Research Methods for Social Work: Being Producers and Consumers of Research, 2nd Edition

James R. Dudley

Research Methods for Social Work: Being Producers and Consumers of Research, 2nd Edition

By James R. Dudley
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James R. Dudley
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With its practical and accessible writing style, Research Methods for Social  Workers offers numerous examples from the field of social work and emphasises how research and social work practice are connected. 


With over 25 years of teaching research and social work practice course, the author understands first-hand how practice and research are connected and how vital they are to each other.


Each chapter reflects and integrates the core competencies in the 2008 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) set by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).  End-of-chapter assessment reinforces this integration.


 James (Jim) Dudley earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and an M.S.W. degree from the University of Illinois, and a Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College.  He has also recently earned a M.S. Degree in Spirituality Studies from Loyola University at New Orleans.

Jim’s publications are wide-ranging and focus on families, individuals, and organizations in several areas. They include teenage parenting and procreative issues; nonresidential and teenage fathering; stigma, friendships, and social integration of people with developmental disabilities; deinstitutionalization of people with a dual diagnosis; policy analysis of a class action lawsuit of people with a dual diagnosis, spirituality and social work;  spirituality and hospice;  and other areas.  He has authored numerous books including Research Methods for Social Work, Social Work Evaluation, Fathering at Risk, Living with Stigma, and Lessons Learned from a Lawsuit. He has also authored or co-authored numerous articles and book chapters in many highly regarded journals including Social Work, Journal of Social Work Education, The Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, Mental Retardation, Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, Family Relations, Families in Society, Psychiatric Services, and Administration in Social Work.

Jim has been a faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the Department of Social Work since 1991 and before that was a faculty member at Temple University in the School of Administration for 18 years.  He is currently a Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and has served as Department Chair for seven years.  Overall, he has been teaching both social work research and social work practice courses for over 25 years.  He has been instrumental in establishing the MSW program and obtaining accreditation for the MSW and BSW programs at UNC Charlotte.  He has also always enjoyed and worked very closely with students, helping them become effective practitioners and researchers, and helping them find and grow their personal and professional selves.

Jim was a full-time social work practitioner for seven years, has served on several agency boards, and currently consults with social agencies in the Charlotte area.  Jim’s wife, Joanna, is a medical social worker employed in home health and they spend as much of their time as possible with their children and four grandchildren who also live in Charlotte.  

  • Practical and accessible with numerous social work examples and illustrations of research studies in social work practice situations.
  • Emphasises how research and practice are connected - points out the similarities between them, and explains how research informs practice.
  • Emphasises CSWE-mandated areas of social work: values/ethics, diversity, and social and economic justice, and describes how they come into play in research. For example, it encourages collaborative research efforts with clients with a focus on “participant action research” to emphasize how research can be utilised to bring social change.
  • Highlights practice and program evaluation tools.
  • Prepares students to be both effective producers and consumers of research and coverage of the 'producer' is expanded.
  • Covers quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods are covered throughout and highlights them at the stages of designing a study, constructing instruments, collecting data, and data analysis.  Interviews, questionnaires, and observational tools are described quantitatively, qualitatively, and mixed.
  • Includes illustrations and case vignettes throughout each chapter to reinforce concepts.
  • Uses charts and graphs involving data analysis and data presentation.
  • Offers exercises, study questions, and discussion questions at the end of each chapter help students understand and apply the material they have learned and can serve as a focus for class discussions, tests, and quizzes.


Table of contents
  • 1.      Why Social Workers Need Research? 
  • 2.      The Philosophies and Purposes of Research 
  • 3.      Research Ethics and Social Work's Mandates 
  • 4.      Understanding the Research Topic 
  • 5.      Defining and Measuring Concepts
  • 6.      Focusing a Research Study
  • 7.      Designing the Study
  • 8.      Considering Sampling Techniques
  • 9.      Constructing Surveys
  • 10.    Constructing Observational Studies
  • 11.    Exploring Causal Relationships: Quasi-Experimental, Experimental and Single System Designs
  • 12.    Collecting the Data
  • 13.    Quantitative Data Analysis
  • 14.    Qualitative Data Analysis
  • 15.    Preparing a Report 
  • 16.      Program and Practice Evaluation