Overview of The Research Process

The Scientific Method

Researching should follow the scientific method. Research is a scientific endeavor that has direct practice implications. Due to this the scientific model ought to be utilized. The process of describing the variables and aspects of a study is known as overcapitalization. The first phase is looking at problem formulation. There are some concerns to look at in regards to the area of study.

  • The So What Factor: The study must have clear significance for social work in order for study to have merit
  • Feasibility: Is the study possible? Is it a practical? The researcher must factor in the time, cost, potential participant cooperation, etc of the study.
  • Ethical Constraints: The researcher must look into the ethical considerations in doing the research (the benefits must out weight the risks).
  • Relevant: The research should come from problems within social service agencies or practical problems regarding social welfare in general.
  • Applied Approach: The study needs to have a link to social work concerns (it's not just collecting data for the fun of it).
  • Implementation: The results are to be used to guide practice and or policy

Research Process

The process of research is as follows;
Phase 1: Problem Formulation

  • A question is posed and is progressively refined to become more meaningful and feasible
  • The unit of analysis (e.g. level or system size), hypotheses, research questions, and being operationally defined (working definition - "counting" the variables) are all concepts that are explained during phase 1.
  • Furthermore a literature review is to be conducted regarding previous related studies. The researcher ought to ask what did they find and look into the weaknesses of these studies.

Phase 2: Study Design

  • Decisions are to be made about planning the study.
  • Study procedures are to be created (e.g. sampling, measurement tools, analysis of the results.
  • The type of study design should be formulated.

Phase 3: Data Collection

  • Implementation of the study design
    Remember: differences between qualitative (flexible) and quantitative (rigid)

Phase 4: Data Processing

Phase 5: Data Analysis

Phase 6: Interpreting Findings

  • Discussion of findings
  • Exploring alternate explanations

Phase 7: Writing the Research Report (Must be APA Style)