The Nature and Usefulness of Qualitative Social Work Research: Some Thoughts and an Invitation to Dialogue

Jane F Gilgun, Laura S. Abrams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this commentary, the authors respond to challenges that Denzin's article poses. (See Denzin, this issue.) We draw upon our own experiences as qualitative social work researchers to reflect upon several issues, such as personal connections with research participants; the match between qualitative approaches and the complexities of practice; the roles of values such as social justice and empowerment; the centrality of theories; and the benefits of methodological pluralism. We agree with Denzin that social work has applied feminist, emancipatory, and culturally-based pluralistic values and frames of reference and that qualitative research can implement these values. To fully realize what qualitative approaches offer, however, members of the discipline must contend with obstacles related to opportunities for graduate training and for funding of qualitative research. We invite social workers and friends of social work to engage in dialogue about the nature and usefulness of qualitative research to social work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-55
Number of pages17
JournalQualitative Social Work
Volume1
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2002

Bibliographical note

Copyright:
Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • emancipatory research
  • qualitative research
  • qualitative social work research
  • social work values

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