The importance of 'evidence based practice' in health and social work has been emphasised by recent policy and legislative initiatives, but how do professionals decide which research findings are valuable and relevant to them? This accessible introduction provides social work students and practitioners with the knowledge they need both to evaluate research and to apply it to their own practice.
Exploring the range of research methodologies used in health and social care, from randomised control trials to surveys, interviews, experimental designs and ethnographic approaches, Michael Sheppard discusses the strengths and limitations of each and shows the reader how to identify the assumptions underlying them.
Sheppard uses case examples from practice to demonstrate how research messages can be applied in a range of situations, from developing social services for ethnic minority groups to working with an individual suffering from mental illness. Each chapter includes exercises and questions to test the reader's understanding of key concepts in each chapter, as well as examples of research articles for guided discussion. Appraising and Using Social Research in the Human Services is both a core textbook for social work undergraduates and a useful resource for all trainers, practitioners, service managers and postqualifying students in health and social care.
Michael Sheppard is Professor of Social Work at the University of Plymouth and has been involved in professional education for nearly twenty years. A qualified social worker, he has specialised in mental health and child care in practice and has also worked as a psychiatric nurse. He has published widely in the field and is the author of Prevention and Coping in Child and Family Care, also published by Jessica Kingsley.
Preface. 1. Introduction. 2. Appraising and Using Social Research in the Human Services. 3. Some Key Issues in Appraising Social Research. 4. Questionnaire Design for Quantitative Research: Structured Instruments. 5. Surveys and Sampling. 6. Experimental and Quasi Experimental Designs. 7. The Qualitative Interview. 8. Ethnography and Practice. 9. Content Analysis and Grounded Theory. 10. Qualitative Evaluation. 11. Multimethod Research. 12. Afterword. Glossary of Key Terms in Social Research. References. Index.