Friday, January 24, 2014

Research Basics

If you're like me, I value research and its place in legitimizing and moving our profession forward...BUT, I'm totally a touchy-feely, creative type that kind of gets bored when it comes to research vocabulary and methods. Here are a few basic research terms and ways to remember them:

Quantative Research Design: The way I remember this is to think of Quantity like an amount of something, like bacteria in a petri dish. It's about numbers and is rarely used by social workers because of the difficulty in being able to count and control so many factors in a person's life. I think of math and science labs. It's the best way to prove a hypothesis but is often difficult for social workers to use.

Qualitative Research Design: The way I remember Qualitative is to think of the Quality of the Quality of your relationship with your best friend. How do you measure that in numbers? It would be difficult, right? That's why lots of social workers use this type of design, one that values the relationship and narratives which are factors that can't always be controlled in a lab.

Variables (think of the word "vary"so, things vary from person to person, right? Well that's exactly what it do two or more things or values differ and how is that measured. Like Male or Female or Gender Neutral. Those three are variables.

So there is an Independent variable- which is the one that is totally Independent, it has caused something to happen.

The Dependent variable is just like a dependent child--they are changed by what their Independent mom does.

Then there are intervening variables that come between the two, stuff you try to control for but sometimes can't.

To read up on basic research methods check this out!

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