Discussion (1a)Theory can enrich our sense of how people behave and find meaning in their daily lives. Theory also plays an important role in social work research, as it does in social work practice. It helps direct our inquiry into those areas that seem more likely to show useful patterns and explanations. Theory also helps distinguish between chance occurrences and observations that have value in anticipating future occurrences.

As a social worker, you will apply theory to your research and practice. For example, imagine a fellow social worker tells you that they allowed a young boy to play with small toys in a sand tray and non-directively commented to him on the themes of his play. Child development theory can explain the importance of this interaction. However, without considering theory, you might flounder in your practice, trying anything anyone told you in the hopes of finding something that works.

In this Discussion, you explain social work theories and how this may affect your practice as a social worker.


  • What are the purpose and major functions of theories in social work research?
  • Describe how this knowledge will affect your practice in social work.
  • Describe how your colleagues’ identified purpose and use may affect your practice in social work.
  • Discussion 1 (b)Research Methodology (Quantitative, Qualitative, Mixed Method)As a social worker, you will be asked to explore certain social science topics at the agencies where you will be working. You will need to know the difference between research methodologies and why you would use one type of methodology over the other.For example, you may work with clients who are mandated to substance abuse treatment, and the agency wants you to explore if their program is effective at reducing substance abuse recidivism. What type of research methodology would you use? Choosing between the two methodologies might not always be that clear; however, you would want to clarify if the agency wants to use numbers (statistics) or in-depth quotes to gain an understanding of program effectiveness. In this Discussion, you consider appropriate research methods for a study.
  • Post:
    • Identify three (3) important characteristic differences between quantitative and qualitative research.
    • Describe how the characteristics identified are essential to the type of research methodology.
    • Explain how you would know what type of research methodology you would use in a study.

    Respond to two colleagues who identified different uses of quantitative and qualitative methodologies:

    • Provide another rationale for using each methodology, and explain how it may compliment or differ from your colleagues’ rationale.

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