Social service agencies are facing the same expectations in quality management and outcomes as private companies, compelling staff members and researchers to provide and interpret valid and useful research to stakeholders at all levels in the field. Child welfare agencies are particularly scrutinized. In this textbook, two highly experienced researchers offer the best techniques for conducting sound research in the field. Covering not only the methodological challenges but also the real-life constraints of research in child welfare settings, Amy J. L. Baker and Benjamin J. Charvat present a volume that can be used both for general research methods and as a practical guide for conducting research in the field of child welfare. Baker and Charvat devote an entire chapter to ethical issues involved in researching children and their families and the limits of confidentiality within this population. They weave a discussion of ethics throughout the book, and each chapter begins with a scenario that presents a question or problem to work through, enabling readers to fully grasp the methods in the context of a specific setting or area of concern.
Special sections concentrate on the value of continuous quality-improvement activities, which enable the collection and analysis of data outside of the strictures of publishable research, and the implementation of program evaluations, which can be helpful in obtaining further research and programmatic funding.
Amy J. L. Baker is director of research at the Vincent J. Fontana Center for Child Protection at the New York Foundling and the author of Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties That Bind (2007), which was featured in the New York Times. She is the author or coauthor of more than seventy peer-reviewed publications and five other books. Her website is www.amyjlbaker.com. Benjamin S. Charvat is a senior program manager at the New York City Department of Education and adjunct assistant professor at the NYU Silver School of Social Work. For more than a decade, he has taught research methods, program evaluation, and advanced social policy in children and families.
List of Figures List of Tables Foreword, by Christine James-Brown Acknowledgments 1. Introduction to Child Welfare Research Part 1. Planning and Developing Research Studies 2. The Philosophy and Logic of Research 3. Ethical Considerations 4. Problem Formulation 5. Sampling Theory Part 2. Design Strategies 6. Single-System Design 7. Group Designs 8. Using Existing Data Part 3. Measurement Strategies 9. Measurement Theory and Measure Selection 10. Surveys 11. Case Studies 12. Focus Groups 13. In-Depth Interviews Part 4. Data Analysis and Writing Up and Sharing Research Results 14. Data Analysis Techniques 15. Dissemination of Research Findings Part 5. Special Topics in Agency Practice 16. Continuous Quality Improvement in Agency Practice 17. Agency-Based Program Evaluation 18. Final Thoughts Classroom Discussion and Activities Glossary 1. Social Science Research Methods Terms Glossary 2. Child Welfare Practice and Policy Terms References Index