.

Educational Policy 2.1.3-Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.  Social workers are knowledgeable about the principles of logic, scientific inquiry, and reasoned discernment. They use critical thinking augmented by creativity and curiosity. Critical thinking also requires the synthesis and communication of relevant information.

Social workers

* distinguish, appraise, and integrate multiple sources of knowledge, including  research-based knowledge, and practice wisdom;

* analyze models of assessment, prevention, intervention, and evaluation; and

* demonstrate effective oral and written communication in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and colleagues.

Educational Policy 2.1.4-Engage diversity and difference in practice.  Social workers understand how diversity characterizes and shapes the human experience and is critical to the formation of identity. The dimensions of diversity are understood as the intersectionality of multiple factors including age, class, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, immigration status, political ideology, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation. Social workers appreciate that, as a consequence of difference, a person's life experiences may include oppression, poverty, marginalization, and alienation as well as privilege, power, and acclaim.

Social workers

* recognize the extent to which a culture's structures and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create or enhance privilege and power;

* gain sufficient self-awareness to eliminate the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse groups;

* recognize and communicate their understanding of the importance of difference in shaping life experiences; &

* view themselves as learners and engage those with whom they work as informants.

Educational Policy 2.1.5-Advance human rights and social and economic justice. Each person, regardless of place in society, has basic human rights,(freedom, safety, privacy, an adequate standard of living, health care, & education.) SWers recognize a global flow of oppression and are knowledgeable about theories of justice and strategies to promote human and civil rights.

SW incorporates social justice practices in organizations, institutions, & society to ensure that basic human rights are  istributed equitably & without prejudice.

Social workers

* understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination;

* advocate for human rights and social and economic justice; &

* engage in practices that advance social and economic justice.

Educational Policy 2.1.6-Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.    Social workers use practice experience to inform research, employ evidence-based interventions, evaluate their own practice, and use research findings to improve practice, policy, and social service delivery.  Social workers comprehend quantitative and qualitative

research and understand scientific and ethical approaches to building knowledge.

Social workers

* use practice experience to inform scientific inquiry &

* use research evidence to inform practice.

Educational Policy 2.1.7-Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment. Social workers are knowledgeable about human behavior across the life course; the range of social systems in which people live; and the ways social systems promote or deter people in maintaining or achieving health and well-being. Social workers apply theories and knowledge from the liberal arts to understand biological, social, cultural, psychological, and spiritual development.

Social workers,

* utilize conceptual frameworks to guide the processes of assessment, intervention, and evaluation; &

* critique and apply knowledge to understand person and environment.

Educational Policy 2.1.8-Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services.   Social work practitioners understand that policy affects service delivery, and they actively engage in policy practice. Social workers know the history and current structures of social policies and services; the role of policy in service delivery; and the role of practice in policy development.

Social workers

* analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance social well-being; &

* collaborate with colleagues and clients for effective policy action.

Educational Policy 2.1.9-Respond to contexts that shape practice.  Social workers are informed, resourceful, and proactive in responding to evolving organizational, community, and societal contexts at all levels of practice. Social workers recognize that the context of practice is dynamic, and use knowledge and skill to respond proactively.


Social workers,

* continuously discover, appraise, and attend to changing locales, populations, scientific and technological developments, and emerging societal trends to provide relevant services; and

* provide leadership in promoting sustainable changes in service delivery and practice to improve the quality of social services.

Educational Policy 2.1.10(a)-(d)-Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Professional practice involves the dynamic & interactive processes of engagement, assessment, intervention, & evaluation at multiple levels. SWers have the knowledge and skills to practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Practice knowledge includes identifying, analyzing, and implementing evidence-based interventions designed to achieve client goals; using research and technological advances; evaluating program outcomes and practice effectiveness; developing, analyzing, advocating, and providing leadership for policies and services; & promoting social and

economic justice.

Educational Policy 2.1.10(a)-Engagement: 

Social workers,

* substantively and affectively prepare for action with individuals,families, groups, organizations, and communities;

* use empathy and other interpersonal skills; &

* develop a mutually agreed-on focus of work and desired outcomes.

Educational Policy 2.1.10(b)-Assessment:   

Social workers,

* collect, organize, and interpret client data;

* assess client strengths and limitations;

* develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives; and

* select appropriate intervention strategies.

Educational Policy 2.1.10(c)-Intervention: 

Social workers,

* initiate actions to achieve organizational goals;

* implement prevention interventions that enhance client capacities;

* help clients resolve problems;

* negotiate, mediate, and advocate for clients; and

* facilitate transitions and endings.

Educational Policy 2.1.10(d)-Evaluation Social workers critically analyze, monitor, and evaluate interventions.

Research is one of the key areas of social work education and practice that impacts all aspects of the Profession. 

Basic Guide to Program Evaluation

Evaluation Beginners Guide

What is Program Evaluation

Evaluation Question

Methods Overview

BG 4 surveys.pdf

BG 5 Observations.pdf

BG 6 Cause.pdf

Checklist for Program Evaluation.pdfBibliography:


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Last Updated:8/14/2011 12:32:28 PM