This book is a practical beginner's guide to both conducting and using research within the context of social work practice. A clear and accessible introduction to applied research methods for social work students and practitioners, this text covers the key themes, debates and approaches, including:

  • The ethics of social work research
  • Conducting interviews and questionnaires
  • Focus groups
  • Observation and narrative
  • The involvement of service users
  • Analyzing data

With practical exercises and reflective questions, this is an essential text for undergraduate and graduate qualifying social work students.

What's Distinctive about Social Work Research?

What's distinctive about social work research?


This chapter will explore social work's knowledge base and the constellation of core values it draws on that predispose it towards enquiry that is both relationship-based and informed by a broader emancipatory mission. The questions ‘What is research?’ and whether there is a justification for practitioner research being seen as a valued perspective in its own right will be investigated. It is argued that, given the nature of social work practice, it is only to be expected that practitioners should seek research knowledge that both arises from, and reflects, the complexities of practice. It is also argued that practitioners themselves might contribute to this knowledge by engaging in research that can inform and influence ...

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