#4 Location In The Research Process Formulating Research Questions Previous Research Craft Knowledge Appropriate Design Appropriate Sampling Decisions Ensure Research Ethics Data Collection & Management Data Analysis Interpretation Dissemination Ongoing Research
Research Goals “What are my goals for this study?”
conducted to provide a beginning familiarity with a subject, rarely provides conclusive answers
conducted to understand general phenomena partially
conducted to achieve an in depth, understanding of very few subjects
researcher observes then carefully describes observations. Has different meaning depending on whether a quantitative vs. qualitative description
conducted to add knowledge about relationships between variables
conducted to answer “why” certain phenomena is observed
The local Juvenile Court Administrator wants to know if minority youth are disproportionally over represented at the detention center.
What type of research, descriptive, correlational, or explanatory, does this goal lead to?
Does the goal lead to a nomothetic or ideographic study?
Developing Research Questions
Broad research topics need to be narrowed down into usable research questions that are useful to address a practical social work problem.
Guiding criteria include:
Information needs of the agency
Relevance for guiding practice
Attributes of Research Questions
Narrow and worded as a question (Does the “Scared Straight program lead to less recidivism among juvenile offenders?”)
Can be answered by observable evidence
Does it address a practical problem in social welfare (the “so what” test)
Must have more than one acceptable answer
Review Existing Resources
Needs assessments and surveys
“ How will I construct my study to appropriately answer my research question?”
Identify and define the variables
Balance attaining the highest possible level of knowledge with the resources available
Questions vs. Hypotheses
Define your research goals in the form of a question (narrow, specific, and can be answered by observable evidence)
Clearly identify the type of research knowledge being sought
“ so what?” test
Describe the specific analyses that you will use
In the form of a statement
Spokane Mental Health wants to know if youth who are diagnosed with conduct disorder had previous CPS referrals at a rate that is higher than those who are not.
State your research problem in the form of a research question.
State at least one hypothesis that can be tested to answer the research question.