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Qualitative Methods in Social Work Research

Qualitative Methods in Social Work Research

Third Edition

May 2016 | 352 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Qualitative Methods in Social Work Research provides accessible, how-to instruction for carrying out rigorous qualitative research. The thoroughly revised Third Edition offers a comprehensive introduction to qualitative methods based on six major approaches: ethnography, grounded theory, case study, narrative, phenomenological, and participatory action research. Readers will appreciate the book’s ease of use, friendly writing style, and helpful cases/examples that combine attention to methodological rigor with pragmatic concerns for real-world relevance. 
Chapter 1: Qualitative Methods in Context
Differences From and Similarities With Quantitative Methods

The Intellectual Life Course of Qualitative Methods

The Formative Years

The Rise of Quantification and Operationalism

Epistemological Differences Among Qualitative Researchers

The Pragmatic Middle Ground

Evidence-Based Practice and Implementation Science

Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks in Qualitative Inquiry

Some Are a Better Fit Than Others

Analytic Induction and Abduction: Nondeductive Thinking

The Importance of Concepts

The Place and Timing of Theories in Qualitative Studies

Reasons for Doing Qualitative Research

Desirable Qualities and Skills in the Qualitative Researcher-as-Instrument

Studying the Familiar Versus the Unfamiliar

Values and Social Responsibility in Qualitative Research

Introducing the New York Services Study (NYSS) and the New York Recovery Study (NYRS)

Chapter 2: Choosing the Right Qualitative Approach(es)
Six Primary Approaches in Qualitative Research


Grounded Theory

Case Study Analysis

Narrative Approaches

Phenomenological Analysis

Action and Community-Engaged Research

The Six Approaches Revisited: Change over Time

Mixing and Matching Qualitative Approaches: Risks and Benefits

Introducing Strategies for Rigor and Trustworthiness

Qualitative Methods in Program Evaluation and Implementation Research

Chapter 3: Designing the Study and Getting Started
Prologue: Addressing Ethical Considerations Early On

Flexible and Iterative Designs

Choosing the Topic and Making the Argument

Reviewing the Literature

Developing a Conceptual Framework

Formulating Research Questions

Designing the Study

Questions Posed (and Needing Answers) by Qualitative Research Designs

The Element of Time

Specific Aspects of Qualitative Designs

Using Multiple Qualitative Methods at Different Levels

Sampling and Selection Strategies

Sample Size Considerations

Recruiting and Retaining Study Participants

How Many Interviews? Issues of Quantity and Quality

Getting Permission(s) and Obtaining Rapport

Presentation of Self

Issues of Identity: Gender, Age, Race/Ethnicity, and Social Class

Chapter 4: Ethical and Emotional Issues in Qualitative Research
Deception and Disclosure

Informed Consent

Coercion and “Deformed” Consent

Confidentiality and Privacy

Distress and Emotional Harm

Incentives, Payback, and Maintaining Goodwill

Institutional Review Boards and Qualitative Research

Dealing With Moral Ambiguity and Risk

Ethical Issues in Community-Engaged Research

Ethical Issues in Cross-National Research

Taking it Personally: Emotions in Qualitative Research

Socially Responsible Research as Ethical Research

Chapter 5: Data Collection: Observation, Interviewing and Use of Documents
Observation in Qualitative Studies

“Doing” Observation: The Best (and Only True) Way to Learn

Recording Observational Data

In-Depth Interviewing

Critiques of Interviewing: Realism and Authenticity

Informal Field Interviews

Focus Group Interviews

Individual Interviews

Linked Interviews

Interviewing Children and Other Vulnerable Populations

Key Informant, Elite, and Expert Interviews

Developing the Interview Guide

Elicitation Techniques in Qualitative Interviews

Interview Guides for Second (and Third) Interviews

A Few Guidelines for Starting Out

Conducting the Interview: The Importance of Probes

After the Interview

Matching Interviewers to Respondents: The Effects of Age, Gender, Race, and Other Characteristics

Common Problems and Errors in Qualitative Interviewing

Emotional Issues in Interviewing

Interviewing in a Non-English Language

Interviewing Across the Digital Landscape

Use of Audio and Video Recorders

Using Documents and Other Archival Materials

Ending Data Collection

Chapter 6: Data Analysis
Data Management: Dealing With Volume Early On

Using Qualitative Data Analysis (QDA) Software

Teams, Multiple Users, and Cross-Site Databases

Transcribing Interviews

Translating and Transcribing in a Non-English Language

Qualitative Data Analysis: Beginning The Search for Meaning

Case Summaries

Theories and Concepts in Qualitative Data Analysis

Data Analysis in Diverse Qualitative Approaches

Content Analysis

Ethnography and Data Analysis

Case Study Analysis

Data Analysis in Narrative Approaches

Phenomenological Analyses

Action and Community-Based Participatory Research

Analysis in Longitudinal Designs

Analyzing Visual Data


Varied Approaches to Coding and Co-Coding

Starting Out: Identifying Code-Worthy Material

Labeling Coded Material and Developing a Codebook

Documenting Coding Procedures

Comparing and Contrasting: Memo Writing as Forward Motion

Secondary Analyses of Qualitative Data

Hybrid and Mixed Qualitative Approaches

Chapter 7: Interpretation: Recognizing Salience
The Role of the Researcher(s)

Framing Devices to Assist in Interpretation

Using Qualitative Data Analysis (QDA) Software for Interpretation


Bringing Theor(ies) In

An Example of a Conceptual Schema

Salience Through Absence: What is Not Said (or Seen)

Feminist and Other Critiques in Interpretation

Rhetorical Devices

Negative Case Analysis and Disconfirmation

The Six Approaches Revisited

Qualitative Meta-Synthesis as Meta-Interpretation

In Pursuit of Methodological Transparency

Chapter 8: Strategies for Rigor and Trustworthiness
Evaluating Qualitative Research: Standards and Strategies

Evaluative Criteria and External Standards

In the Eye of the Beholder?

Attending to Rigor and Trustworthiness

The Meaning(s) of Generalizability in Qualitative Methods

Threats to the Trustworthiness of Qualitative Studies

Strategies for Rigor in Qualitative Research

Prolonged Engagement

Triangulation of Data

Peer Debriefing and Support

Member Checking

Negative Case Analysis

Auditing—Leaving a Decision Trail

Strategies for Rigor Applied to the Six Qualitative Approaches

Dilemmas of Rigor in Action-Oriented Research

Appraising Quality: The Rise of Checklists, Criteria and Guidelines

In Search of the Big Tent: Balancing Rigor and Relevance

Chapter 9: Telling the Story: Writing the Qualitative Study
Preparing to Write: Key Decision Points

Identifying the Audience

The Researcher’s Role in the Report

Using Numbers in the Report

Authorship and Coauthorship Decisions

Authorship in and From Dissertations: A Negotiation With Few Rules

Organizing the Report—Key Components

Qualitative Reports Across the Diverse Approaches

Balancing Description and Interpretation

Writing Stance and Style

Rhetorical Devices Suited to Qualitative Studies

Writing Style: Rhythm and Grab

Use of Metaphors and Other Tropes

Challenges and Rewards of Publishing

Criteria for Review: The Qualitative Dilemma

Chapter 10: Mixed Methods
The Epistemology Question in Mixed Methods

The Rise of Mixed Methods and Their Rationale(s)

Integrating Mixed Methods

Types of Mixed Methods Designs

Sequential Designs

Concurrent Designs

Complicated Designs

Mixed Methods: Ways of Going About It

Structural and Design Decisions: What, When, and How?

Incorporating Existing Measures Into Qualitative Interviews

Quantifying Qualitative Data

Examples of Mixed Methods Studies: Implementation and Action Research

Writing the Mixed Methods Report

Challenges for Mixed Methods Studies

Mixed Method Approaches to Program and Practice Evaluation

Appendix: Writing a Qualitative Methods Proposal for External Funding
Finding the Right Fit With Funding Priorities

Getting Past the Catch–22

Setting the Stage

Questions From Proposal Reviewers

Budgeting Time and Resources

Twenty Tips for Writing the Proposal

About the Author

“Padgett is the ultimate ‘pro’ researcher, methods expert, and communicator. This is the one book you need for master's study, professional practice research, doctoral study, and your continuing research agenda!”

Roberta Iversen
University of Pennsylvania

“Dr. Padgett’s text Qualitative Methods in Social Work Research is informative and easy for students to read and understand. The book offers clear advice to students about how to design and execute qualitative research studies.” 

Bruce Winston, Regent University

“Padgett uses her extensive experience to expertly achieve two seemingly contradictory ends: educate about the conceptual underpinnings of qualitative research methods, and provide the concrete steps needed to carry them out. As a research discipline that is often not fully understood by many, Qualitative Methods in Social Work Research will be appreciated by academics and students alike.”

Jessica Toft
University of St. Thomas and St. Catherine University

“Padgett knows how to make students and even lecturers curious about qualitative methods and she copes in her book very well the gap between an overview and a deeper understanding of research methods.”

Armin Schneider
University of Applied Sciences Koblenz

The book offers a good overview of qualitative methods that can be used within and beyond the field of social work- I think students struggling with the aims and methods of qualitative research can find it very helpful

Dr Mei Trueba
Health , Brighton and Sussex Medical School
September 13, 2016

A very informative and accessible resource for research and teaching!

Dr Gianina-Ioana Postavaru
Psychology, Bishop Grosseteste University
October 4, 2016

Received too late for current class. However, I would strongly recommend this text for any social research methods class. The book is filled with excellent examples and wonderful suggested readings at the end of each chapter. This is one of the most comprehensive approaches to qualitative research methods I have ever read. I believe this text would serve upper-division undergraduates and grasduate stduents very well.

Mr Billy Brocato
Sociology Dept, Texas A & M Univ-Clg Station
September 12, 2016

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 2

Chapter 6

Deborah Kay Padgett

Dr. Deborah K. Padgett is widely known for her expertise in qualitative and mixed methods including this third edition and a companion text Qualitative and Mixed Methods in Public Health (Sage, 2012). She is first author of Housing First: Ending Homelessness, Transforming Systems and Changing Lives (Oxford University Press, 2015) and has published extensively on mental health needs and service use of homeless adults and other underserved populations. Dr. Padgett was Principal Investigator on two NIMH-funded R01 grants, both qualitative studies of engagement and recovery among formerly homeless adults in supportive housing in New York... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781452256702