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Research Methods in Social Work

2 pages
541 words
Sewanee University of the South
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One of the main scopes of any given research is to seek answers to some of lifes puzzling questions (Smith, 2015). Researchers identify a problem in the society and marshal all the resources and time to identify solutions to the problem. There are two different ways through which researchers opt to conduct their research. They include qualitative and quantitative research methods (Bryman, 2015). While the two methods share a common goal of seeking answers to a particular problem, they are different in many aspects. Qualitative research methods are text-based and answers questions from a more subjective perspective (Rubin and Babbie, 2016). They describe problems from the perspective of those experiencing it. Unlike qualitative, the quantitative research methods are number-based and answer questions from a more objective position (Bowling, 2015). They describe problems from observed effects of a situation or program on the condition.

In my field as a social worker, there are instances that call for qualitative research method over quantitative. One of this situation is when inductive reasoning is required in the formulation and proving certain hypotheses or theories (Galanter et al., 2014). For instance, in an article titled Drug problems among homeless individuals in Toronto, Canada: prevalence, drugs of choice, and relation to health status by Grinman et al., (2010), it was found out that the drug and substance abuse is prevalent among the homeless people in Toronto. Therefore, a strong correlation exists between drug abusers and homelessness in Toronto. The research article can thus be termed as being qualitative because of its feature as a subjective paper based on the opinions of the interviews. The nature of people interviewed entails a group of people or individuals experiencing the problem or have seen someone in the case under study. Therefore, based on the features of the article, it is a qualitative research paper.

As a social worker who is committed to understand how social problems such as drugs and substance abuse affect the societal members, the qualitative research by Grinman et al., (2010) presents a good start for my literature review. It will give me the chance to relate the subject of drugs and substance abuse with some of the economic problems experienced in the society (Ibabe et al., 2014). Also, the study will offer a better platform and baseline to understand how drug problems correlate with mental and physical health status using statistical analyses tools such as regression analysis.



Bowling, A. (2014). Research methods in health: investigating health and health services. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

Bryman, A. (2015). Social research methods. Oxford university press.

Galanter, M., Kleber, H. D., & Brady, K. (Eds.). (2014). The American Psychiatric Publishing textbook of substance abuse treatment. American Psychiatric Pub.

Grinman, M. N., Chiu, S., Redelmeier, D. A., Levinson, W., Kiss, A., Tolomiczenko, G., ... & Hwang, S. W. (2010). Drug problems among homeless individuals in Toronto, Canada: prevalence, drugs of choice, and relation to health status. BMC Public Health, 10(1), 94, I., Stein, J. A., Nyamathi, A., & Bentler, P. M. (2014). Predictors of substance abuse treatment participation among homeless adults. Journal of substance abuse treatment, 46(3), 374-381.

Smith, J. A. (Ed.). (2015). Qualitative psychology: A practical guide to research methods. Sage.

Rubin, A., & Babbie, E. R. (2016). Empowerment series: Research methods for social work. Cengage Learning.


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