Social Work Research

Social Work Research

Now a day, social work practice has become increasingly complex which make research in social work as vital component. Research is relevant to every area of social work practice: from the initial stages of an intervention, determining the needs of an individual, group or community; through to testing new ideas and deciding which course of action to take; and finally, to evaluating practice and justifying social work’s existence (Alston & Bowles, 2003). Consider the following situation face by social worker:

  • some time social worker must identify the nature and causes of problem face by client.
  • In some cases, social worker must find out the solution for newly arise problem which never arise before during social work practice.
  • Social worker may identify the innovative way to solve the problem in effective manner.
  • While practicing social worker need sufficient information to handle the activities and situation in field.

Social worker may analysis the social policy, programs, projects, etc. for promoting social welfare.
Above mention situation are only some of the example the social worker face in field. To handle all this problem social worker must use evidence base practice or research which require research skill. The research conducted by social worker is consider as social work research which is mostly applied in nature.
Social work research is the application of research methods to solve problems that social workers face in the practice of social work. It mainly focus on need analysis, outcome orientation, exploration of situation, evaluation of program and project, etc. It provides information which is use by social workers for making decisions to solve the client problems, modification of programs to take corrective actions.
Social work research is applied in nature which focus mainly on the solution of the problem face by social worker in their field. The study of concepts, principles, theories underlying social work methods and skills are the major areas of social work research which involves the study of the relationship of social workers with their clients; individuals, groups or communities on various levels of interaction or therapy as well as their natural relationships and functioning within the organizational structure of social agencies.
It is difficult to define what is unique about research in social work. However, McDermott (1996) suggest that social work research:
Would be research that arises from a particular theorization of the acting subject within his/her social, political and economic context
Would be research that privileges the research process as an intervention leading to the possibility of constructive change
Would be research that enables the participation of the researched—the poor, the vulnerable, the oppressed and those who interact with them.
The purpose of social work research (Rubin & Babbie, 2011) can be explained in following points:

One of the major purpose of the social work research is to explore the information about topics which provide the beginning familiarity in the area where social worker wants to begin social work practice. Social worker wants to examine the relatively new or understudied information or feasibility study to lunch the project.


Social worker conducts the research to describe the satiation face by clints or society or certain events.


For the evaluation of social policies, programs and intervention the systematic investigation must be done. Evaluation consists of exploration, description and explanation by research activities. Evaluation examine the effectiveness of project run by social worker and collect evidence to take corrective action if necessary.
Constructing measuring instrument
Social work research also aims to develop measurement instrument for social worker or to examine the effectiveness of the instrument developed by other researcher or social worker.

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