Read more about Graduate research methods in social work

Graduate research methods in social work

(1 review)

Matt DeCarlo, La Salle University

Cory Cummings, Nazareth University

Kate Agnelli, Virginia Commonwealth University

Copyright Year: 2021

ISBN 13: 9781949373219

Publisher: Open Social Work Education

Language: English

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Reviewed by Elisa Maroney, Professor, Western Oregon University on 1/2/22

With well over 800 pages, this text is beyond comprehensive! read more

Table of Contents

  • Part 1: Introduction to research
    • 1. Science and social work
    • 2. Starting your research project
    • 3. Searching the literature
    • 4. Critical information literacy
    • 5. Writing your literature review
  • Part 2: Conceptualizing your research project
    • 6. Research ethics
    • 7. Theory and paradigm
    • 8. Reasoning and causality
    • 9. Writing your research question
  • Part 3: Using quantitative methods
    • 10. Quantitative sampling
    • 11. Quantitative measurement
    • 12. Survey design
    • 13. Experimental design
    • 14. Univariate analysis
    • 15. Bivariate analysis
    • 16. Reporting quantitative results
  • Part 4: Using qualitative methods
    • 17. Qualitative data and sampling
    • 18. Qualitative data collection
    • 19. A survey of approaches to qualitative data analysis
    • 20. Quality in qualitative studies: Rigor in research design
    • 21. Qualitative research dissemination
    • 22. A survey of qualitative designs
  • Part 5: Research in practice
    • 23. Program evaluation
    • 24. Sharing and consuming research

Ancillary Material

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  • About the Book

    We designed our book to help graduate social work students through every step of the research process, from conceptualization to dissemination. Our textbook centers cultural humility, information literacy, pragmatism, and an equal emphasis on quantitative and qualitative methods. It includes extensive content on literature reviews, cultural bias and respectfulness, and qualitative methods, in contrast to traditionally used commercial textbooks in social work research.  

    Our author team spans across academic, public, and nonprofit social work research. We love research, and we endeavored through our book to make research more engaging, less painful, and easier to understand. Our textbook exercises direct students to apply content as they are reading the book to an original research project. By breaking it down step-by-step, writing in approachable language, as well as using stories from our life, practice, and research experience, our textbook helps professors overcome students’ research methods anxiety and antipathy.  

    If you decide to adopt our resource, we ask that you complete this short Adopter’s Survey that helps us keep track of our community impact. You can also contact for a student workbook, homework assignments, slideshows, a draft bank of quiz questions, and a course calendar. 

    About the Contributors


    Matt DeCarlo, PhD, MSW is an assistant professor in the Department of Social Work at La Salle University. He is the co-founder of Open Social Work (formerly Open Social Work Education), a collaborative project focusing on open education, open science, and open access in social work and higher education. His first open textbook, Scientific Inquiry in Social Work, was the first developed for social work education, and is now in use in over 60 campuses, mostly in the United States. He is a former OER Research Fellow with the OpenEd Group. Prior to his work in OER, Dr. DeCarlo received his PhD from Virginia Commonwealth University and has published on disability policy.

    Cory Cummings, Ph.D., LCSW is an assistant professor in the Department of Social Work at Nazareth University. He has practice experience in community mental health, including clinical practice and administration. In addition, Dr. Cummings has volunteered at safety net mental health services agencies and provided support services for individuals and families affected by HIV. In his current position, Dr. Cummings teaches in the BSW program and MSW programs; specifically in the Clinical Practice with Children and Families concentration. Courses that he teaches include research, social work practice, and clinical field seminar. His scholarship focuses on promoting health equity for individuals experiencing symptoms of severe mental illness and improving opportunities to increase quality of life. Dr. Cummings received his PhD from Virginia Commonwealth University.

    Kate Agnelli, MSW, is an adjunct professor at VCU’s School of Social Work, teaching masters-level classes on research methods, public policy, and social justice. She also works as a senior legislative analyst with the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC), a policy research organization reporting to the Virginia General Assembly. Before working for JLARC, Ms. Agnelli worked for several years in government and nonprofit research and program evaluation. In addition, she has several publications in peer-reviewed journals, has presented at national social work conferences, and has served as a reviewer for Social Work Education. She received her MSW from Virginia Commonwealth University.

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