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.

Participant Observation Studies

Participant Observation Studies

R. Kevin Grigsby

All research involves observation, whether before, during, and/or after an event or events. The scope of observation in social work research ranges from the passive viewing of everyday social behavior to observation during the active participation of the researcher in real-life situations. Becker and Geer (1957) define participant observation as “that method in which the observer participates in the daily life of the people under study, either openly in the role of researcher or covertly in some disguised role” (p. 28). Engaging in participant observation requires the researcher (a) to engage in activities appropriate to the situation and (b) to observe the activities, people, and physical aspects of the situation (Spradley, 1980, p. 54). Although ...

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