No matter the method, social work research should be done with an eye toward informing and improving social work practice, policy, and/or service delivery. You will analyze the results of a qualitative study conducted with inner-city African American youths and determine how the results can be applied to social work practice, policy, or service delivery. Learning about the lives and experiences of vulnerable populations, such as African American inner-city adolescents, can help contribute to enhancing social work practice or policy with such populations.
An important aspect of social work research involves the ethical considerations of a study. As an empowering practice, social work seeks to involve the research participants as much as possible to learn from the voices that are rarely heard or taken to heart. You will read about a qualitative study done with inner-city African American youth. You will then analyze the study for the quality of its data and data collection methods. Also, critically examine the study for ethical situations that the researchers had to address, such as confidentiality issues and even recruitment issues, and reflect on whether they appropriately and positively addressed them, or if something else could have been done to improve the ethical standards of the study. You will learn more about sampling in an upcoming workshop, but this article gives you a preview of sampling issues, as well as how the researchers addressed them. Finally, after reading a chapter on policy-oriented qualitative research, you will apply what you learned from that chapter to the research article.