Summary of social work graduate programs prepared by Melissa C.F. Becker, MSW, September 2000
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Foundation Research


Social Welfare Research sequence description:

An interest in research, knowledge of research methods and the ability to apply them effectively, and familiarity with pertinent research of others are essential parts of the professional equipment of every social worker. This sequence consists of an introductory course in research methodology and an advanced research methods course that deals with a specific problem within a student’s area of specialization. The research sequence enables students to understand the role of research in problem-solving and in the prevention, treatment and control of social problems. Students are expected to develop a capacity to undertake or participate in studies and to evaluate and apply the results of research to social work practice. Students also are expected to develop a basic proficiency in the use of microcomputers. 

Social Welfare Research courses:

280. Social Welfare Research: Lecture, three hours; outside study, six hours. Sources, nature, and uses of social work theory and research-based knowledge and of broader social data relevant to social welfare activities. Critical analysis of major methods of developing scientific knowledge.

281A-281B-281C. Advanced Social Welfare Research: Individual or group research projects requiring intensive examination and analysis of a social problem area, directed toward development of research knowledge and techniques for social work practice.

285A-285B-285C. Research in Social Welfare: Review of areas of research of concern to social workers, with special attention to design, instrument construction, data collection, data processing, data reduction, analysis, and interpretation. Designs studied include survey, panel, experimental observation, and theory development research.

286A. Survey of Research Methods: Discussion, four hours. Basic concepts underlying research methods. Content includes theoretical and conceptual approaches to research problem formulation; research design, including experimental, comparative, and survey; sampling; statistical methods; methods of observation and techniques of data analysis.

286B. Advanced Research Methods: Discussion, four hours. Advanced concepts underlying research methods. Continuing study of theoretical and conceptual approaches to research problem formulation; research design, including experimental, comparative, and survey; sampling; statistical methods; methods of observation and techniques of data analysis.

286C. Research Internship: Discussion, 4 hours. Supervised study and training through participation in on-going research project or one initiated by students and carried out under faculty supervision, enabling students to apply research skills developed in prior courses.



SWGS 6801. Social Work Practice in Research I: This is the first of a two-course sequence that culminates in the completion of a research project and presentation of a research report. This course introduces students to social work research and focuses on various phases of the scientific method from the preparation of a research proposal to the point of data collection. Research approaches to problems in practice, as well as theory development, are related to a student's field experience. Concurrent field practice required; reduced field instruction students are exempt from concurrent field requirement.

SWGS 6802. Social Work Practice in Research II: In this second course in the foundation research sequence, students implement their proposed research projects. The course includes content on data collection and analysis, how to interpret the theoretical and practical meaning of findings for social work practice, and how to report on and present data. Basic computer skills and statistical concepts (SPSS) are presented through "hands on" training in the computer laboratory. Prerequisite: SWGS 6801; concurrent field practice required; field instruction students are exempt from concurrent field requirement.



609. Foundations of Research in Social Work Practice: Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Introduces the methods of social work research and the roles of the social worker as consumer and scientist/practitioner, including problem formulation, research designs, measurement, data collection, and sampling. Focuses on the application of critical thinking skills and research methods of clinical social work practice effectiveness research, the evaluation of social work programs and services, and developing the knowledge base for social work practice.

611. Social Work Research for Advanced Standing Students: 2 credits. Prerequisites: Admission to the Advanced Standing Program; concurrent enrollment in SLW 607, 608, 612. Reviews approaches to scientific inquiry in the development of knowledge for social work practice: problem formulation; concepts and operational definitions; measurement validity and reliability; selected social work research designs; planned data collection strategies and procedures.


Georgia State

SW 7300. Methods of Community Research: This course provides an overview of research methodology and its application to valuation of social work practice in the community. The course will emphasize critical thinking and how to draw proper inferences from data. Both qualitative and quantitative methods will be reviewed. Statistical techniques used in single subject design through evaluation research will be presented.



SWK 4501/4502. SOCIAL WORK RESEARCH I & II: Upon completion of the qualitative and quantitative course (SWK 4501/4502), students will have the skills necessary to critically assess the majority of practice relevant research articles.  With this knowledge, students will be prepared to adapt to the changing work environment through the adoption of evidence-based interventions, services and policies. 

SWK 4501. Qualitative Research Course: Social workers are constantly striving to understand their clients and communities. This first module of the course provides students with the tools to explore how people make meaning of their worlds.  This will enable students to effectively plan and develop appropriate social work services, interventions, and policies.  With increased consume knowledge, changes in the urban population of Toronto, changing practice modalities, now organizational systems and approaches, it is critical for practitioners and policy makers to learn how to challenge their assumptions about the world and explore others’ realities.  This course is designed to teach student how to make inroads toward this end through learning how to conduct qualitative interviewing from an interpretive and constructivist perspective and how to critically appraise qualitative interviewing studies.

The second module addresses:  a) phenomenological knowledge, or knowledge as lived experience, and b) discursive knowledge, or knowledge for deconstructing social representations and for considering alternatives.  In between the two stands narrative-knowledge.


SWK 4502. Quantitative Research Course: The focus of study in the first module will be experimental designs.  These designs are best used in confirmatory research studies where the area under study is well developed, there are several theories to guide the research and testable hypotheses can be formulated.  These designs attempt to establish causal relationships between the social work intervention and outcome.

The second module focuses on survey methods, sampling and statistical analysis.  Surveys are a commonly used research design to assess the prevalence of problems, needs in a community or a client population, utilization patterns and consumer satisfaction.  Sampling and statistical techniques relevant to both surveys and experimental design will also be covered.  The statistical techniques will be taught on a more conceptual rather than numerically intensive basis.

SWK 4670. Practice-Research Theory Seminar: The objective of this course is to help students integrate practice theory and research into their field practicum experience.  Goals for practice-theory integration include a) conceptual thinking and discussion of assessment models and theoretical concepts/approaches related to the student’s practicum learning (i.e. direct or indirect work with/behalf of clients/issues) and b) demonstration of a connection between assessment and intervention. Goals for practice-research integration include: a) selecting and applying appropriate evaluation methods for the individual student’s work with/on behalf of clients/issues and b) analyzing data/outcomes. An attempt will be made to standardize the format and weighting for assignments across sections and will likely include a written paper, class presentation, and class participation. The teaching material and assignment content will likely vary across sections to accommodate the composition of the students’ practica arrangements.



407-615B. Current Research in SW: This is a research course for clinical social work practitioners which includes research design and analysis with small samples, for applied clinical research and service evaluation. Attention is given to empirical measures for client assessment and treatment outcomes. Professional and ethical issues in applied clinical research are reviewed.

407-633A. Program Evaluation: The theoretical and practical problems involved in evaluating the impact of social work services and social welfare programs. Topics include goal definition, comparison of experimental and non-experimental designs, data sources, qualitative and quantitative approaches, and outcome measures.

407-643B. Quantitative Research Methods: A comparative review of the research methods and data sources that are used in social work and social welfare, with consideration of the statistical methods and computer programs that are appropriate for each. Topics will include experimental and non-experimental designs, questionnaire construction, data analysis and reporting research.

407-653A. Qualitative Research Methods: Qualitative methodologies concerned with description and interpretation of social phenomena, including participant observation, structured and unstructured interviewing. Student research projects will form the basis for class discussion.



553. Quantitative Methods in Social Work Research: An overview of research questions and designs in Social Work that are addressed using quantitative methods.

554. Qualitative Methods in Social Work Research: An overview of research questions and designs in Social Work that are addressed using qualitative methods. The focus is on developing a theoretical understanding of qualitative methodology, designing a research study and the opportunity to apply this understanding through the implementation of the proposed study.



SW 8101. Introduction to Research: Introduction to social science research and its applications to social work and social welfare.

SW 8102. Advanced Research. (SP—8101 or admission to advanced standing MSW program): Application of social science knowledge and skills to evaluate practice and to conduct community-based research and program evaluation projects.

SW 8103. Project Seminar I. (SP—8102): Application of research knowledge and skills to beginning stages of students' master's research paper (Plan B). Issues addressed: topic selection, literature reviews, formulation of research questions/hypothesis, data gathering instruments, methods of data analysis, proposal development.

SW 8104. Project Seminar II. (SP—8103): Application of research knowledge and skills to final stages of master's research project. Data collection and analysis procedures applied to the Plan B paper.



Courses: Intro to Research I; Social Work Research II (both foundation year).

Research in Social Work curriculum description:

The research curriculum is designed to foster students' understanding and appreciation of a scientific, analytical approach to evaluating clinical, programmatic, and policy interventions. The goal is to prepare students for the role of "practitioner-researcher." A practitioner-researcher applies research concepts, methods, and findings to inform practice and is capable of adding to the knowledge base of the profession.

The curriculum examines both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Emphasis is placed on the appropriateness and importance of both methods of inquiry to social work practice. Critical discussion is also undertaken regarding ethical standards in the conduct of research on human subjects, the importance of culturally sensitive research, and the role of research in combating or perpetuating stereotypes, discrimination, and oppression.

In the master's degree curriculum, six credits are required in research. The program consists of a one-semester, three-credit introductory research methodology course, SSW SR 743, followed by a one-semester, three-credit data analysis course, SSW SR 744.



Courses: SSW 751. Social Work Research I; and SSW 752. Social Work Research II: Clinical Uses of Research.



420. Introduction to Social Research: An introduction to the philosophy, concepts, principles, and methods of empirical research in the social and behavioral sciences, with the primary aim of developing competence in the critical assessment of published research.

557. Social Program Evaluation (Prerequisite: S.A. 420): An introduction to the philosophy, principles, types, and methods of program evaluation in the social welfare arena.


New Mexico State

MSW 560. Social Work Research: Principal methods of research used in social work practice. Focuses on program evaluation, needs assessments and evaluation of individual practice. Required. Prerequisite: majors or consent of instructor.

MSW 561. Family Preservation Research Seminar I: Independent research directly related to family preservation in multicultural settings: question/problem definition, sampling, and design. Required for nonthesis option. Restricted to MSW students.

MSW 562. Family Preservation Research Seminar II: Continuation of MSW 561. Final steps of research project: instrumentation, data collection, analysis and implications. Required for nonthesis option. Prerequisite: MSW 561. Restricted to majors.



SOWK 6301. Research I: Basic Research Methods: Presents the basic concepts of social work research. It prepares students who are unfamiliar with social or behavioral science research to understand the content taught in subsequent research courses. The course also supports the generalist model of practice of the first-year foundation curriculum.

SOWK 6302. Research II: Intervention Research: This is the second of two required research courses designed to give students a foundation in evaluating social programs and practice. This course extends the content of Social Work Research I by emphasizing qualitative methodologies and program evaluation techniques/strategies for evaluating need, effort, outcome, efficiency, and impact of the delivery of public and private social services. The course supports the generalist model of practice by providing students with a core framework for more advanced qualitative and evaluative research practice during their second year of course work.



SWK 755. Research Methods I: This course is the first of a required two-course sequence designed to introduce the student to the process of research beginning with topic choice and covering methodological approaches such as surveys and single case design, data collection, ethics and politics of research, and unique problems of research in social work settings. During this course, students will select and develop a topic for their second year special project. 

SWK 756. Data Analysis: The second semester in the foundation research sequence focuses on statistical and qualitative tools that provide the student and professional social worker with the means for evaluating practice and programs. Descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, and qualitative techniques of analysis will be the focus of this course. The student will be introduced to computer technology and its use for data analysis, using software packages such as the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences for the personal computer (SPSS/PC+), and "The Ethnographer" software for analysis of qualitative data. Prerequisite: SWK 755. 



SW 570. Program Evaluation (elective): Models of program evaluation, organizational context of evaluation and relationship to treatment, supervisory, and managerial functions in human service organizations. Focuses on the process of conducting a program evaluation, with emphasis on data analysis. Computerized data base management models reviewed in relation to evaluation activities. Prerequisite: SW 550. Satisfies requirement for SW 501.

SW 501. Data Analysis in Social Work Research: Focuses on advanced techniques of qualitative and quantitative data analysis/ interpretation for social work practice and program evaluation. Emphasis on comparing, contrasting, and combining these processes of social research, including conceptualization, operationalization and measurement, sampling, data collection, data analysis, probability, and descriptive and inferential statistics. Introduction to the production of research through secondary analysis and/or original research. Prerequisite: SW 550.

SW 550. Foundation of Social Work Research: Introduction to research in social work. Stresses the importance of research to social work practice and policy. Introduction to qualitative and quantitative social work research, group designs, single case studies, and evaluation of programs and of practice. Introduction to critical consumption of research, to ethics of social work research. Considers scientific method, systematic inquiry, relation of theory to research, problem formulation, measurement, sampling, design, and data collection.


Eastern Washington

525. Social Work Research I: Methods Related to Program & Practice Evaluation: An overview of methods and procedures necessary for conducting scientific research in social welfare and social work. Attention is given to research designs for assessing social work practice with small systems and evaluating social welfare programs. This course will take the student through the logical sequence of steps constituting scientific research to the point of data entry into the computer. The research projects are related to the student's practicum. 

526. Social Work Research II: Statistical Analysis of Data Using Computers: Continues program and case evaluation research projects by collecting and analyzing data and disseminating results. Implementation of the logic of experimental research design in an actual single case evaluation. Program evaluation involves both exploratory and confirmatory phases in the statistical analysis of data. Work with real data involved in student projects to understand statistical concepts, introductory data analysis, and uses of statistical computer packages. 



SW 715. Introduction to Social Work Research: This course presents the broad range of research tools that are available to social workers for use in improving both the effectiveness and efficiency of their practice. It emphasizes the process of theory development, conceptualization, and hypothesis formulation across a broad spectrum of social work practice situations. The course includes methodological considerations relating to concept operationalization, research design (experimental, survey, and field), sampling instrumentation, methods of data collection and analysis, as well as report preparation and dissemination. The contributions of social work research in helping to better understand and impact more effectively upon problems of racism and sexism in contemporary American society are a major theme.



Foundations of Social Work Research.


Wayne State

2 foundation research courses.



380/381. Social Work Research Methods (Introductory): This two-term required course will introduce students to qualitative and quantitative research methods pertinent to social work. Principles of research methodology will be emphasized. This course constitutes foundation content in the Research Sequence. The emphasis in the first term will be on research designs, sampling, and data collection methods. Emphasis in the second term will be on the presentation, analysis, and interpretation of the data. The importance of knowledge development for the profession is emphasized throughout. In addition to a research methods text, recent studies drawn from social work literature will be read and discussed. Course objectives will be met through activities in the classroom and through individual written assignments in which students apply research knowledge and skills in an area of social work which interests them. Required course second summer for students with little prior research background.

382/383. Social Work Research Methods (Intermediate): This two-term required course, designed for students with some prior course and/or work experience in research, constitutes foundation content in the Research Sequence. The course surveys qualitative and quantitative research methods pertinent to social work. The emphasis in the first term will be on research designs, sampling, and data collection methods. Emphasis in the second term will be on the presentation, analysis, and interpretation of the data. The importance of knowledge development for the profession is emphasized throughout. As an intermediate section, some prior knowledge of research methods is assumed. Emphasis will be on review, consolidation, and application of knowledge as well as on developing a social work perspective on research. Course objectives will be met through activities in the classroom and through individual written assignments in which students apply research knowledge and skills in an area of social work which interests them. Required course second summer for students with some prior research courses and experiences, taken instead of 380/381.

384/385. Social Work Methods (Advanced): This individually designed course of study reviews the philosophy and methods of social work research and acquaints students with current issues and controversies in the field. Emphasis will be on developing a social work perspective on research and on enabling students to lay the groundwork for the thesis project. The format of the course will be independent study or a seminar, depending on enrollment. Required course second summer for students with extensive prior research study and experience, taken instead of 380/381 or 382/383.



Research Methods in Social Work; Data Analysis for Social Workers.


George Warren Brown

Analysis of Practice.



Social Work Research: Scientific principles basic to social work research, critical analysis of actual research reports, and study of the logic of selected statistical concepts. Attention to social work research and its relation to social work practice.



280. Introduction to Social Welfare Research: One two-hour lecture and one 1-hour discussion section per week. An introduction to the theory and practice of research in social welfare.

282A, 282B. Seminar in Social Welfare Research: One 2-hour seminar per week. Prerequisite: 280. Problem formulation, design, and implementation.



SSA 302. Social Intervention: Research and Evaluation. This course focuses on the generation, analysis, and use of data and information relevant to decision making at the case, program, and policy levels. Students learn and develop skill in the collection, analysis, and use of data related to fundamental aspects of social work practice: problem assessment and definition; intervention formulation, implementation, refinement; and evaluation. The course covers specification and measurement of various practice and social science concepts, sampling methods, data collection strategies, and statistical and graphical approaches to data analysis. Concepts discussed in the course are elaborated upon and practiced in a weekly lab. Students with strong research skills and education may take an examination to waive out of the course.


Case Western Reserve

Introduction to Social Research.



Social Work Research: Introduction to research methods, including conceptualization of research problems, literature review, research design, sampling, measurement, data collection and data analysis.



Social Work Research Methods: Introductory course designed to develop student’s understanding of the process of research and of the use of scientific method in social work practice.



Basic Social Work Research: This course will provide content on the logic of inquiry and the necessity for an empirical approach to practice. The process of formulating appropriate research questions and hypotheses, techniques for testing relationships and patterns among variables, methods of data collection, methods to assess and improve the validity and reliability of data and measures, and the ethics of scientific inquiry will be addressed. This course will help students understand practice through the critical examination of methods associated with decision making, critical thinking, and ethical judgment. The course content will integrate the core themes related to multiculturalism and diversity; social justice and social change; promotion, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation; and behavioral and social science research.



Introduction to Research Methodology: Introduces students to the overall scientific approach, from ethical issues and problem formulation through hypotheses, causality, research designs, conceptualization, operationalization, measurement, data collection, and analysis.



650. Methods of Social Work Research: Social research and problems of project design and programming. Distinctive characteristics of investigations directed to planning, administrative, and scientific objectives.

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This page posted September 23, 2000