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Since so many of us have learned research from the Rubin and Babbie text, myself included, I thought it would be appropriate to interview Allen for the first social work podcast on social work research. I'm excited about offering a series on social work research because research is essential to good social work practice. Most practitioners I know have an impressive command of assessment, diagnosis, intervention and the myriad of factors that go into providing services to clients. These same practitioners get fairly lost in even the most basic research articles and couldn't distinguish an ANOVA from a logistic regression to save their life. So, I thought I would take this opportunity to find out what research concepts Allen Rubin thought were essential for social work practitioners to understand.
During our interview, Allen made it clear that there is at least an entire textbook worth of research concepts that social workers should know. He was kind enough, though, to identify and define a few essential concepts that he thought social workers needed to understand in order to be informed consumers of empirical research. My friends will be vindicated knowing that he did not include ANOVA and logistic regression in his list of key concepts. He did, however, suggest that social workers should understand the difference between reliability and validity, how to identify sources of error in measurement, and researcher and respondent bias. He talked about these concepts within the framework of evidence-based practice. He distinguished the process of evidence-based practice from evidence-based practices.
Download MP3 [27:10]
Dr. Rubin is the Bert Kruger Smith Centennial Professor in the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin, where he has been a faculty member since 1979. He served as an editorial reviewer for 14 professional journals, was a founding member of the Society for Social Work and Research and served as its vice president from 1996 to 1998 and then as its president from 1998 to 2000. He is the recipient of many awards, including the co-recipient of the Society for Social Work and Research Award for Outstanding Examples of Published Research, the 1993 recipient of the University of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work's Distinguished Alumnus Award, and the 2007 recipient of the Council On Social Work Education's Significant Lifetime Achievement in Social Work Education Award. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dr. Rubin continues to be a big fan the Pittsburgh Steelers football team.
Dr. Rubin can be heard sharing his advice for young social work researchers [Episode 38] and his current research and publishing projects [Episode 39] at the Social Work Podcast. This series of interviews was recorded using Skype.
References and Resources
- National Association for Social Workers (n.d.). What IS social work research?. http://www.socialworkers.org/research/researchMore.asp [electronic resource]
- Rubin, A. (2006). Statistics for Evidence-Based Practice and Evaluation. Wadsworth.
- Rubin, A. (2007). Practitioner's Guide to Using Research for Evidence-Based Practice. Wiley.
- Rubin, A., & Babbie, E. (2007). Research Methods for Social Work. (6th edition) Wadsworth. [Google Books preview of 5th edition]
Singer, J. B. (Producer), (2008, April 14). Social work research for practitioners: Interview with Allen Rubin, Ph.D. [Episode 37]. Social Work Podcast [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkpodcast.com/2008/04/social-work-research-for-practitioners.html