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Making Social Work Count

25 November 2016

Quantitative research book cover

Donald Forrester and Jonathan Scourfield, professors in the School of Social Sciences, are among the co-authors of a new book on quantitative research methods for social work.

Quantitative Research Methods for Social Work: Making Social Work Count by Barbra Teater, John Devaney, Donald Forrester, Jonathan Scourfield and John Carpenter is a comprehensive resource for students and educators. It is packed with activities and examples from social work covering the basic concepts of quantitative research methods – including reliability, validity, probability, variables and hypothesis testing – and explores key areas of data collection, analysis and evaluation, providing a detailed examination of their application to social work practice.

The book arose from a curriculum development project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), in conjunction with the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the British Academy and the Nuffield Foundation as part of a wider initiative to increase the numbers of quantitative social scientists in the UK in order to address an identified skills gap.

Social work knowledge and understanding draws heavily on research, and the ability to critically analyse research findings is a core skill for social workers. However, while many social work students are confident in reading qualitative data, a lack of understanding in basic statistical concepts means that this same confidence does not always apply to quantitative data.

A curriculum and teaching materials were developed by the book’s authors, with funding from the Economic and Social Research Council. The free teaching materials were initially piloted with students in Bath, Bedfordshire and Belfast, and then rolled out to over 20 other universities across the rest of the UK.

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