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SWK 530: Course Intro

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Course Description

The purpose of this course is to help students gain and apply comprehensive knowledge, skills, methods, values and ethics in social work research and program evaluation.  Further, the course will provide information on political, ethical and administrative issues impacting the research process.  Social work students will understand and be able to apply research methods and tools to the behavior of individuals, families, groups, organizations/institutions and communities within the social environment. 

Both quantitative and qualitative research methods will be studied in research designs from single-subject designs through group designs to the evaluation of practice.  Students will have the opportunity to pursue classroom and other experiences, read and critique social work research and to actively engage in the research process.   Evaluation of social work practice strategies will be infused in all sections of the class lectures. 

Learning Outcomes


Provide knowledge of the basic principles and issues in social work research practice including problem identification, assessment, conceptualization, design, instrumentation, measurement, data gathering, analysis, reporting and values and ethics.
Assess the impact and role of politics, administrative decisions, ethical issues, cultural diversity, race and gender in the research process.
Develop awareness of the role of social research in expanding the conceptual and knowledge base of professional social work practice.
Develop knowledge of ethnic sensitive research practice within social work practice, especially with oppressed populations including women of all ethnicities, people of color and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered human beings.
Develop knowledge and appreciation of the role of evaluation in strengthening social work practice and making such practice more accountable.
Develop the ability to understand and use the computer as a resource for furthering the social work research. 
Develop the ability to use research findings as the empirical base of social work practice.
Develop the ability to use research in the evaluation of social work.


Demonstrate understanding of the use of social work and scientific values,  ethics and professional standards in designing, implementing and reporting research finding in social work research.
Demonstrate skills in conducting research as a routine part of social work practice.
Understand accountability and confidential issues with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations/institutions.
Demonstrate incorporation of minority, ethnic and cultural values, and practices in designing and conducting research procedures.
Demonstrate skills in using research knowledge, values, methods and techniques in working with individuals, families, organizations and communities.
Gain the ability to select, evaluate and use appropriate research literature in social work practice.
Demonstrate knowledge and ability to use research in the evaluation of social work practice including evaluating ones own practice.
Develop the ability to read, comprehend and interpret research and statistical reports appearing in social work journals and other professional literature.

Subject Guide

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Jaquatta Causey, MLIS
The J. F. Drake Memorial LRC
4900 Meridian Street #207A/B
Normal, AL 35762