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.
Becoming a theorist is not a mysterious process. It works in much the same way as becoming a researcher or teacher—through formal and informal learning experiences.
—Randolph-Seng (2008, p. 39)
Heretofore, the chapters in this handbook have been concerned with different research methods to systematically gather empirical data for various purposes. Sometimes the purposes of empirical research are exploratory in nature—to learn about some phenomenon of interest, to become more informed about it, or to use it as a preliminary for additional work. On other occasions, we gather data for purely descriptive purposes, to be able to quantify variables of interest or to learn more about the subjective experiences of people such as social work clients. Much social ...