Approved by Faculty Senate.
Winona State University
Social Work 480- Integrative Social Work Seminar
NOTE: This is Writing Flag Course Forty Percent of the Course Grade is based on Writing Skill
Term: Spring, 2002 Office: ST 129
Instructor: Cathy Jo Faruque, Ph.D. DAPA, LICSW Office Hrs: M, W, F
CATALOG DESCRIPTION: In-depth discussion and examination of practice dilemma, issues, and policies in professional social work practice. This course is taken concurrently with SW475 Social Work Practicum. 3 S.H. Prerequisite: Admission to the Program.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is the culmination of the academic experience and provides the opportunity to relate social work theory to practice. This course provides the student with the opportunity to utilize critical thinking skills in the areas of: 1) Self-awareness; 2) Relationships with others in human service organizations and communities; 3) Social work theories and the relationship of working effectively with vulnerable and diverse populations; and 4) Social policy as it impacts the individual, the organization, and the community. This is accomplished through your written and oral reflections on events observed or experienced in practicum; through the process of conducting and analyzing your action research project; and by exploring how social work concepts can help you work effectively with vulnerable and diverse populations in society.
At the end of this course the student will be able to:
1. Demonstrated critical thinking and high resolution problem solving skills within the context of professional social work practice and social work research (Program Curriculum Objective [CO] 1, A,B,C).
2. Demonstrated ability to work within social work ethics and values (CO 2, A,B,C).
3. Demonstrated skills as a professional through the understanding of conscious use of professional self and understanding of empathic skills (CO 4, 13, A,B,C).
4. Identification and analysis of various social change strategies within a generalist social work perspective (CO 8, A,B,C).
5. Demonstrated ability to apply social work theoretical frameworks to understanding interactions among micro, mezzo, macro, and chrono systems (CO 10, A,B,C).
6. Identification and analysis of the impact of social policies on client systems, social workers, agencies, and communities (CO 11, A,B,C).
7. Demonstrated ability to complete research and evaluative studies and to work with field placement supervisors and staff to apply findings to social work practice (CO 12, C).
8. Demonstrated ability in functioning effectively within organizations and social service delivery systems (CO 15, A,C).
9. Identification, analysis and application of social work principles in organizational change (CO 15, A,C).
Writing Flag Requirements:
Written Flag Assignments:
Discussion (including applications to the field), lecture, videos, guest speakers, and experiential and divergent activities. Students are expected to be able to list and discuss key points of assigned readings at each class section. It is the responsibility of each student to keep up with his or her reading, reflective logs, and draft work of the capstone research project.
Students graded "A"-Student work is excellent. Papers are turned in on the due date, spelling and grammar is correct. Student written work shows attention to detail and the work is well prepared and proofed before turning it in. APA format is used and student uses adequate resource materials from the library. All criteria explained in the assignment are thoroughly covered. Facts are backed up with research and options are clearly stated as such. Presentations are well prepared and student covers the expected material in the time that was allotted. Presentations are completed on the due date and the student is able to address the class with extensive eye contact. Instructor will provide written feedback to students on the capstone research assignment, including areas for improvement. Students attend all the classes or misses only one or two classes with advanced notice to the instructor. Absences and tardiness is minimal and with a valid excuse. All attempts are made to make up missed work or complete extra assignments in a timely manner and with advanced approval of the instructor.
Students graded "B"-Student work is very good. Papers are turned in on the due date. Spelling and grammar are very well done with minimal errors. Student shows attention to the requirements of the written assignments. APA format is used and the student uses resources from the library. Criteria explained in the assignments are covered. Presentations are well done and cover the material in the time allowed. Students keep some eye contact with the audience during presentation. Instructor will provide written feedback to students on capstone research assignment, including areas for improvement. Student attends all classes or misses only one to three classes with a valid excuse and notice to the instructor. Absences and tardiness are minimal. Attempts are made to make up missed work.
Students graded "C"-Student work is good. Papers are turned in on due dates, spell check was done to ensure minimal errors. APA format was used and students appropriately cite material used. Criteria explained in the assignment are covered, but perhaps not as thoroughly as it could have been. Presentations are completed, but areas of the presentation are not covered, or student appears unprepared. Instructor will provide written feedback to students on the capstone research assignment, including areas for improvement. Students attends the class, but has missed three to four classes, which results in a zero for attendance and participation. Attempts are made to make up missed work.
Students graded "D"-Student work is below the average. Papers are not turned in on time or have extensive grammatical and spelling errors. APA format was not used and the student may have failed to site used resources, or not use any resources at all. Opinion and fact are blurred throughout the assignment. Presentations are not well prepared and student reads the material to the class. Specific content areas in the written capstone research assignment were not addressed. Instructor will provide written feedback to students on written capstone research assignment, including areas for improvement. Student attends classes, but has missed four or more classes, resulting in a zero for attendance and participation. Attempts are not made to make up work.
Students graded "F"-Student work is far below the average. Papers are not turned in or turned in late. Students fail to complete assignments on time or as directed. The student does not complete or does not prepare for presentations. Instructor will provide written feedback to students on capstone research assignment, including areas for improvement. Attempts are not made to work with the instructor. Missed work is not made up.
1. Class Participation and Professional Responsibility: Each student is expected to attend all classes. Each week students are expected to bring to class an issue, which has surfaced in their practicum setting. This issue is to brought to class in writing and will vary from one to two pages in length. These issues may range from direct practice concerns with clients to indirect concerns pertaining to organizational or community matters. This weekly practice issue is to be turned in for credit or no credit and is to demonstrate some thought of the process or events that have occurred. Students must be prepared to expand in depth on the background of the issues they bring to class. Members of the class will be expected to work at responding pragmatically and theoretically to the issues they present and the issues presented by others. These issues will be the basis and foundation of group discussions.
WRITING FLAG: #1, 2, 3, 4 & 5.
20 PERCENT OF GRADE
2. Facilitation: Each student will co-facilitate the class each week on their own areas of expertise. Students are to identify the interplay between theory, practice and policies that effect the population chosen. Theoretical framework can be found in the weekly readings. Practice would involve the connection of your observations in the field placement to theory. The student is expected to connect the issue to outside environmental forces and policies that affect the identified population. The population topic should be related to the students practicum site as well as the research project focus. The expectations are to gather information from the Readings as well as three or four others written sources. The student is expected to develop a focused outline from which they can lead the group. This outline should be distributed to class members at the time of facilitation.
25 PERCENT OF GRADE
3. Reflective Log: Students are to bring in one case or emerging issue that is if importance in the practicum setting. Students are to share their issues/cases with the class in discussion each week.
WRITING FLAG: #1, 2, 3, 4 & 5.
10 PERCENT OF GRADE
4. Reading Assignments: Each student is expected to read the material in the Readings for the assigned week. Students should bring in writing two ideas, questions or comments relative to the material read. These papers are to be turned in each week.
WRITING FLAG: : #1, 2, 3, 4 & 5.
5 PERCENT OF GRADE
5. Research Project: Each student is expected to complete a research project in the practicum. The research paper is needed to complete integrative seminar. By the third week of seminar, the research proposal draft should be turned into the instructor. By the fifth week, the final proposal should be turned in. By the end of the ninth week, an initial draft of the first three sections of the research paper is to be submitted. By the eleventh week, the draft of the first three sections, along with the draft of the final section is to be completed. Drafts will be returned on twelfth week of class and students are expected to complete the necessary work for submission by the fourteenth week of class. After each draft, the instructor will provide you with feedback on writing skills and content of the work. Based on individual progress, students may be asked to turn in additional drafts. A pertinent part of research is being able to share dilemmas and successes of the process with your colleagues. Each Friday, students will submit on a separate sheet of paper, what they have accomplished that week on the research project and what their most immediate concern is as it relates to their research efforts. This paper will also be turned in for credit or no credit and focuses on the students progress to date.
WRITING FLAG: #1, 2, 3, 4 & 5.
40 PERCENT OF GRADE
EVALUATION CRITERIA: Social Work is an applied discipline wherein students are expected to think and analyze critically, divergently, conceptually, and practically. Expression of thinking, both oral and written, is expected to be carried out in a professional manner. Grades will be determined by the ability to use proper syntax, express ideas clearly and concisely, punctuate, spell, and employ symbolic and non-verbal modes of communication. Assignments are expected to be complete and turned in on the due date indicated in the syllabus. Without exception, late materials will be graded accordingly!
APA FORMAT REQUIRED: Papers are to be typed, double spaced, properly documented with appropriate citation of materials. Failure to properly cite materials is considered plagiarism. Plagiarized materials will be returned to the student as incomplete.
SPECIAL NOTE: If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share with the instructor, or if you need special arrangements in case the building has to be evacuated, please make an appointment to see the instructor as soon as possible.
Seminar Reader (2001). WSU Social Work Program.
National Association of Social Workers, (1996). Code of Ethics (revised).
Washington, DC: NASW Press.
**Arkava,M., (1983). Beginning Social Work Research. Boston, MA: Allyn
and Bacon Publishing Company.
**Bell,J., (1993). Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First Time Researchers in Education and Social Science, (2nd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Open University Press.
* Bloom, M., (1986). The Experience of Research. Ney York, NY:
**Brewer,J., (1989). Multi-method Research: A Synthesis of Styles. Newbury
Park, CA: Sage Publications.
**Brinkerhoff,R., (1983). Program Evaluation: A Practitioners Guide for Trainers and Educators. Boston, MA: Kluwer-Nijohoff Publishers.
**Chen,H., (1992). Using Theory to Improve Program and Policy Evaluations. New York, NY: Greenwood Press.
**Chen,H., & Rossi,P., (1992). Using Theory to Improve Program and Policy
Evaluations. New York, NY: Greenwood Press.
* Corcoran, K., & Fisher, J., (1987). Measures for Clinical Practice. New York, NY: Greenwood press.
*Everitt, A., Hardicker, P., Littlewood, J., & Mellender, A., (1992). Applied Research for Better Practice. New York, NY: MacMillian Publishing.
**Finley,J., (1996). The Sensitivity of the Uniform Needs Assessment Instrument in Detecting
Changes in Hospitalized Elderly Patients Needs from Admission to Discharge: A Secondary Analysis. Winona, MN: Winona State University Masters Thesis.
**Fowler,F., (1993). Survey Research Methods (2nd ed.). Newbury Park, CA:
* Ginsberg, L., Keys, P., (1995.) New Management in Human services (2nd ed.) Washington D.C: NASW Press.
**Goldstein,I., (1986). Training in Organizations: Needs Assessments, Development, and Evaluation (2nd ed.). Monterey, CA: Brooks-Cole Publishing Company.
**Grinnell,R., (1988). Social Work Research and Evaluation (3rd ed.). Itasca,
IL: Peacock Publishers.
**Hess,G., (1996). Testing the Feasibility of the Use of the Uniform Needs
Assessment Instrument: A Descriptive Study. Winona, MN: Winona
State University Masters Thesis.
**Howard,G., (1985). Basic Research Methods in the Social Sciences. Glenview, IL :Scott
* Kidder, L., (1981.) Research Methods in Social Relations (4th ed.) Chicago, IL: Holdt
**Lofland,J., (1995). Analyzing Social Settings: A Guide to Qualitative Observation and
Analysis (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Press.
**Mark,R., (1996). Research Made Simple: A Handbook for Social Workers.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
**Marshall,C., (1995). Designing Qualitative Research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks,
CA: Sage Publications.
**Olmsted County Needs Assessment Partnership, (1993). Compass: Setting
Directions for Human Services: Technical Report. Rochester, MN
**Orcutt,B., (1989). Science and Inquiry in Social Work Practice. New York, NY:
Columbia University Press.
**Rossi,P., (1989). Evaluation: A Systematic Approach. Newbury Park, CA:
* Shulman, L., (1993). Interactional Supervision. Washington D.C: NASW Press.
**Sherman,E., (1994). Qualitative Research in Social Work. New York, NY:
Columbia University Press.
* Simmons, J., McCall, G., (1985). Social Research: The Craft of Finding Out.
New York, NY: MacMillion Co.
**Task Force on Social Work Research, (1991). Building Social Work Knowledge
for Effective Services and Policies: A Plan for Research Development.
Austin, TX: Capital Printing Company.
*True, J., (1989). Finding Out: Conducting and Evaluating Social Research (2nd ed.)
Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Books.
**Witkin,B., (1984). Assessing Needs in Educational and Social Programs (1st ed.). San
Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
**Witkin,B., (1995). Planning and Conducting Needs Assessments: A Practical
Guide. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
**Yin,R., (1993). Applications of Case Study Research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage
**ALL OF THE ABOVE RECOMMENDED READING MATERIALS ARE AVAILABLE TO GODDARD LIBRARY
* ARE AVAILABLE IN THE SOCIAL WORK LIBRARY ST 129
Jan. 11, 2002:
TOPIC: Introductions and Expectations. Discussion of Course Requirements.
Jan. 18, 2002:
TOPIC: Beginning at the beginning identifying where to start.
Reading: Starting Where the Client is
Jan. 25, 2002: DRAFT RESEARCH PROPOSAL DUE
TOPIC: Issues of the Urban Poor.
Reading: The Fading Inner City Family
Feb. 1, 2002: RE-DRAFTS SUBMITTED (AS INSTRUCTED)
TOPIC: Co-Facilitation Assignment
Reading: Freshman English for College Students
Feb. 8, 2002: FINAL RESEARCH PROPOSAL DUE
TOPIC: Conflict Resolution
Reading: Managing Conflict
Feb. 15, 2002:
TOPIC: Co-Facilitation Assignment
Reading: Race Based Social Policy
Feb. 22, 2002:
TOPIC: Effects of Law and Politics on the Oppressed
Reading: Who Decides? Law and Politics at the Edges of Life
Mar. 1, 2002: TOPIC:
TOPIC: Co-Facilitation Assignment
Reading: Christmas at the Martinique Hotel
Mar. 8, 2002: SPRING BREAK-NO CLASSES
Mar. 15, 2002: DRAFT OF FIRST THREE CHAPTERS RESEARCH PROJECT DUE
TOPIC: Co-Facilitation Assignment
Reading: The Foundation of the Black Experience-Based Social Work: A Practice Model
Mar. 22, 2002: RE-DRAFTS SUBMITTED (AS INSTRUCTED)
TOPIC: Involuntary Clients
Reading: Forcing Services on At Risk Older Adults. When Doing Good is Not so Good.
Mar. 29, 2002: DRAFT OF FOURTH CHAPTER RESEARCH PROJECT DUE
TOPIC: Co-Facilitation Assignment
Reading: Case Management: An Advocacy/Empowerment Design.
Apr. 5, 2002: TOPIC: RE-DRAFTS SUBMITTED (AS INSTRUCTED)
TOPIC: Co-Facilitation Assignment
Reading: Life As an Alien
Apr. 12, 2002:
TOPIC: Discussion of Research Assignments Instructor/Peer Feedback Day
Apr. 19, 2002: FINAL RESEARCH PAPER IS SUBMITTED
TOPIC: Co-Facilitation Assignment
Reading: Toward a Competent Child Welfare Service Delivery System for Gay and Lesbian adolescents and their families.
Apr. 26, 2002:
TOPIC: Co-Facilitation Assignment
Reading: Jenny and Nikky: Crossing the Line
NO FINAL EXAMINATION SCHEDULED FOR THIS CLASS
GLOSSARY OF TERMS:
CONCEPTUAL ABILITY: The degree to which the student demonstrates the ability to conceptualize, abstract, think logically and organize ideas into a conceptual whole. Grades will be determined on the basis of the students ability to move across a continuum of abstraction to concreteness, to use convergent and divergent thinking processes, to integrate theory and practice, to deal with parts as well as the whole and to deal systematically with material in class.
CONSCIOUS USE OF PROFESSIONAL SELF: The degree to which the student carefully considers the interplay between personal and professional values, identifies factors of self that effect system change, and is cognizant of how others perceive professional stance.
CRITICAL THINKING: The degree to which the student demonstrates ability to evaluate and critique ideas. Grades will be determined by the way the student presents ideas, brings to bear his or her thinking in evaluating ideas, compares and contrasts ideas, or utilizes conceptual models as a means of evaluating and critiquing ideas.
CULTURALLY SENSITIVE AWARENESS:The degree to which the student carefully considers the level of biculturalism manifested by different ethnic and minority clients through corrective feedback and conceptual style.
DIRECT SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE: The degree to which the student is able to perform social work roles with individuals, families, groups, other professionals, organizations and institutions, and to act as an advocate and change agent in micro, macro, mezzo and chrono practices.
FACILITATIVE SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE: The degree to which the student is able to pinpoint factors that impede service delivery, plan and implement ways of enhancing service delivery and make recommendations to organizations, institutions, and bureaucracies for effective and positive change.
RESEARCH ABILITY:The degree to which the student demonstrates that the subject matter has been adequately researched. Grades will be determined by the ability to demonstrate in the assignments that material supports knowledge building by using empirical research, theory, and practice wisdom, and that differing view are reflected when appropriate.
SELF DETERMINATION: The degree to which the student understands the principles and asserts the rights of people to carry out actions in their own best interests as long as those interests do not impose or threaten the well-being of others. The student values freedom of choice and protects the rights of people to make their own decisions when they have the capacity to do so.
SKILLS COMPETENCIES: The degree to which the student is able to engage clients, develop rapport and trust in the helping relationship, engage in appropriate self disclosure, give and receive feedback, help clients attribute meaning to their experiences, and the ability to apply ethical and legal standards of practice.
MEDICAL EMERGENCIES: If a serious injury or illness occurs, call 9-911. Provide the buildings name and address; the most suited entry into the building; have someone meet emergency personnel at the entrance. Provide the victims exact location in the building, the symptoms or problem, and the victims name if known.
Call WSU Security (7262) and give the name of the building and exact location of the medical emergency. Assist the victim until help arrives. If you or someone in the area is trained in CPR, perform CPR or rescue breathing if appropriate. Stop bleeding with direct pressure to the wound. Do not move a victim unless his or her life is in immediate danger if not moved. Do not leave victims unattended.
If the person is transported to the hospital, the cost of the ambulance is the responsibility of the "patient." If the "patient" refuses transport, there is no charge. Also, if there is not a need to transport the "patient" to the hospital, there will not be a charge. There is a charge to the "patient" for any supplies used by the ambulance services.
BUILDING EVACUATIONS: Leave by the nearest safe exit when you hear the building emergency alarm or if you are told to do so by University Police.
Take keys, books, wallets, billfolds, purses, prescription medications and important personal belongings with you in case the building cannot be re-entered immediately. Move at least 50 feet away from all structures.
Use the stairs. Stairwells are safe, temporary havens for the injured and disabled. Do not use elevators. Many times elevators will stop in place in cases of fire or electrical storm and you may be trapped.
Re-enter the building only when University Police or Emergency Personnel tell you that it is safe to do so.
FIRES, TORNADOES AND OTHER DISASTERS: Call 9-911 for Police or Emergency Medical Personnel. Give your name, the nature of the emergency and your specific location. Stay on line until the Police Dispatcher tells you to hang up.
Use the fire extinguishers for minor fires. If a fire appears out of control, close all room doors to confine the fire and evacuate the area or building.
Remain calm during a natural disaster. Move away from exterior walls, windows, overhead lights, etc. Do not leave the building unless safe to do so. Move to a clear area well away from structures or overhead hazards such as trees or power lines.
Help disabled persons evacuate the building. Follow instructions of Police, Security, and Emergency Medical Personnel.
The Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education at WSU
Winona State University Resources
To Call the Winona Campus Dial 1-800-Dial-WSU and the Four Digit Number
The Student Answer Center
Lower Level Kryzsko Commons/Student Union
Academic Skills Center
Howell Hall 133
Advising and Retention Center
Somsen Hall 14
Cultural Diversity Office
WINGS (Winona Graduate Skills Electronic Portfolio)
Main Campus Library 126
The Writing Center
Minne Hall 340
Somsen Hall 206A
GUIDELINES FOR CAPSTONE RESEARCH PROJECT
Name of Project
Seminar Instructor Name
Statement of Problem
Analysis and Evaluation of Findings
This is the framework to your research. Discuss how you became involved in this research and give a brief overview of the study.
What was your initial inquiry? Has this changed over time or as you collected more data? Were there any additional questions that arose during the data collection process?
Prepare a minimum of five to ten literature reviews. Spell out clearly main theories and explanations that are generally accepted and that debates may exist between theories and the uncertainties that exist in your area of research. State the importance your research perspective has on the main theories presented. The review should include those works that are most relevant to your work. Many writers organize their literature review by themes. The themes can center on different theories, historical sequence, or any other kind of categories that bring order to the material. You want to present this in an even flow. You can use headings to identify different sections or themes. Dividing your reviews into sections saves you from the problems of awkward transitions from one to another. Headings also organize the material into shorter, more useable blocks for the review. After all the selected literature has been reviewed, a final section should be added that pulls as many of your themes together as possible, or summarizes trends in a concise manner. Contradictions and uncertainties should be highlighted. The significance of your study in light of other research should be emphasized. The reader should feel that your review of the literature has added up to something that a justification for your research has been made and that suggested directions for further research in the field are needed.
This section describes the methods you used to accomplish your goals. Describe your design and the rationale for your research design, instruments, and methods of data collection and analysis. The methodology section includes the following:
- RESTATE THE PROBLEM: This sets the stage for the hypothesis of expected outcomes and provides the context for describing the methodology.
- EXPECTATIONS: Research that relies on statistical methods of data analysis generally state research expectations in terms of a hypothesis. Research utilizing interpretative methods of analysis generally describes findings, outcomes, or conclusions in a discursive form. The completed research may yield different or additional findings from the ones you anticipated initially.
- DESCRIPTION: Expand on your description of methodology used. Consult your research textbooks for further help in this area.
- OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS OF VARIABLES: Discuss all variables within your study. How are the variables measured?
- MATERIALS: Provide a description of each of the written materials or the equipment you used in your research. Complete copies of such should be included in the appendices. If these are copyrighted materials, discuss their authorized use. If there are detailed instructions for the subjects, include this in your appendices.
- SELECTION OF SUBJECTS: How were your subjects obtained? What characteristics were necessary to make a person a candidate for this research project? (i.e., age, race, gender).
- PROCEDURES: Describe the steps taken in carrying out this research. If your research utilized subjects, what is the demographical data of the subjects? This includes things like gender, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or other relevant data.
- DISCUSSION OF DATA ANALYSIS: How did you score, collect, record, and analyze data? If you used special forms or records to do this, include it in your appendices. If you utilized statistical measures, specify the tests you used. If this is a qualitative study, you want to discuss how the data was processed and analyzed.
- METHODOLOGICAL ASSUMPTIONS AND LIMITATIONS: Discuss your limitations frankly and honestly. All studies have limitations many have limitations because of sampling methods. Data collected on subjects have limited applicability to the larger population. Many research instruments have limitations. Your research textbooks should be consulted to help you in completing this section.
This section is a collection of all that you have discovered. You should first report your findings without discussion of the results. The interpretation should be reserved for the next section.
In this section, first interpret your results in light of the theories and conceptual framework that you originally identified in your research proposal. Then connect your findings with prior studies from your literature review. Compare and contrast the results and make clear how this field of inquiry is affected by your study.
Discuss each of the research questions. Answer each question and indicate how your findings impact these issues. Discuss recommendations for further study or questions that you have left unanswered.
This is the references that you used. The bibliography should be done in APA format.
Include all the materials that support your research design and implementation. Copies of surveys, tests, written instructions, and other materials should be included.
Choosing a Research Project
One way to take some of the "edge" or fear out of the need to complete a research project is to see your topic as a point of departure instead of an end point. Many new researchers have the habit of selecting a topic on the basis of their perception about the amount of information available about the topic.
This is often done because the new researcher is anxious about the fact of having to write a long paper "Will I have enough information to complete a XX number of page paper?" The reasoning in this line of logic should not be the basis for conducting research. The truth of the matter is, most researchers collect so much data they have more than they need to complete a project or paper!
With this in mind CHOOSE A TOPIC THAT YOU HAVE SOME TYPE OF PERSONAL INTEREST OR INVESTMENT IN! The researcher wants to have a sense of personal satisfaction about the completion of a project and hence, the topic should be on something you want to know more about.
Example for Formulation of a Research Question
Once you have a topic in mind, it is time to narrow it down and identify a research question or questions. The research question is the specific question you have about your topic. The assumption of your answer to that question or more aptly put, the assumption you have about the answer to that question. The assumption will eventually become a working hypothesis or a statement of your assumption that can be tested.
ASSUMPTION: RESEARCH QUESTION:
When I am driving to work, I notice Why are people spending money to fix up
that houses in some of the run down these old houses? Are they living in them?
parts of town are being renovated. There Are people fixing up old houses only in this
must be a reason why people are putting town or is it happening in other cities as
money into these dumps. well? What are the economics behind this
type of urban renewal? Are there tax
incentives? Are governments providing
financial help? What is happening to the
people who lived here before? Where do
they find affordable housing?
In some cases, you may find that you have very limited knowledge about the subject and your initial assumption is, "Id like to know more about XYZ " In this instance, you will need to begin by doing an initial literature review to learn more about XYZ and what you would like to explore further. Make notes to yourself while doing this initial inquiry begin by brainstorming some possible questions that you might wish to pursue.
Formulation of a Working Hypothesis
At this point, you are "testing an assumption." In effect, you are not saying that, "This is the right answer and now I must prove it is the right answer." Rather, you are saying, "Is this the right answer and what steps must I take to prove or disprove it?"
When looking at an assumption and a working hypothesis, the researcher should ask, "Do the facts or evidence support the assumption that I am making about the reasons why people are investing in remodeling of older homes in urban neighborhoods?" At the end of a project, the researcher will answer the question in one of three ways:
Now, take a step back, and ask yourself why you chose the subject you did. Do you have some personal bias or judgment about this subject matter? What are they? Lets look at the example again that I gave on gentrification. Maybe I think that living in the inner city is only for "certain" types of people. Or maybe I am concerned that the poorer people will be moving into "my neighborhood", as they are being driven out of the city. If I have a desire to stop this gentrification, what is it that I am really wanting? Am I concerned about the poorer people not having affordable housing? Am I concerned about segregation or perhaps integration? Does this have to do with my views on community and neighborhood?
Looking at our personal reactions, bias and judgments can help to clarify what motivates us to research a particular subject, as well as prepare us to be extra careful in formulation of a conclusion that is not based on the evidence.
Formulation of the hypothesis is based on your initial assumption minus personal bias or judgment and with clarification of terms.
Define what your terms mean. What is meant by "gentrification"? What is an "inner-city neighborhood"? What do I mean by "poorer people"? and what is "disadvantaged"?
Lets assume that my underlying reasoning for this research is that I have become concerned about the gentrification of inner city urban areas that will leave little or no affordable housing for the poor. My working hypothesis would then be:
"The gentrification of inner city neighborhoods has left the poor and disadvantaged without affordable housing in this city."
Additional Writing Assignments for Seminar
REFLECTIVE LOG: This is central to the learning process of Seminar. The reflective log will enable you to think back on the events and the readings, which are currently part of your work world. The purpose of this process include:
Each week, the reflections should cover the following areas:
The reflective log should be on loose leaf paper and each weeks writings are to be submitted to the instructor. It is acceptable to share these logs with your peers; however, this is left to your discretion. Each week, the logs will be returned to students indicating whether it was acceptable (pass) or unacceptable (needs to be re-done).
CLASS PREPARATION: Each student should bring in writing an issue or concern that this surfaced in the practicum setting. This does not need to be a significant issue, but it should be something the student has been thinking about. It issue should be one page in length. These issues may range from direct practice concerns with clients as well as indirect items pertaining to organizational and community matters. Students need to be prepared to expand in depth on the background and the issues, which they bring to class each week. Class members will be expected to work at responding pragmatically and theoretically to the issues and then pragmatically to other situations which others students are experiencing. In many instances, these issues will evolve into in-depth case studies.
Further, each week there will be one, forty-five minute facilitation and discussion related to the student practicum sites as well as the focus on the research project. The expectations are to gather information from at least six to nine written sources, (i.e., professional journals and texts). From these sources, the original research data and practicum experiences of the individual is to develop a focused outline from which to lead the group as well as to make available the outline and bibliography of your research to fellow seminar members. As the student prepares a research outline, think about what the classmates need t o know to be useful in being of service to this population and to vulnerable people in general. Class members are to have read pertinent readings, supplied by the facilitators and placed on reserve in the library prior to each weeks class. The students should bring at least two ideas, questions, or comments in writing relative to the materials. This should be turned in each week as part of the reflection process.