Q 1: Advanced generalist practitioner
Advanced generalist practitioners are social workers who possess a wide
range of practice social work skills, employ a disciplined approach to
deal with issues affecting the community, and maintain their commitment
to evidence-based research (Wichita State University, 2013). Some of the
themes pursued by advanced generalist practitioners include social
justice, multidimensional practice, cultural competence, and
empowerment. Research is a requirement for effective advanced generalist
practitioners because it helps practitioners in maintaining their
objectivity. This means that practitioners should actively participate
in research to inform their practice instead of reading the research
works done by others or implementing approaches that have not been
empirically proven to be effective. In addition, research assists
practitioners in assessing the resources and needs of the community in
its rural context, evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of their
services in solving the needs of the society, and identifying the cost
and benefits of their services to the community.
Emphasis on the application of evidence-based research has been
increasing, thus creating the need to equate the concept of evidence and
the data collected through research. Research helps practitioners in
understanding the constructed meaning in the social context (Meyers &
Sylvester, 2006). Both qualitative and quantitative research contributes
towards the accuracy of the evidence available about different issues
affecting the society. In addition, research enhances evidence-based
reasoning by reinforcing the inductive reasoning, which is the basis of
predictions that are evaluated and tested in logically contrived
circumstances and highly specific experiments. Moreover, information
obtained through research increases trustworthiness, transferability,
credibility, and dependability of approaches used by practitioners to
exercise the evidence-based practice.
Q 2: DVD on research design
Researchers design approaches that are suitable for their own study to
ensure that intended objectives are achieved. There are five insights
from the DVD on research design that enlightened my perception about
empirical research. First, the researcher needs to consider a wide range
of factors before undertaking a given investigation and to guarantee
success. The most important factors to consider include the sample size,
control experiments, and cost of undertaking the research until its
completion. I learned from the DVD that the sample size should be
determined after reviewing the data from the pilot test, which was not
consistent with my earlier reasoning that the sample size should be
determined before conducting the pilot test.
Secondly, the DVD emphasized on the impact of participants drops out,
which can affect the outcome of a given research. Despite the large
amount of resources devoted to research, the participants’ freedom to
withdraw their participation can prevent the realization of
pre-determined goals, especially if the research project takes a long
time before completion.
Third, ethical consideration in research requires that all participants
should be informed about the importance of their participation, the
voluntary nature of their consent, and their freedom to withdraw even if
the study has begun. This had not come to my mind and they further
subject the research into the risk of failing if participants lack the
interest to continue with the research procedure.
Fourth, it came to my notice that the language that researcher uses when
conducting survey on human participants may determine the quality data
collected and the outcome of the research.
Fifth, I have always thought that all research procedures should be
planned before the investigation starts while data analysis and
interpretation should be started after collection procedures are
completed. However, the DVD enlightened me that it is possible to start
intellectual and official data analysis when an investigation or survey
is still in progress.
Apart from the new research skills discussed above, the DVD provided
practical information on different methods of data collection (including
direct observation, interview, and focus groups), which are applicable
in my research. In addition, the piece informs much about the
application of qualitative research design in field studies instead of
quantitative research that is appropriate for laboratory experiments.
Q 3: Ten differences between qualitative and quantitative research
Both qualitative and quantitative researches are conducted to search for
evidence, but there are several differences between them as shown in
Table 1: differences between quantitative and qualitative research
Variable Quantitative research Qualitative research
Purpose Primarily aims at establishing the cause-and effect
relationships that exist between dependent and independent variables.
Aims at describing some ongoing processes
Formulation of hypothesis The hypothesis is developed based on theories
that govern the investigation before the study begins. The hypothesis
is developed during the study where the purpose of the study is governed
by questions and theories are developed inductively.
Independent variable Controlled and manipulated. Concerned with the
study of naturally occurring situations, thus independent variable is
not specifically specified.
Data collection Should be objective It may be subjective because there
is some interaction between researcher and participants.
Design Research design should be clearly specified before the
investigation begins. Design if flexible and it is developed during the
Data representation Represented in the summarized numerical form.
Represented either in verbal or narrative forms.
Reliability and validity Reliability and validity are determined using
logical and statistical methods. Both reliability and validity are
determined through triangulation, which involves the use of several
sources of information.
Procedural bias Controlled using a research design and instruments of
data gathering. Procedural bias is controlled by a researcher who is
required to come to terms with the bias.
Phenomena Researcher simplifies or breaks phenomena to ease the process
of investigation. Researcher studies phenomena as a complex system or
Conclusion The researcher makes a conclusion that has some
predetermined level of certainty. The researcher makes a tentative
conclusion that is subjected to an examination in progress.
Source: Castellan (2010).
Q 4: Critical thinking in evidence-based practice
Making judgment is part of social and nursing work that prevents the
perception of these professions to be mere technical practices. Critical
thinking is fundamental to professional judgment because it enhances
inquisitiveness, orderliness in the analysis of complex matters, and
open-mindedness (Wangensteen, Johansson, Bjorkstrom & Nordstron, 2010).
Each scenario that a professional faces provides an opportunity to
utilize theoretical knowledge to provide a solution that is tailored for
an individual, group, of the family. This means that theoretical
knowledge is important because it informs the social worker on the best
approach when critically examining the problem based alternatives
studied theoretically, thus making critical thinking more effective.
Comprehension of theoretical concepts contributes to the effectiveness
of critical thinking and evidenced based practice. This is because
literal understanding of concepts informs practitioners’ decision on
the best way to solve the prevailing challenge. Practitioners may gain
knowledge and comprehend different concepts from previous research
works, thus enriching their critical thinking. The analysis allows the
practitioner to establish a connection between clinical or field
observations and theoretical knowledge, thus enhancing their capacity to
prize application of rational ideas and utilize evidenced sources from
research to solve the problem at hand (Wangensteen et al., 2010).
Synthesis helps practitioner to put together different parts of the
knowledge that was obtained during analysis to formulate a solution that
is original and best suits the prevailing challenge. After designing the
suitable solution, a critically thinking practitioner evaluates its
credibility, worth, and strength to determine the effectiveness of its
application and expected outcome.
Q 5: How social workers measure change
The main objective of measuring change in social work is to determine
the effectiveness or impact made by the interventions applied by social
work practitioners to help individuals, group’s f people, or family to
resolve a given issue. This is accomplished by requiring social workers
to document the effectiveness of their services. This helps in the
determination of change that clients have experienced since a given
intervention was started relative to community issues being addressed by
practitioners (Sheafor, 2011). Evidence-based evaluation of client
change using empirical methods is more challenging than measuring client
change when practitioners’ uses direct service capacity interventions
such as face-to-face interaction with individuals, groups of people, or
families. Three major steps used in measuring change include generation
of researchable questions that will inform the actions of social
workers, quantitative measurement of change in variables that related to
the problem being addressed, and organization of data obtained in a way
that helps in the interpretation of outcome.
Castellan, M. (2010). Quantitative and qualitative research: A view for
clarity. International Journal of Education, 2 (2), 1-14.
Meyers, B. & Sylvester, A. (2006). The role of qualitative research
methods in evidence-based practice. NASP Communique, 34 (5), 1-6.
Sheafor, W. (2011). Measuring effectiveness in direct social work
practice. Fort Collins: Colorado State University.
Wangensteen, S., Johansson, S., Bjorkstrom, E. & Nordstron, G. (2010).
Critical thinking dispositions among newly graduated nurses. Journal of
Advanced Nursing, 66 (10), 2170-2181. doi:
Wichita State University (2013, September 11). Masters of social work:
Advanced generalist practice. Wichita KS: Wichita State University.
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Q 1: Advanced generalist practitioner