What, in your view, is research and its relevancy to the social work practice?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Research in the field of social work can include a variety of kinds of research.  This is because social workers have to help their clients deal with many different problems.  Research into any of these kinds of problems can be very relevant to social work practice.  In addition, research into best practices for social workers themselves is extremely important.

Social workers are charged with helping their clients to deal with whatever sorts of problems they are facing.  Typically, these are problems associated with broader social issues such as poverty and discrimination.  This means that research into any of these sorts of problems could be seen as research in the field of social work.  For example, research into the psychology of men who abuse their partners and into the psychology of women and children who have been abused would be research in the field of social work.  Research into the factors that help push impoverished youngsters to commit delinquent acts would be as well.  As a final example, research into the psychological impacts of racism would be research in the field of social work.  In other words, any sort of research that explores social problems, their impacts, and how to combat those impacts would be research in the field of social work.

In addition, research into the best ways to deal with clients would be very important to a social worker.  One example of this would be research that examines how people of different cultural backgrounds (the social worker and the client) interact.  Another example would be research that tries to determine how best to get through to troubled adolescents.  These types of research have to do with the ways in which the social worker should interact with his or her client, not with the problems the client faces.

Both of these types of research are very relevant to social work practice.  The first type of research helps social workers better understand the problems their clients face.  The second type of research helps them to figure out how they can be most effective in understanding their clients and in trying to help their clients deal with their problems.

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