Role of Research in Social Work Research Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Role of Research in Social Work

Research assists in placing social work in its changing political and social context. This implies the ability to define social work's current environment in terms of dynamics like society and politics. Research assists in establishing a knowledge base and professional status of social work, for example it assisted in establishing evidence-based practice. Research also assists in analyzing population-based research that identifies people at risk in social work (Leece & Leece, 2010). This is because is assists social workers to understand clients in their social contexts, give voice to clients. Overall, research provides epistemological and value issues that define the nature and purpose of social work.

Social Worker's need to understand research

The main reason social workers need to understand research is to understand effective use of scientific evidence on the social services they offer to clients. Research assists the social worker to investigate social services and gain an understanding of the effects of the services or the need for alternative services. Proper understanding and use of research assist in realizing basic social work values like compassion and caring. Understanding research enables a social worker evaluate the treatment they give clients, and analyze the results of the treatment. Understanding research also allows the social worker select the best method that applies to the social service they are offering.

3. Using research in my social work

In my social work, I will use the concept of exploratory analysis of previous research in social work to draw examples on social work interventions and their effect. This is necessary in situations where a primary research cannot be carried out due to lack of time. Analysis of previous studies can offer understanding of the positive and negative outcome of a specific social work service. Secondly, I would use research to gather information on target population in need for services. This will gather demographic data like number of persons in need, age, social, health, environmental, and economic factors affecting them. This assists in defining the target group and allocating the best intervention measure to assist them. The continuous use of research in social work will build a knowledge base, which will improve my skills and profession. This knowledge will assist me in defining social work practice; enhance my effectiveness in interventions, and accountability. This is because research can generate new knowledge that provides new ideas and theories that further enhance the effectiveness of my social services. Moreover, I will use research when building the base of social programs and policies, which affect any group of population. I will also use research to evaluate the macro system or the agency's effectiveness on service delivery. Apart from analyzing service delivery to groups and individuals, research can evaluate or assess the competence of social agencies.

Part II: Regnerus, M. (2012). How Different are the Adult Children of Parents who have same-sex Relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study. Social Science Research, ELSEVIER, 41, 752-770.

1. Type of research

The study uses the exploratory type of research method. This is because the researcher explores a social phenomenon that builds the background information for the explanatory research. The research explores how young-adult children of parents of same-sex relationships fare in 40 different social, emotional, and relational outcome variables, compared to six family types. The research uses variables from the New Family Structures Study (NFSS), which is a national data collection survey of random 18-39 American young adults raised from different family arrangements. The study first explores variables from different studies on same-sex parenting, and their effect on parenting.

2. Research Problem

The research problem is well defined and clear. Regnerus (2012) begins by defining the research problem as, the key concern for public policy is the establishment of the well being of children in marriage and families. The study identifies that the challenge for legislatures is setting the legal boundaries of marriage and adoption rights, especially in terms of the effects of the different family structures on children. The study identifies that the challenge is the determination of the effect of family factors like number of parents present and active, genetic relationships with children, marital status, gender distinctions or similarities, number of transitions in household on the development of a child.

3. Hypothesis

a. The first hypothesis is that "a two parent household offers stability and social benefits necessary in a child's development of growing up as compared to same-sex families." This is drawn from a review of literature in the same field that found that two-parent married households were important in the development of a child as compared to adoptive parent, single mother, cohabiting couples, and ex-spouses households.

b. Same-sex married households are not suitable for the effective development of a child for they fail to provide domains like behavior problems, education, emotional well being, due to the fragility and instability of the relationship. The study uses studies from the American Sociological Review that show differences in children from same-sex and heterosexual households were present, but did not differ as much as sociologists would expect. The study shows the need to test this hypothesis since some studies identify advantages for same-sex married households for child development.

4. Methodology

Regnerus (2012) uses ethnographic survey carried out by the NFSS. The survey sent telephone and mail surveys to a randomly selected population using Knowledge Networks, a research firm.

5. The population and sampling method

The research uses the population sample from the NFSS of gay, lesbian, and heterosexual adoptive parents. Regnerus (2012), using the National Center for Marriage and Family Research (2010) that there was an approximate 580,000 same-sex households. From these 17% had children, and from this point set out to create a population-based sampling strategy. It is for this reason that Regnerus (2012) used the sample size given by NFSS, since is includes minority and other groups in the population. The NFSS left the screener survey in the population for several months between July 2011 and February 2012, to allow the panelists to screen and add population groups. In the end, their screening led to a sample population of 1.7% Americans between 18 and 39 whose parents are in a same-sex relationship. This figure had a range of 1% to 12%. The sampling method and sample size was appropriate, since the NFSS is a national survey project that uses a team from leading family researchers in demography, sociology, and human development from different universities across the U.S. Therefore, the sampling method is tested and developed by a project team consisting of experts in the field.

6. Validity and reliability concerns

The research found from the review of literature that there were no differences between children from same-sex families and those from other forms of families. To indicates potential problems for the study's first hypothesis. To eliminate this, Regnerus (2012) uses the NFSS with a wide variable of family types, and which has overcome many of the methodological challenges experienced by these social researches. Secondly, Regnerus (2012) uses the sample population from the NFSS since it covers a large population size as compared to other studies. The research finds that other studies sample size was too small (18, 33, or 44 cases) and contributed to the "no difference" conclusion. Using the sample population from the NFSS, Regnerus (2012) creates a large statistical sample size to compare outcomes of children from same-sex parents and heterosexual married parents. In addition, Regnerus (2012) relies on the NFSS is an ethnographic study that went on for several years, and elicited comparative studies f same-sex and heterosexual families. Moreover, the NFSS is a cross-sectional study, which collected data from respondents between the ages of 18 and 39.

7. What concerns related to validity (internal and external) may have faced the researcher?

Internal validity during an experiment is under question in the presence of uncontrolled extraneous variables that might account for the result of the study. In the execution of this research, the researcher might have faced various validity concerns. One of the essential aspect or concern of internal validity is the selection. This occurs under the influence of the comparison of the two different intact groups during the execution of the research. Another aspect of internal validity is the concept of analysis regression. The researcher might have faced this concern in the analysis of the findings of the research thus affecting the overall outcome of the conclusion.

External validity during the execution of the research focuses on the concerns affecting the generalization of the findings of the study. Some of the concerns faced under this aspect include population validity, personological validity, and ecological validity. Population validity concern occurs when the sample of the population does not adequately represent the population. Ecological validity concern occurs when the situational characteristics of the experiment are not representative of the research population. Personological validity occurs in case of interaction between psychological characteristics and the treatment applicable in the execution of the research. It is ideal for the researcher to manage these…

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