Evidence-based practice (EBP) is an essential notion in providing clients with the best social work service. The notion assists professionals in making complicated decisions, preventing social workers from basing their practice on harmful and pseudoscientific information (Lietz & Zayas, 2010). Qualitative data plays an instrumental role in shaping EBP, providing means to reach sound conclusions and make informed decisions. Moreover, qualitative research helps to acquire an in-depth understanding of a particular phenomenon (Yegidis et al., 2018). To observe the relationship between qualitative analysis and EBP, studies conducted by Larios et al. (2011) and Luke and Banerjee (2012) are considered. These two qualitative studies provide social workers with the means to refine their occupational practice and ground it into scientific evidence.
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Using EBP in substance abuse treatment could be beneficial for patients. Nevertheless, a study performed by Larios et al. (2011) shows that it is potentially underutilized in substance abuse programs. To conclude, the researchers employed qualitative analysis methods, particularly semi-structured interviews that were transcribed, coded, and analyzed. The researchers document their data collection efforts, thus establishing their credibility (Lietz & Zayas, 2010). As a result of employing qualitative information collection methodology, a presupposition regarding the insufficient extent of EBP use was reached. Yet, it is worth mentioning that since Larios et al.’s (2011) sample size is around 20 interviews, the study’s outcome should not be generalized. In this research, qualitative analysis helps establish how widely EBP is employed in a particular domain and determines whether it should be promoted further.
Child maltreatment constitutes a grave issue in social work, the consequences of which EBP can alleviate. Luke and Banerjee (2012) build on previous studies to explore empathy and social perception among foster care children. Such qualitative methodology as semi-structured interviews and thematic analysis were incorporated to obtain additional insight into maltreated children’s social life, disclosing problems with self-perception and peer relationships. To achieve the objective, Luke and Banerjee (2012) interviewed ten foster caregivers while children were not involved, which seems insufficient to apply the study’s findings more extensively. Yet, the researchers (2012) accentuate that social work interventions should be “in close liaison with foster carers” (p. 244). Consequently, in this study, the qualitative analysis helped establish that social workers’ occupational practice in foster care should broadly incorporate caregivers to be effective, proving the relationship between qualitative analysis and EBP beneficial.
The two overviewed qualitative studies demonstrate the significance of qualitative information for EBP in social work. As Lietz and Zayas (2010) state, “a growing literature base stemming from qualitative research studies produce findings of relevance to social work practice” (p. 189). Although the first qualitative study only underscores the need to implement more EBP into substance abuse programs, the second one has direct implications for social workers’ professional practice. Thus, qualitative analysis helps to develop and refine interventions and instruments by contrasting them with scientific findings. This process seems to favor the client’s well-being and enhances satisfaction from social work services.
In conclusion, qualitative analysis contributes to evidence-based practice by refining and validating interventions used in social work. Data obtained in this manner makes social workers’ professional practice more informed and effective, helping to increase clients’ well-being. Additionally, qualitative data offers a systematic understanding of phenomena pertinent to the field. The overviewed studies demonstrate that not only quantitative information assists social workers in basing their practice on research evidence.
Larios, S. E., Wright, S., Jernstrom, A, Lebron, D., & Sorensen, J. L. (2011). Evidence-based practices, attitudes, and beliefs in substance abuse treatment programs serving American Indians and Alaska Natives: A qualitative study. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 43(4), 355–359.
Lietz, C. A., & Zayas, L. E. (2010). Evaluating qualitative research for social work practitioners. Advances in Social Work, 11(2), 188-202. Web.
Luke, N., & Banerjee, R. (2012). Maltreated children’s social understanding and empathy: A preliminary exploration of foster carers’ perspectives. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 21(2), 237–246.
Yegidis, B. L., Weinbach, R. W., & Myers, L. L. (2018). Research methods for social workers (8th ed.). Pearson.