Body of Knowledge  

  • Basic human needs- Basic human needs are defined as components of human existence that must be satisfied in order for individuals to develop their human capacity for personal well-being and interpersonal relationships that support social institutions and culture.
  • Individual well-being-Quality of life for the individual human being which may be economic security, emotional, physical, social and spiritual well-being.
  • Family strengths-Family strengths include the resilient characteristics of families regardless of the family structure, how they interact with each other and with others outside the family unit, and the application of a variety of strategies to cope with situations in daily life.  
  • Community vitality-A community is a group of persons living in a specific place or geographic region or a group of people having common interests.   Vitality can be described as the capacity to live, grow or develop.
  • Life course development- Life course development refers to changes in individuals and families (and other social units) over historical time
  • Human ecosystems-The human eco-systems model examines individuals and families in relation to their environments, providing a comprehensive (or holistic) understanding of relationships among individuals, families, and communities, and their natural (physical), human-built, and social/behavioral environments   

What do we know and how do we know it:

  • Sensory Experience: meaning that the information we take in from the world; is the most immediate way we have of knowing something.   However, to obtain reliable knowledge, we cannot rely on our senses alone but must check what we think we know with other sources.
  • Sharing information with others: checking with others on whether they see or hear what we do can help us discard what is untrue and manage our lives more intelligently by focusing on what is true.
  • Expert opinion: include people who know a great deal about what we are interested in finding out.
  • Logic: 'our intellect' -the capability we have to reason things out allows us to use sensory data to develop a new kind of knowledge.
  • Scientific method: involves the testing of ideas in the public arena - following a series of steps and being as open as humanly possible to alternatives in focusing and clarifying the problem, collecting and analyzing information and in interpreting results.

Theory and Theory Testing

Introduction of Theory and Theory Building

  • A set of structured and testable principles, which guide and direct research
    • Theories do not discuss truth
    • Theories are a framework which helps us make sense of commonalities that exist between and among our data
    • Theories generate separate informational sets that can be organized into a meaningful whole.

Formulating Research Questions/Hypothesis

  • A statement that poses an explanation, which can be tested through further observations or experimentation

What is Research?

  • A careful, systematic, patient study and investigation in some field of knowledge, undertaken to discover or establish facts and principles

Types of Research

  • Quantitative
    Determining the relationship between one thing (an independent variable) and another (a dependent variable) in a population.     
  • Experimental
    Research design in which variables are manipulated and comparisons are made between groups.
  • Correlational
    Research design that investigates the patterns of how variables move.
  • Causal-Comparative
    Identifies a cause-effect relationship between 2 or more groups
  • Qualitative
    Is concerned with understanding the processes, which underlie various behavioral patterns. "Qualitative" is primarily concerned with "Why".   It is also a research method that measures information based on opinions and values as opposed to statistical data
  • Ethnographic
    Understanding behavior and culture by going out wherever they are and doing whatever they do 'field study'
  • Case Study
    Research design to study in depth an experience or individual circumstance
  • Analytical
    To analyze means to break a topic or concept down into its parts in order to inspect and understand it, and to restructure those parts in a way that makes sense to you. It explains the reasons behind a particular occurrence by discovering causal relationships. Once causal relationships have been discovered, the search then shifts to factors that can be changed (variables) in order to influence the chain of causality.
  • Content Analysis
    Examining the content of a body of written, visual, electronic work, we can understand the people or society who produced the material

Data Collection Methods

  • Experimental - the researcher randomly assigns subjects to at least two groups (experimental and control).   In the experimental group, the researcher manipulates the level of one (independent) variable and observes the corresponding change, if any, in the level of another (dependent) variable.   The purpose of this type of study is to determine if there is a causal relationship between the two variables.
  • Observation - provides a systematic and unobtrusive observation of an individual (or group) in an everyday setting.
  • Interview - is the use of a set of questions that are intended to elicit responses from a sample of individuals, usually pertaining to attitudes, values, or behavior.
  • Survey - is the systematic collection, analysis, interpretation, and report of pertinent facts and findings about the current status of persons, processes, products, or program.
  • Document Analysis - qualitative research which gives voice, interpretation, and meaning to current or historical documents.   Examples of documents that may be used for this research include: flyers, magazines, agendas, blogs, emails, listservs, websites, newspapers, training manuals, and annual report.
  • Artifact Analysis -   another form of qualitative research where tangible items such as texts and photographs are collected and analyzed as data.   This method of data collection may help give a researcher a better sense of context or may also give insights to things that would have otherwise not been reported.

Review of Literature

  • A Literature Review is a description of the literature relevant to a particular field or topic.   It gives an overview of what has been said, who the key writers are, what are the prevailing theories and hypotheses, what questions are being asked, and what methods and methodologies are appropriate and useful.   As such, it is not in itself primary research but rather it reports on other findings.