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 over capitalization. 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
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)