Consider a social worker who conducted a single subject design along with focus groups to evaluate the effectiveness of a spiritual-based intervention for domestic violence survivors. The numerical data from the single subject design showed that the intervention helped to improve clients’ level of self-efficacy. The focus groups explored clients’ perceptions about what specific elements of the intervention they found helpful. After the focus groups were completed, they were transcribed, and the qualitative data was analyzed using content analysis.
This week, you will explore how qualitative research can be used to inform social work practice. In addition, you will have the opportunity to analyze content analysis findings of a real-life focus group that was conducted.
Evidence-based social work practice calls for the use of research data to guide the development of social work interventions on the micro, mezzo and/or macro-levels. Kearney (2001) described ways qualitative research findings can inform practice. Qualitative findings can help social workers understand the clients’ experiences and “what it may feel like” (Kearney, 2001). Therefore, social workers can develop clinical interventions that take into account the experiences of their clients. Qualitative findings can also help social workers monitor their clients. For example, if after reading a qualitative study on how domestic violence survivors respond to stress, they can monitor for specific stress behaviors and symptoms (Kearney, 2001). In addition, they can educate their client what stress behaviors to look for and teach them specific interventions to reduce stress (Kearney, 2001)
Given the increasing diversity that characterizes the landscape in the United States, social workers need to take into account culture when formulating interventions. Social workers can utilize qualitative findings to plan interventions in a culturally meaningful manner for the client.
To prepare for this Discussion, read Knight et al.’s (2014) study from this week’s required resources. Carefully review the findings, the photographs, and how the researchers wrote up the findings. Finally, review the specific macro-, meso-, and micro-oriented recommendations.
Then read Marsigilia and Booth’s article about how to adapt interventions so that they are culturally relevant and sensitive to the population the intervention is designed for. Finally, review the chapter written by Lee et al. on conducting research in racial and ethnic minority communities.
Kearney, M. (2001). Levels and applications of qualitative research evidence. Research in Nursing and Health, 24, 145–153.
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