Within this work I will be looking to examine the effectiveness of using research in social work practice. I have chosen to do this by reviewing both historic and current research on the outcomes of adoption. Part 1 will consist of a literature review, detailing research findings on this subject. Part 2 will examine one chosen piece of research in more detail and I will be considering this research using the CASP questionnaire. Part 3 will provide an account of how this chosen research could have been improved, offering a critique of the nature of social research and a discussion addressing the assignment question. Finally, I will conclude with a summary of the whole dissertation. Unlike many professional disciplines, social work practice is not able to derive its knowledge from specific social work theories and research, this being due to the lack of direct social work research findings and theoretical base. Therefore, it draws its knowledge from many different disciplines in the social science field.
[...] Social work is already largely informed by social research, through policies and guidelines. However, if used cautiously, it should inform our practice quite extensively. This dissertation has examined qualitative social research and its importance for social work. Using the research area of the ‘outcomes of adoption', this work has identified many historic and recent research findings. It has identified key areas of study in research and areas that are lacking in knowledge. A closer examination has been given to a single research paper, which has enabled an understanding of how research is always likely to carry ambiguities. [...]
[...] The paper acknowledges that the mothers were contacted and the study explained to them; it does not comment on how it was explained, what it would be used for or, more importantly, whether the child was spoken to and agreed to the observations. Blaxter et. al. (2005) recognises that social research, because of the close relationship formed between researcher and participants, is more likely to incur problems with ethical issues when using qualitative methods and that the goal of all social researchers should be to conduct ethically informed research. Ethical research ‘involves getting the informed consent of those you are going to interview, question, observe or take materials from' (Blaxter et. [...]
[...] Quantitative research is presented as statistical data, based upon the idea that what is studied in society should be considered as facts, therefore, each social fact is considered to be a single thing. Positivists carrying out quantitative research will look to find a correlation between facts to enable them to record the strength of relationship between them, therefore enabling them to produce numerical data based upon their findings. Sociologists who favour an interpretive approach would argue that quantitative methodology is inappropriate when dealing with human behaviour and that statistical data does not explain why certain behaviours occur; they favour qualitative research that allows the researcher to record the meaning behind events. [...]
[...] The challenge when answering the question what extent should social work practice be informed by social research' is a difficult one. Thompson (2000:9) acknowledges that . social workers need to draw on an extensive knowledge base in order to be equipped to meet the challenges of the work'. Jordon (1990, cited in Thompson 2000:11) suggests that, ‘whilst the law provides the framework' and ‘policy provides an interpretation', they are neither precise nor unambiguous, and they are open to interpretation. It is for this reason that the skilled judgement of social workers is required, in order to work with complex situations within the framework. [...]
[...] Social work practice is informed by research; therefore in order to demonstrate evidence based practice it is important to understand how the research you are using as evidence is evidenced itself. I will now attempt to answer the following ten CASP questions on the selected research study Was there a clear statement of the aims of the research? The aims of this research were not set out clearly. It would have benefited the reader if the researcher had presented the aims more clearly in a headed / sub-headed section. [...]
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