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Doing Qualitative Research in Social Work

Doing Qualitative Research in Social Work

April 2014 | 368 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Bringing key developments and debates together in a single volume, this book provides an authoritative guide for students and practitioners embarking on qualitative research in social work and related fields. 

Frequently illustrated with contemporary and classic case examples from the authors’ own empirical research and from international published work, and with self-directed learning tasks, the book provides insight into the difficulties and complexities of carrying out research, as well as sharing ‘success’ stories from the field. Shaw and Holland have long experience of writing for practitioners and students and in making complex concepts accessible and readable, making this an ideal text for those engaging in qualitative social work research at any level. 

Ian Shaw is a Professor of Social Work at the University of York and at the University of Aalborg.

Sally Holland is a Reader in Social Work at the School of Social Sciences in Cardiff University.

What is Distinctive about Qualitative Social Work Research?
Qualitative Research and the Social Work Context
Researching the Social Work Field
Qualitative Methods in Social Work – a Review
Doing Qualitative Social Work Research
Reviewing Research
Qualitative Designs
Ethics in Qualitative Research
Asking Questions
Telling Stories
Traces and Deposits in Texts and Documents
Living in Place, Space and Time
Anticipating Analysis and Making Sense of Qualitative Data
Doing Qualitative Analysis
The Purposes of Qualitative Social Work Research
Researching and Evaluating Interventions and Outcomes
Social Justice
Qualitative Research and Practice
The Consequences of Qualitative Research

This is an extraordinary book in scope, theoretical sophistication, and practical appeal.  The authors incorporate a variety of  engaging examples highly relevant to social work practice.  They build on and extend the theoretical insights of a diverse array of scholars from various qualitative traditions.   I highly recommend the book for adoption in courses on qualitative methods and also for experienced social work researchers who want to work interpretively with text and image.  

Catherine Kohler Riessman
Professor Emerita, School of Social Work & Department of Sociology, Boston University

This excellent text, produced by acknowledged leaders in the field, provides an account of the relevance and rationale for qualitative methods in social work research, placing these methods in the context of historically evolving practices in the US and Britain. The discussion of specific methods will stand as a landmark presentation that will inform research practice for many years to come. Aimed at social work professionals and researchers it will also have a huge appeal to social researchers more widely.

John Scott
Honorary Professor, University of Copenhagen

A very clear overview of the qualitative research process with special reference to social work. The book has a strong chapter on qualitative research design which I have used on my reading list. The book has a clear structure and style.

Mr Jeremy Dixon
Dept of Social and Policy Sciences, Bath University
November 3, 2015

The book provides in depth insight into qualitative research methodology and methods. Although it may prove itself a challenge to weaker students it offers great examples of how to apply QM in practice of social work. I particularly enjoyed reading the chapter showing that the role of the researcher is complimentary to the one of a social worker.

Professor Katarzyna Dominika Kajdanek
Social Work , Uniwersytet Wrocławski
September 29, 2015

Easy to read and understand. Allows the student to obtain a basic understanding of qualitative research in social work.

Mrs Bridget Main
Joint School of Specialist Welfare, Ministry of Defence
April 13, 2015

This book is highly recommended for any student undergraduate or post graduate who are tasked with undertaking a small piece of research or interested qualitative research as the title suggests.

Each chapter will connect to the reader through the way that it is explained and provides a good grasp on the different areas to consider in undertaking research in this chosen area.

Mr Robert Bielby
faculty of health and social care sciences, Kingston University
January 24, 2015

A very helpful book - it will be recommended on all our research methods reading lists.

Dr Tish Marrable
School for Social Work and Social Care, Sussex University
September 22, 2014

This is an excellent text for social work students undertaking qualitative research for their dissertations. It is thoughtful and reflective, has plenty of useful case studies which helpfully bring the theoretical ideas alive, and provides fascinating insights into the history and current use of qualitative research in social work. I will certainly be using this text in teaching and recommending it to students.

Dr Heather Ottaway
School for Policy Studies, Bristol Univ.
September 15, 2014

Useful for Masters and PhD research students

Professor Viviene Cree
School of Social & Political Studies, Edinburgh Univ.
July 21, 2014

Ian Shaw

Dr. Ian Shaw is S R Nathan Professor of Social Work at National University of Singapore and Professor Emeritus at the University of York, England. He was the first chair of the European Social Work Research Association (ESWRA) and a founder editor of the journal Qualitative Social Work. He has authored almost 100 peer-reviewed papers, more than 20 books, 60 book chapters, and various research reports. He has written extensively in the journals on issues arising from the relationship between social work and sociology over the last century. His more recent books include Social Work Science (2016) and Research and the Social Work Picture ... More About Author

Sally Holland

I am a Reader in Social Work in Cardiff University's School of Social Sciences, and a former social worker in the field of child and family social work. Previously I was a practitioner in the voluntary and statutory sectors. I have extensive experience of conducting qualitative research projects in social work and have investigated issues related to looked after children, assessment of parenting, family group conferences, child neglect, involving fathers and community safeguarding. I have used a range of qualitative methods to explore these topics, including participative research with children, ethnography, mobile methods, life history... More About Author

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