Practice-Based Research in Social Work: A Guide for Reluctant Researchers, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Practice-Based Research in Social Work

A Guide for Reluctant Researchers, 1st Edition

By Sarah-Jane Dodd, Irwin Epstein


214 pages

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Paperback: 9780415565240
pub: 2011-11-04
Hardback: 9780415565233
pub: 2011-11-04
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pub: 2012-03-12
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This unique textbook explores practice-based research (PBR), using numerous practice examples to actively encourage and engage students and practitioners to embrace research as a meaningful support for their practice. Whilst evidence-based practice gives practitioners access to information about "universal" best practices, it does not prioritize practitioner-generated knowledge or promote new research-based interventions relevant to their own practice circumstances as PBR does.

This book discusses the evolution of PBR as a distinct social work research approach, describes its principles and methods and presents a range of exemplars illustrating the application of PBR within different practice methods in different practice settings. The chapters cover:

  • Identifying the research question in a PBR model
  • Designing a study and identifying a methodology
  • Sampling
  • Literature reviews
  • Gathering data
  • Ethics
  • Analyzing data and interpreting results
  • Putting research into practice

Viewing the practitioner as central to the research process, and research as a necessary component of practice, this invaluable book emphasizes the seamless integration of practice and research. It is about research in social work practice rather than research on social work practice. Each chapter includes an overview, an introduction, and a key concepts summary. Practice-Based Research in Social Work is a very accessible text suitable for social work students, particularly MSW students, and practitioners.


"This book represents an important movement in social work practice, Practice Based Research (PBR). It is a must read for social work educators and practitioners. The authors clearly show how practitioners can incorporate research concepts and methods into social work practice." - Tony Tripodi, Former Dean and Professor Emeritus, Ohio State University, USA

Table of Contents

Part 1: Introduction to PBR in Social Work Practice Introduction Chapter 1. Evolution and Definition of PBR Part 2: Engaging in the PBR Process Chapter 2. Establishing the Practice-Research Problem Chapter 3. PBR Study Purposes Chapter 4. PBR Research Designs Chapter 5. The PBR Literature Review Chapter 6. Understanding Basic Differences in Data-Collection Methods Chapter 7. Qualitative Data Gathering Chapter 8. Quantitative Data Gathering Chapter 9. PBR Sampling Chapter 10. Research Ethics and Protection of Human Subjects in PBR Part 3: Analyzing and Interpreting Results in PBR Chapter 11. Analyzing Qualitative Data in PBR Chapter 12. Analyzing Quantitative Data in PBR Chapter 13. Interpreting and Disseminating Results from PBR

About the Authors

Sarah-Jane Dodd is an Associate Professor at the Hunter College School of Social Work and the City University of New York Graduate Center, USA. She is also a consulting editor for the Journal of Teaching in Social Work and the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services.

Irwin Epstein occupies the Helen Rehr Chair in Applied Social Work Research in Health and Mental Health at Hunter College School of Social Work of the City University of New York, USA. He is co-author of several books and numerous articles on social worker professionalization, program evaluation, research utilization and practice-based research. Having introduced this latter concept into the social work literature, his current interest is in exploring clinical data-mining as a practice-based research methodology.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Health Care Delivery
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Methodology