Standard 23

Research

Candidates demonstrate knowledge of and skills in completing the essential steps and processes of research, with particular attention to: problem formulation based on theory and previous research, issues related to assessment and measurement, the logic of research design, data collection and analysis, and the appropriate interpretation of the results upon which the conclusions are based. Candidates demonstrate the ability to access and critically analyze research related to schools and communities.

Introduction

Candidates for the PPS credential in school social work demonstrate knowledge and skills in completing the primary steps and processes of research. These steps include problem formulation, assessment and measurement, research design, data collection and analysis, and interpretation of results. Students gain knowledge and experience in research via a number of learning mechanisms: classroom lectures and discussion; class assignments; field practicum; evaluation of practice; and the completion of a master’s thesis or project. They also demonstrate the ability to access and critically analyze school and community research. The classes which provide specific content on research and its application to the school setting are depicted in Matrix 23-1.

Demonstrate knowledge of and skills in completing research

Increasingly, social workers are being called upon to be accountable for their professional endeavors. This requires the utilization of social research findings in developing programs and the application of such findings to service delivery. It also includes the ability to empirically evaluate practice outcomes. Additionally, social workers need to be able to use systematic processes in contributing to the development of professional knowledge. This is especially true in the public schools where funding for support services is often low and public scrutiny for effectiveness is high.

PPS candidates gain a solid knowledge base for social research in two foundation practice courses, S Wrk 260, Quantitative Social Work Research, and S Wrk 261, Qualitative Social Work Research. These courses prepare students to carry out the following steps in social work research: problem formulation and conceptualization; measurement; design; sampling; data collection; statistical analysis; and, interpretation of results. For example, see the following assignment from S Wrk 261, Data collection exercises.Research design is presented with careful attention to the relationship of research purpose to design and the appropriate application of various design strategies such as single subject and experimental studies. Quantitative and qualitative methods are examined in the respective course and differentiated to maximize appropriate selection of research design to the purpose of the research. Limitations, which occur as a result of design and sampling methods, are addressed.

S Wrk 260 and S Wrk 261 also present content on assessment and measurement in social research. Levels of measurement are examined as well as issues of reliability and validity of these measures. For example, see the S Wrk 260 unit on Measurement.

Methods for assessing reliability and validity are also taught in this course. MSW and PPS students are required to complete coursework on statistics as a prerequisite to the program. Application of this knowledge occurs in S Wrk 292, Seminar in Project/Thesis and in the completion of the master’s project or thesis; S Wrk 298/299.

There are several mechanisms through which students have the opportunity to put into practice the knowledge base for social research learned in the research classes. First, students enroll in S Wrk 292, Project/Thesis Seminar, to apply their research knowledge to the development of a formal proposal for the project or thesis.

In the final semester, students complete a master’s project (S Wrk 298) or a master’s thesis (S Wrk 299). A project or thesis must evidence originality and independent thinking, appropriate form and organization, and a rationale. It must be described in written form and summarized in an abstract that highlights the significance, objectives, methodology and conclusions or recommendations of the research. Although it is not required, students are encouraged and may conduct their research in their field study setting. Thus, PPS credential candidates have the opportunity to conduct formal research in the school setting.

Another means by which candidates practice research is in the field practicum, S Wrk 280/281 and S Wrk 282/283. Students participate in various components of agency-based research such as needs assessment, grant writing, program development and evaluation of practice. All students are required to complete assignments for evaluation of their social work practice as outlined in the learning agreement for each of the four semesters of field practicum. See the S Wrk 282 learning agreement section on Evaluation ofPractice. PPS candidates have the opportunity to gain specific research practice experience in the school setting. Concurrent enrollment in S Wrk 274 and S Wrk 275, Advanced School Social Work Practice in Schools I and II, provides specialized curriculum content on research in the schools and relevant research findings that pertain to effective and culturally competent social work practice in the schools. In S Wrk 274, candidates develop a School Social Work Service Plan that includes practice objectives and measures to evaluate accomplishment of the objectives. In S Wrk 275, the final assignment is an End-of-YearReport in which the outcomes of the plan are reported, analyzed and interpreted.

Ability to access and critically analyze school and community research

All courses in the MSW and PPS program require candidates to read professional social research and analyze the findings for application to practice. Each course syllabi lists assigned readings and has additional recommended readings in an attached bibliography. These readings include research articles from various professional sources. Candidates also complete research papers for most graduate courses, which require a review of the literature, selection of relevant research articles, analysis of the research results and application of the findings to the written assignment.

Both of the school social work courses, S Wrk 274 and S Wrk 275, expose candidates to a wealth of research on social work practice in schools. Students have weekly reading assignments, which include research articles from professional journals concerned with social work practice with children, schools and the community. For example, see the course content for week 15 in S Wrk 274 on Striving for EqualEducational Opportunity. Class lectures, discussions, and assignments provide a forum for analyzing school and community research and applying it to practice. In keeping with the mission of the program and the value orientation of the professional, assigned research reflects the diverse needs of pupils and families. There is special emphasis on developing knowledge of those who experience school differently than others as a result of cultural diversity. Course topics, readings and discussions reflect this emphasis and include important areas such as gender, disability, poverty, sexual orientation and ethnicity.

DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WORK EDUCATION
PPS CREDENTIAL PROGRAM

MATRIX 23-1

STANDARD #23

 

Policy

HBSE

Practice

Field

Research

School Social Work

CWA

Research

200, 203

212, 213

220, 221 224, 225 227, 246 247

280/ 281 282/283

260, 261 292 298/299

274 275

274 275

Factors to consider:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Demonstrate knowledge and skills in completing research

 

 

 

280,281 282, 283

260, 261 292 298/299

274 275

 

Ability to access and critically analyze school and community research

200, 203

212, 213

220, 221 224, 225 227, 246 247

280,281 282, 283

260, 261 292 298/299

274 275

 

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