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.

Focus Groups

Focus groups


Focus groups have been described in a number of ways by people who see them from quite different perspectives, most noticeably contrasted in their uses within market research and social science research. Kitzinger, from the latter approach, describes focus groups as ‘a form of group interview that capitalises on communication between research participants in order to generate data’ (1995: 299). It is important here to note that a distinction is made between a group interview – which, while broadly the same, is perhaps best differentiated as a concurrent sequence of interviews with individuals in a group – and the focus group – which involves much more emphasis upon the group experience, the interaction between the participants and, as noted, the communication between ...

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