Social service agencies are facing the same expectations in quality management and outcomes as private companies, compelling staff members and researchers to provide and interpret valid and useful research to stakeholders at all levels in the field. Child welfare agencies are particularly scrutinized. In this textbook, two highly experienced researchers offer the best techniques for conducting sound research in the field. Covering not only the methodological challenges but also the real-life constraints of research in child welfare settings, Amy J. L. Baker and Benjamin J. Charvat present a volume that can be used both for general research methods and as a practical guide for conducting research in the field of child welfare.
Baker and Charvat devote an entire chapter to ethical issues involved in researching children and their families and the limits of confidentiality within this population. They weave a discussion of ethics throughout the book, and each chapter begins with a scenario that presents a question or problem to work through, enabling readers to fully grasp the methods in the context of a specific setting or area of concern. Special sections concentrate on the value of continuous quality-improvement activities, which enable the collection and analysis of data outside of the strictures of publishable research, and the implementation of program evaluations, which can be helpful in obtaining further research and programmatic funding.