While there is benefit to acquiring knowledge for its own sake, social work research and program evaluations are not merely academic exercises. Both social work research and the various types of program evaluations you have studied throughout this course should be used to directly improve day-to-day practice and service to clients. Social workers have the responsibility not only to conduct program evaluations and research but also share the knowledge they possess for the benefit of others. Modern technologies have given social workers the ability to quickly and easily share the results of their research and evaluation to improve social work practice on a large scale.
This week you analyze the process of sharing evaluation results with others. You also analyze the applicability of what you have learned in this course to your future as a social work student and working professional.
Discussion 1: Translating Knowledge From an Evaluation Report
Instructors and professors often comment that they learn much more about their subject matter when they begin to teach it. When they try to explain the topic to someone else they begin to connect concepts in new ways. They anticipate questions that students might ask, consider different viewpoints, and think more critically.
For this Discussion, take the perspective of someone who is instructing his or her colleagues and sharing your understanding of research methods and program evaluation.
To prepare for the Discussion, select an evaluation report from this week’s resources. Consider how you would present the information to a group of colleagues. (Evaluation Doc Attached)
Post an analysis of how you would present the results of the evaluation to a group of social work colleagues. Identify the background information that you think they would need and the key message of your presentation. Explain the strategies that you might use to meet your colleagues’ interests and goals. Identify questions that your colleagues might have and what their reactions might be.
Discussion 2: Contemplating Your Future
The NASW Code of Ethics makes a number of statements about social workers’ responsibility to study, use, and engage in research and evaluation. In the past, many social workers had difficulty thinking of themselves as knowledgeable and capable in research, despite completing the required research course in school. Think of yourself as a part of a new breed of social workers. You are completing your education at a point in time that places great emphasis on both research and evaluation. You also have greater access to published research than ever before. Research knowledge and skills are like muscles—if you do not use them, they will atrophy. You have an ethical obligation as a social worker to exercise and flex your research muscle. Consider how the NASW Code of Ethics guides your professional research.
Post an analysis of how you can apply new knowledge and skills related to research and evaluation, acquired in this course to your future career. Identify specific knowledge and strategies and how you intend to apply them. Identify those skills that you believe will be most applicable to achieving your future goals.