Working with data | SOCW 6311 – Social Work Practice Research II | Walden University

Statistical analysis software is a valuable tool that helps researchers perform the complex calculations. However, to use such a tool effectively, the study must be well designed. The social worker must understand all the relationships involved in the study. He or she must understand the study’s purpose and select the most appropriate design. The social worker must correctly represent the relationship being examined and the variables involved. Finally, he or she must enter those variables correctly into the software package. This assignment will allow you to analyze in detail the decisions made in the “Social Work Research: Chi Square” case study and the relationship between study design and statistical analysis. Assume that the data has been entered into SPSS and you’ve been given the output of the chi-square results. (See Week 4 Handout: Chi-Square findings).

To prepare for this Assignment, review the Week 4 Handout: Chi-Square Findings and Case Study (see below) and follow the instructions.

In the case study “Social Work Research: Chi Square”, Molly, an administrator with a regional organization asked a team of researchers to conduct an outcome evaluation of a new vocational rehabilitation program for recently paroled prison inmates (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014). The findings of the chi square showed that the vocational rehabilitation intervention program is effective in increasing the employment status of participants. These conclusions come from two groups, which are the first 30 participants (intervention group) and the waiting list 30 participants (comparison group). The vocational rehabilitation intervention program is effective due to 18 or 60.0% that are a part of the intervention group, have full-time employment.  The Chi Square also shows that out of the comparison group, 6 or 20.7% have full-time employment, but 16 or 55.2% do not have employment, and are not participating in the program. However, if the non-employment levels from the comparison group were affected (in the program), then the study shows that there is a greater chance for full-time employment for participants.

The factors limiting the internal validity of this study is that the researcher of this study observed the comparison group and the 30 (wait list) participants were not affected by this study. Internal validity is only relevant in studies that try to establish a causal relationship and is not relevant in most observational or descriptive studies (Trochim, 2006). The intervention group was affected due to, they are already participating in the program and benefiting from the program. This group was also observed. Factors that limits the ability to draw conclusions regarding cause and effect relationships are that the test only describes the relationship between two variables, which are employment levels and treatment condition.  The study does not discuss anything prior to when the paroles where prison inmates. Employment level outcome effectiveness for recently paroled prison inmates are being studied. It doesn’t tell what was done for the program for the participants to gain full-time employment, which shows construct validity (Trochim, 2006).

References

Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen S. (Eds.). (2014b). Social work case studies: Concentration year. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing.

Trochim, W. M. K. (2006). Internal Validity. Retrieved from http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/intval.php

Assignment 

Submit a 1-page paper of the following:

· An analysis of the relationship between study design and statistical analysis used in the case study that includes: 

o An explanation of why you think that the agency created a plan to evaluate the program

o An explanation of why the social work agency in the case study chose to use a chi square statistic to evaluate whether there is a difference between those who participated in the program and those who did not (Hint: Think about the level of measurement of the variables

o A description of the research design in terms of observations (O) and interventions (X) for each group.

o Interpret the chi-square output data. What do the data say about the program?

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