Selection of a Statistical Analysis Approach

Learning Resources

Required Readings

Dudley, J. R. (2020). Social work evaluation: Enhancing what we do (3rd ed.) Oxford University Press.
Chapter 9, “Is the Intervention Effective?” (pp. 226–235: Read from “Determining a Causal Relationship” to “Outcome Evaluations for Practice”)

Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen S. (Eds.). (2014b). Social work case studies: Concentration year. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].
Read the following section:
“Social Work Research: Chi Square” (pp. 63–65)

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Selection of a Statistical Analysis Approach
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Document: Stocks, J. T. (2010). Statistics for social workers. In B. Thyer (Ed.), The handbook of social work research methods (2nd ed., pp. 75–118). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. (PDF)
Copyright 2010 by Sage Publications, Inc.
Reprinted by permission of Sage Publications, Inc. via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Trochim, W. M. K. (2006). Internal validity. Retrieved from http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/intval.php
Be sure to click on all the links in the narrative.

Document:Week 4: A Short Course in Statistics Handout (PDF)

Document: Week 4: Handout: Chi-Square findings (PDF)

Discussion: Selection of a Statistical Analysis Approach

Though data analysis occurs after the study has completed a data collection stage, the researcher needs to have in mind what type of analysis will allow the researcher to obtain an answer to a research question. The researcher must understand the purpose of each method of analysis, the characteristics that must be present in the study for the design to be appropriate and any weaknesses of the design that might limit the usefulness of the study results. Only then can the researcher select the appropriate design. Choosing the appropriate design enables the researcher to claim the data that is potential evidence that provides information about the relationship being studied. Notice that it is not the statistical test which tells us that research is valid, rather, it is the research design. Social workers must be aware of and adjust any limitations of their chosen design that may impact the validity of the study.

To prepare for this Discussion, review the handout, A Short Course in Statistics. If necessary, locate and review online resources concerning internal validity and threats to internal validity. Then, review the “Social Work Research: Chi Square” case study located in this week’s resources. Consider the confounding variables, that is, factors that might explain the difference between those in the program and those waiting to enter the program.

By Day 3

Post an interpretation of the case study’s conclusion that “the vocational rehabilitation intervention program may be effective at promoting full-time employment.” Describe the factors limiting the internal validity of this study, and explain why those factors limit the ability to draw conclusions regarding cause and effect relationships.

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