The Handbook of Social Work Research Methods represents an area that we have several other publications coming out and a market we actively reach. In addition, Bruce Thyer is the editor of the journal Research in Social Work Practice and expressed interest in updating the book along with the other two candidates. In the field of social work, qualitative research is starting to gain more prominence as are mixed methods and various issues regarding race, ethnicity and gender. These changes in the field will be reflected and updated in the second edition of the handbook. It will also contain more on meta analysis, designs to evaluate treatment and will provide more support to help students harness the power of the Internet. The original mission of the handbook was to bring together leading scholars to write about research methods in social work. The second edition will stay true to this mission but will also attempt to be more student friendly and will be offered in a paperback edition. We will also make a greater effort to promote the book as a textbook, as we will do with the other two handbooks.
Social work practice at all system levels involves action leading to behavioral or cultural change. The primary role of social work research is to provide knowledge that contributes to such professional action. While descriptive research about human and cultural conditions, as discussed elsewhere in this volume, can be valuable for guiding professional action, knowing how to most effectively support change is critical for practice. A central question for social work research, therefore, is “what works” in practice, what works to address what goals and issues, with what populations, under what contextual conditions. While descriptive research can suggest hypotheses, the only way to really determine how well any form of practice works is to test it, under ...