You are here

Research Design in Social Work

Research Design in Social Work
Qualitative and Quantitative Methods

First Edition

October 2016 | 168 pages | Learning Matters
Social work research often focuses on qualitative designs and many students believe that the quantitative research pathway is either too complicated or is beyond their grasp. This book outlines how social work students can undertake a research project from either a qualitative, quantitative or mixed methodological approach. The authors introduce key concepts in an accessible and structured manner and go on to demonstrate each of the approaches from inception of research idea, to realisation of methodological approach, to research process, to data analysis and conclusion.

More than just another research text, this book remains grounded in social work practice and has clear links to the Professional Capabilities Framework for Social Work.


Reviewing the literature
Selecting your research method
Sampling techniques in quantitative and qualitative research
Qualitative data gathering
Qualitative data analysis
Introduction to quantitative methods
What does it all mean? Exploring quantitative data analysis
Presenting results and findings
Drawing out the discussion, conclusions and recommendations

This is an easy to read comprehensive introduction to social science research methods. The textbook makes specific connections to social work and provides clear explanations of research concepts.

Dr Katheryn Margaret Pascoe
Health Sciences/Social Work, Cardiff Metropolitan University
July 6, 2022

Coverage of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods, which is very welcome in a social work text.

Mr Peter Simcock
School of Social Work, Birmingham City University
February 22, 2021

A very practical ready reference for students and practitioners.

Mrs Ruth Thacker
Social Science , University of Suffolk
October 13, 2016

Anne Campbell

Anne Campbell is Lecturer in Social Work at Queens University, Belfast. She is responsible for co-ordinating a Master’s programme in Social Work studies and is also involved in teaching social work students at Undergraduate level. She has supervised and mentored a wide range of research students at Undergraduate, Masters and PHD levels over a number of years. She is also involved in developing knowledge-based and interactive e- learning tools for practice, research and social work education. She is currently active in research on drug and alcohol issues within regional and international contexts and online applications for social work... More About Author

Brian J. Taylor

Brian J. Taylor is Professor of Social Work at Ulster University in Northern Ireland, where he has the lead role for research in social work. He spent 10 years in practice and 15 years in professional training and organisation development in social work before moving to the university. He teaches research methods to Ph.D. students and to experienced social workers undertaking postgraduate, post-qualifying study. He was module coordinator for an innovative Introduction to Evidence Based Practice module on the B.Sc. qualifying social work programme. Brian leads the university social work research cluster on Decision, Assessment, Risk and... More About Author

Anne McGlade

Anne McGlade has been Social Care Research Lead for the Social Care and Children’s Directorate, Health and Social Care Board since October 2013. She is the lead on the development of the Research and Continuous Improvement Strategy (2015–2020) In Pursuit of Excellence in Evidence Informed Social Work Services in Northern Ireland. She has a long-standing career working in research and evaluation research in health and social care and other settings in England and Northern Ireland. She has a keen interest in the needs of older people, people with disabilities and people from black and minority ethnic groups. She has undertaken and published... More About Author

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9781446271247
ISBN: 9781446271230

SAGE Knowledge is the ultimate social sciences digital library for students, researchers, and faculty. Hosting more than 4,400 titles, it includes an expansive range of SAGE eBook and eReference content, including scholarly monographs, reference works, handbooks, series, professional development titles, and more.

The platform allows researchers to cross-search and seamlessly access a wide breadth of must-have SAGE book and reference content from one source.