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Social Work and Homelessness Research Methodology Research Paper


Research Design

A randomized controlled trial (RCT) will be conducted to answer the following research question: what is the effectiveness of the Housing First program to street homelessness based on the experiences of both human service professionals and beneficiaries? Such a study design will allow representing a variety of ethnicities and races of Canada (Aubry et al., 2015). The selection of RCT is also caused by the need to ensure the inclusion opportunity for every respondent. A randomized controlled trial usually regarded as the most scientifically rigorous hypothesis testing method available in sociology.

Sampling Procedures

The sample will be composed of those people who received any assistance in terms of the Housing First program, be it access to rental housing or a standard lease agreement. At the same time, social workers and human service professionals will also be involved in the study to share their views and perceptions regarding the effectiveness of the program. In particular, the three cities of Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Toronto will be covered by sampling procedures. The latter will focus on introduction letters sent to those who was enrolled in the mentioned program for homeless within the last year, pinpointing the purpose of the perspective research, the roles of participants, and other significant details.

People interested in the participation will use either email or phone to express their intents to be interviewed. The sample size will contain 50 persons from each of the identified cities. Among the inclusion, or eligibility, criteria, there will be complete homelessness or some cases of the latter, legal adult status, and benefit or the lack of that from the Housing First program (Aubry et al., 2015). It is expected to include both male and female representatives of different ages, races, and ethnicities. As for the examination of social workers and human service professionals, 20 respondents from each of the mentioned cities will be involved in the proposed study.

Data Collection Methods

The data collection methods will be referred to as a set of qualitative strategies. In particular, the following two groups will be distinguished in terms of RCT: intervention group and treatment-as-usual group. The representatives of the first one will be characterized by the reception of the Housing First program provisions, while the second group members will be those who received traditional help, such as shelters, food for homeless, etc. (Hwang, Stergiopoulos, O’Campo, & Gozdzik, 2012).

The method of interviewing will be used to collect data from participants via semi-structured interviews. It is possible to conduct either face-to-face or online interviews via Skype to collect the necessary data. The list of 38 questions will be offered to participants as well as the opportunity to subsequently express their opinions regarding the program in a free from. It is expected to spend approximately one hour to test each of the participants in a convenient manner. The second data collection method will be the examination of documents and data on the provided assistance and its results from the local social work agencies and professionals.

It should also be noted that the principle of priority of the rights, safety, and health of participants will be put in the forefront. The respondents can be included in the research only on the basis of their voluntary participation and informed consent.

More to the point, a detailed explanation and presentation of the study materials will allow participants to understand the purpose and scope of the study. In the context of the research ethics, confidentiality terms will be guaranteed, in particular, no personal data will be revealed to the wider audiences. The study specifics will focus on solely informative and analytic points in order to answer the research question. In the course of data collection and interaction with the participants in general, respect, attentiveness, and responsiveness will be ensured to provide them with a convenient setting and increase the effectiveness of the study.

Methods of Analysis

The obtained data will be analyzed with the help of descriptive statistics. The choice of parameters of descriptive statistics for presentation in the study will be based on the principle of providing a set of descriptive characteristics of the main issue, measures of dispersion, and the distribution patterns of each observed group. In case of a normal, or related to the normal, order of variable, distribution will be established, then confidence intervals of the parameters of the sample distribution will be made, which are estimates of the corresponding parameters of the population.

For non-parametric variables, these estimates will not be given. At this point, the required parameter is the sample size as according to Fisher’s principle, deviations from the normal form, if they are not too noticeable, can be detected only for large samples (Macnaughton, Goering, & Nelson, 2012).

The purpose of descriptive analysis in this case is to describe the entire set of conditions in the two groups of participants, both common and rare, indicating their effectiveness. The description will be given to make the extent of the program’s contribution clear and conclusive. The indicators of these or other statistics will be determined by the distribution order and the type of scale, in which the observed feature will be measured (Clifasefi, Malone, & Collins, 2013).

Thus, when analyzing the collected data, it is expected to provide a histogram of primary data, a complete description of measures of position, central tendency, measure of dispersion, variability, and other related aspects. The assessment of the parameters of the sample will also be presented.


Throughout the course, I learned a lot regarding how to conduct sociological experiments, focusing on research questions. First of all, I learned that an experiment is a specific method based on the controlled interaction of a researcher with the object under the study in pre-determined conditions. In the experiment, it is possible to obtain information in an artificially created environment, which distinguishes this method from the ordinary observation.

The course lectures and assignments showed me that the subject of the experiment refers to the relations and connections between the elements of the object under the research and the system of factors that determine its social activity and behavior.

The variables in the experiment are controlled and uncontrolled factors that have either direct or indirect effect on the given issue. A system of variables defines the experimental situation. Also, there can be independent and dependent variables, where the first can be modified by a researcher and introduced into the activity of the experimental group, and the latter change under the influence of an independent variable. The variables represent the categories of analysis in the experiment, displaying them in the form of empirical indicators.

Previously, I lived under the line of poverty, encountering such challenges as poor housing, eating, and the lack of opportunities for adequate health care services. In this connection, I understand the needs of homeless people and consider that their state is to be properly examined in order to improve on the results of scholarly studies. I learned that the procedure of carrying out the experiment consists of several steps.

Initially, a researcher identifies a research object and divides participants into two preferably homogeneous groups. After that, he or she introduces a range of factors into one of them, and the second one is left unchanged. After that, a comparison of the two groups is organized. The object with which it is conducted often appears only as a means for creating an experimental situation. Therefore, in the future, it may not be associated with the use of the results and conclusions. The general logic of the experiment is to trace the direction, magnitude, and stability of the changes in the characteristics of the problem that is of interest to a researcher.

Linking the outcomes of the course to my future professional plans, I can note that I would like to develop my knowledge and skills regarding social work and focusing on appropriate health care provision, housing, etc. In particular, I would like to correct the existing errors and improve social work experience by conducting the most relevant studies and disseminating their results to the wider populations, so that both an average reader and experts would benefit from them.

One of the areas I can develop and enhance relates to the exploration of socially important issues in the family living under poverty line: relationships between parents and children, adolescents’ challenges at home and school, and so on. I believe that it is rather important to study the mentioned problems and suggest specific strategies for their elimination.


Aubry, T., Tsemberis, S., Adair, C. E., Veldhuizen, S., Streiner, D., Latimer, E.,… Hume, C. (2015). One-year outcomes of a randomized controlled trial of housing first with ACT in five Canadian cities. Psychiatric Services, 66(5), 463-469.

Clifasefi, S. L., Malone, D. K., & Collins, S. E. (2013). Exposure to project-based Housing First is associated with reduced jail time and bookings. International Journal of Drug Policy, 24(4), 291-296.

Hwang, S. W., Stergiopoulos, V., O’Campo, P., & Gozdzik, A. (2012). Ending homelessness among people with mental illness: The at Home/Chez Soi randomized trial of a Housing First intervention in Toronto. BMC Public Health, 12(1), 787-803.

Macnaughton, E. L., Goering, P. N., & Nelson, G. B. (2012). Exploring the value of mixed methods within the At Home/Chez Soi Housing First project: A strategy to evaluate the implementation of a complex population health intervention for people with mental illness who have been homeless. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 103(2), 57-62.

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