Discussion 1: Selection of a Statistical Analysis Approach
Though data analysis occurs after the study has completed a data collection stage, the researcher needs to have in mind what type of analysis will allow the researcher to obtain an answer to a research question. The researcher must understand the purpose of each method of analysis, the characteristics that must be present in the study for the design to be appropriate and any weaknesses of the design that might limit the usefulness of the study results. Only then can the researcher select the appropriate design. Choosing the appropriate design enables the researcher to claim the data that is potential evidence that provides information about the relationship being studied. Notice that it is not the statistical test which tells us that research is valid, rather, it is the research design. Social workers must be aware of and adjust any limitations of their chosen design that may impact the validity of the study.
To prepare for this Discussion, review the handout, A Short Course in Statistics and pages 210–220 in your course text Social Work Evaluation: Enhancing What We Do. If necessary, locate and review online resources concerning internal validity and threats to internal validity. Then, review the “Social Work Research: Chi Square” case study located in this week’s resources. Consider the confounding variables, that is, factors that might explain the difference between those in the program and those waiting to enter the program.
· Post an interpretation of the case study’s conclusion that “the vocational rehabilitation intervention program may be effective at promoting full-time employment.”
· Describe the factors limiting the internal validity of this study, and explain why those factors limit the ability to draw conclusions regarding cause and effect relationships.
References (use 3 or more)
Dudley, J. R. (2014). Social work evaluation: Enhancing what we do.(2nd ed.) Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.
- Chapter 9, “Is the Intervention Effective?” (pp. 226–236: Read from “Determining a Causal Relationship” to “Outcome Evaluations for Practice”)
Discussion 2: Looking Through Different Lenses
As a social worker, you bring your own lens—that is, your own set of assumptions, biases, beliefs, and interpretations—into your interactions with clients and the human services professionals with whom you collaborate. Human services organizations have their own cultures that influence their organizational lenses. An organizational lens reflects key assumptions about the individuals to whom the organization provides services. These assumptions influence the organization’s policies and procedures which, in turn, impact service delivery. For example, an organization that focuses on understanding the perspectives of the clients it serves may allow clients to provide feedback about their client experience through membership on advisory boards or boards of directors. The clients may have the power to make recommendations and decisions about the organization’s policies and procedures.
Understanding cultural lenses—your personal lens, as well as those of the organizations and other individuals with whom you work and interact—will enable you to better serve your clients.
Focus on the Paula Cortez case study for this Discussion. In this case study, four professionals present their perspectives on the Paula Cortez case. These workers could view Paula’s case through a variety of cultural lenses, including socioeconomic, gender, ethnicity, and mental health. For this Discussion, you take the role of the social worker on the case and interpret Paula’s case using two of these lenses.
· Post how you, as a social worker, might interpret the needs of Paula Cortez, the client, through the two cultural lenses you selected.
· Then, explain how, in general, you would incorporate multiple perspectives of a variety of stakeholders and/or human services professionals as you treat clients.
References (use 3 or more)
Chun-Chung Chow, J., & Austin, M. J. (2008). The culturally responsive social service agency: The application of an evolving definition to a case study. Administration in Social Work, 32(4), 39–64.
Cortez Family: A Meeting of an Interdisciplinary Team
Paula has just been involuntarily hospitalized and placed on the psychiatric unit, for a minimum of 72 hours, for observation. Paula was deemed a suicidal risk after an assessment was completed by the social worker. The social worker observed that Paula appeared to be rapidly decompensating, potentially placing herself and her pregnancy at risk.
Paula just recently announced to the social worker that she is pregnant. She has been unsure whether she wanted to continue the pregnancy or terminate. Paula also told the social worker she is fearful of the father of the baby, and she is convinced he will try to hurt her. He has started to harass, stalk, and threaten her at all hours of the day. Paula began to exhibit increased paranoia and reported she started smoking again to calm her nerves. She also stated she stopped taking her psychiatric medications and has been skipping some of her HIV medications.
The following is an interdisciplinary team meeting being held in a conference room at the hospital. Several members of Paula’s team (HIV doctor, psychiatrist, social worker, and OB nurse) have gathered to discuss the precipitating factors to this hospitalization. The intent is to craft a plan of action to address Paula’s noncompliance with her medications, increased paranoia, and the pregnancy.
Paula is a complicated patient, and she presents with a complicated situation. She is HIV positive, has Hepatitis C, and multiple foot ulcers that can be debilitating at times. Paula has always been inconsistent with her HIV meds—no matter how often I explain the need for consistent compliance in order to maintain her health. Paula has exhibited a lack of insight into her medical conditions and the need to follow instructions. Frankly, I was astonished and frustrated when she stopped her wound care treatments and started to use chamomile tea on her foot ulcers. Even though we have educated her to the negative consequences of stopping her meds, and trying alternative medications instead, she continues to do so.
As Paula’s psychiatrist for close to 10 years, I have followed her progress in and out of the hospital for quite a while—and I know her very well. She is often non-compliant with her medications, randomly stopping them after she reports she doesn’t like the way they make her feel. She has been hospitalized to stabilize her medications several times over the last 10 years, although she has managed to stay out of the psychiatric unit for the last three. Recently, she had seemed to appreciate the benefits of taking her medications and her compliance has much improved. She had been seeing her social worker regularly, and her overall mental health and physical health were improving. This has changed recently, after several stressful life events. We learned that Paula was pregnant by a man she met briefly at a local flower shop. She also reports he has been harassing her with threatening phone calls and unwarranted visits to her home. Paula disclosed to the social worker that she was neither eating nor taking her medication—and she had not gotten out of bed for days. Her decompensation was rapid and extremely worrisome and, therefore, called for a 72-hour hold.
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