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University of Michigan

Social Work: Research

University of Michigan via edX

This course may be unavailable.


Understand social work research through the critical examination of the methods and organization of the ever-expanding professional literature associated with social work practice.

The field of social work research has experienced considerable growth over the past 25 years. This body of research is an essential source of knowledge for helping understand and solve complex social problems, but utilizing this research effectively requires proper contextualization. This course is intended to help you become an effective consumer of this professional literature by providing the tools necessary to find and comprehend what the research does and, importantly, does not tell us.

This course will cover:

• quantitative and qualitative research methods

• searching procedures to effectively find existing research

• application of research to practice

Be a part of this exciting time for the profession of social work and the opportunity to use this literature to help find solutions to complex social problems. Learn how to understand and appreciate a scientific approach to building and evaluating practice knowledge, and to use research to advocate for clients and inform policy. As you develop these skills, you will be well positioned to make correct use of the existing professional literature.

This course is part of the Social Work: Practice, Policy and Research MicroMasters Program offered by MichiganX. Please note that to complete this program with a MicroMasters certificate, you must be enrolled as a verified learner in all courses in the program by November 30, 2020, and you must complete all assessments by March 29, 2021.


Module 1 :Why Research in Social Work? Introduction to course instructors and objectives. Why do we conduct research on social issues? Interviews with evidence based practitioners

Module 2 : Organization of Social Work Research Distinguish empirical social work research from non-empirical social work research Scientific Communications Learn how the field of social work research is organized

Module 3 : Key Concepts in Research Measurement: Validity vs Reliability Sampling: Representativeness, size, generalizability and types Effect Sizes Causality versus Correlation

Module 4 : Non-Experimental Methods - Quantitative Overview: What is quantitative research? The most common method: One Group / One Timepoint Observational Research Quasi-Experimental Research

Module 5 : Experimental Methods - Quantitative Experimental Research (RCT) Systematic Reviews Meta-Analyses

Module 6 : Qualitative and Mixed Methods Overview: What is qualitative research? Ethnographs, Interviews Narrative research, Focus Groups Case Studies, Mixed Methods, and Grounded Theory Key Questions To Ask and Mistakes To Avoid When Evaluating Any Qualitative Research

Module 7 : Locating Research Formulating a search strategy Finding articles online (outside of academic databases) Evaluating results

Module 8 : Integrating Research Into Decision-Making Evidence Based Practice Interviews with Evidence Based Practitioners

Taught by

Brian E. Perron


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