Qualitative Research Skills for Social Work: Theory and Practice, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Qualitative Research Skills for Social Work

Theory and Practice, 1st Edition

By Malcolm Carey


272 pages

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Malcolm Carey provides social work students, academics and practitioners with a practical guide to completion of a small-scale qualitative research project or dissertation. This clear text takes the reader through the process of beginning and developing a research problem or question, defining their objectives and undertaking empirical or literature-based research that involves data collection, analysis, writing up and dissemination. The book also highlights and details potential obstacles, essential techniques and methods, types of theory and methodology used, and presents case studies and ongoing debates involved in qualitative social work research. It suggests ways by which sometimes difficult processes (such as the literature review, interviews with practitioners, etc.) can be made easier to complete and explores traditional methods such as the focus group or interview alongside less conventional methodologies such as participative, narrative, discourse or ICT-related approaches. Recent investigation has highlighted the lack of research skills held by many social workers in practice. This book overcomes these problems by providing an essential and easily accessible guidebook to qualitative research methods for social work students and practitioners as well as being of interest to tutors who teach research methods to social work students or supervise dissertations.


'This book offers an easily accessible and practical text for students and social workers wishing to undertake small-scale qualitative research projects. Carey provides a clear and stimulating guide to the main tenets of qualitative approaches and uses the research cycle to address key issues at differing points, from conception to research dissemination, helping students and social workers to successfully complete their projects.' Hugh McLaughlin, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK 'In many respects, this new text builds on [Carey's] previous work but with greater depth and an additional focus on areas such as internet research. Overall, it aims to provide a practical guide to undertaking a small-scale qualitative project for social work students, academics and practitioners. It is written in an accessible manner with a clear and simple layout, suggested further reading listed at the end of each chapter, research examples in separate boxes and a glossary… there is no doubt that it will provide a valuable resource for students and social workers wishing to undertake small-scale qualitative research projects as well as tutors who teach research methods to social work students or supervise dissertations.' British Journal of Social Work

Table of Contents

Contents: Part 1 Foundations of Qualitative Social Work Research: Introducing qualitative social work research; The research process; Core social work research concepts; The literature review; Literature-based research and methodologies; Theoretical and philosophical perspectives; Methodology; Research ethics. Part 2 Qualitative Methodology and Methods: Interviews and questionnaires; Focus groups; Grounded theory and case studies; Ethnography; Life histories and biographical research; Narrative and discourse analysis; Participative research; internet research. Part 3 Analysis, Writing and Dissemination: Analysis; Writing up and dissemination; Glossary; References; Index.

About the Author

Malcolm Carey, University of Manchester, UK.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
REFERENCE / Research