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This week’s activity builds on and deepens the work you completed in Week 6. Its purpose is to apply knowledge of research concepts covered in weeks 1-7 and learn to extract and succinctly describe various methodological approaches used in the literature of social work intervention research.

First, we’ll be making use of the Journal of the Society of Social Work and Research, an open-access publication that produces highly-rated, new and emerging research findings specific to the field of social work. Complete the following steps before creating your discussion post:

  1. Go to the SMU-MN Libraries website. Underneath the Supersearch function, click on ‘Databases.’ Then, under ‘Find Database By Name’ select JSTOR. Then, search for ‘Journal for the Society for Social Work and Research.’
  2. Do a scan of past issues to find a study with an intervention focus (i.e., developing, testing, evaluating, etc.). HINT:  You can click on the Abstract for each article to read a brief synopsis.
  3. Download and read the article on your own.

Next, create a discussion post that addresses the following points:

  1. Bibliographic listing of the article you selected (APA style)
  2. What are the research questions addressed in this study? Are they clearly stated? Why or why not?
  3. Is there a hypothesis (or hypotheses) stated? If so, what is it/are they?
  4. What is/are the independent variable(s) in this study?
  5. What is/are the dependent variable(s) in this study? How is each one operationally defined (not how are they measured)?
  6. What control variables, if any, are included in this study? Why do you think they are included?
  7. How is/are the independent variable(s) measured?
  8. Describe the measures used to assess the dependent variables (or outcomes) in this study, including: type of instrument, format, number of items, completion time, etc.
    1. What type(s) of reliability was reported for each DV measure listed above?  Was reliability at an acceptable level?
    2. What specific types of validity, if any, were assessed for the DV measures (e.g., content, construct)?  Was the validity of each measure explicitly reported or was it simply implied? 
  9. Name the specific sampling approach that was used to obtain this sample for this study.  Is the sample a probability sample or a non-probability sample?
  10. Describe the study sample in terms of participant demographics (e.g., race/ethnicity, gender, age) and sample size (overall and for each experimental/control group).
  11. What are the strengths and limitations of this sample in terms of generalizing results to a larger population?  (Include strengths & limitations mentioned by the authors and those that you identify).
  12. In your own words, How effective was the intervention in terms of improving each of the dependent variables (or outcomes)?  For example, did the study find that (after being in the intervention) participants improved on all intended outcomes, on some but not others, or perhaps participants showed no improvement at all?