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To what extent should social work practice be informed by social research?

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Part 1.
    1. Age at time of adoption.
    2. Inter-racial adoption.
    3. Special needs/disabled children.
  3. Part 2.
    1. A clear statement of the aims of the research.
    2. Aappropriate qualitative methodology.
    3. Appropriate research design to address the aims of the research.
    4. Appropriate recruitment strategy for the aims of the research.
    5. Collection of data in a way that addressed the research issue.
    6. The relationship between researcher and participants been adequately considered.
    7. Have ethical issues been taken into consideration?
    8. Was the data analysis sufficiently rigorous?
    9. A clear statement of findings.
    10. Value of the research.
  4. Part 3.
    1. Social work and a value base designed to support society's most vulnerable people.
    2. Research on child development.
    3. Evaluating research without evaluating theory.
  5. Conclusion.
  6. Bibliography.

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. [...]

[...] Given that much research is considered to carry flaws and, as Denscombe (2002) points out, is very much contested, the question we need to ask in social work is to what extent should our practice be informed by such findings? Payne (1997:22) recognises that new knowledge in social work is brought about by theory and research through social pressures on the political and community leaders', hence the fact that many changes in policy are influenced by research findings. This is very much evidenced in laws and guidance relating to work with children. [...]

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