How the Scientific Method Can Apply to Human Services This paper will offer explanation of how scientific research can be used in the Human Service field. The paper will also explain the steps involved in scientific inquiry and why the steps are of importance, and then provide an example a scientific method related to the Human Services field. Next discussed will be a brief description of quantitative research and qualitative research, explaining the differences in both models and how the methods relate to the human services field and the scientific method.
Further discussion will concern quantitative and qualitative research methodology. Subsequently touched on will be definition of mixed method research. Finally the paper will summarize how scientifically sound research supports the function of a human services manager. The Scientific Method The scientific method is a method for research and study that is applied to investigate observations and to bring answers to questions. Researchers can exploit the scientific method to hunt for cause and effect relationships.
Stated plainly, researchers can plan a study so that changes to an entity of the study influence something else in the study to vary in an unpredictable or expected manner. The Method Relates to Human Service Research No matter what field of Human Service, research is needed. If there is an upsurge in homelessness or child abuse, or joblessness, replies offering results are required to answer the questions related to the upsurge. The path to those replies can only be found through research.
In the "scientific method", according to Merriam-Webster (2010), "principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation to a problem", such as an upsurge in homelessness or another of the before mentioned issues, "the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses" may offer assistance in the field of Human Services. Scientific Inquiry Scientific inquiry usually comprises of looking for an answer or coming up with an initiative, then performing a search of prose's involving the issue.
Next, identifying conceptions and variables involving the issue, creating an assumption, then developing research data and building up a study plan, followed up by a map to execute the study. Importance of the Steps in Scientific Inquiry All of the steps inside an "inquiry" are of great importance. To begin with, there would be no need to initiate a study if there were no complicating issues in our world, again an example would be homelessness. To respond to that example in a study or research, one must use existing data to create a starting point in the research for the purpose of assistance and validation towards the hypothesis.
Certainly as our history progresses, new variables arise for any issues, so we must add in those newly identified conceptions. With the present and new research information the study can begin to be executed. Example: Homelessness Table 1 o Do Background Research o Construct a Hypothesis o Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment o Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion o Communicate Your Results (Science Buddies, 2010) As we see in the above cited table, we first ask a question.
Obviously with the example being homelessness, our question would be; Step 1: "How to alleviate homelessness in our community? Step 2: Next we search for any existing research which would offer background information regarding homelessness in the effected community. Step 3: Inside our background research we find evidence that multiple Factories have closed in the past few years in the effected community. We offer the hypothesis, "With many of the local population out of work, a new job training program may offer the effected population the opportunity to become autonomous in their housing needs.
Step 4: Place 50 homeless individuals into the new job training program. Record the results of the program and follow up with test group after training has been completed. Step 5: (Hypothetical) 35 of the 50 participants in the job training program were able to secure employment in new jobs (not factory jobs). With almost 75% of the group attaining employment after new job training, the closing of the factories in the community, with no new factories opening to offer employment, have been found to be the main factor in the upsurge of homelessness.
Step 6: In some manner, communicate the study, program, and results to the involved organization and the involved community. Quantitative Research and Qualitative Research The word "quantitative research" implies that information is in "numerical or graphic form", while "qualitative research" means that information in "a narrative form (spoken words, recorded conversations) or a pictorial form", is present and obtainable (University of Phoenix, 2008).
Quantitative and Qualitative Research in Human Services and the Scientific Method Staying with our example of homelessness, quantitative research would be the number of individuals that became homeless due to the factory closings. Qualitative research would involve the information from specific individuals, such as their individual thoughts of how and why they became homeless. Both, quantitative and qualitative research would be used in scientific inquiry and the scientific method in the process of the just offered study on the homeless.
Both categories information would be used towards finding answers to the question of homelessness. Qualitative research can be used in "exploring common experiences of individuals to develop a theory", while quantitative research can be used to "explain whether an intervention influences an outcome for a group" (University of Phoenix, 2008). Mixed Method Research Mixed method research is when both quantitative and qualitative research is used.
The foundation for a mixed methods plan is that the mixture of both types of information offers a superior understanding of a research problem. Mixed methods are a process for gathering, examining, and "mixing both quantitative and qualitative data in a single study or in a multiphase series of studies" (University of Phoenix, 2008). Earlier in this paper a study of why there is an upsurge of homelessness and solutions towards that issue was offered and is an example of when it is appropriate to apply mixed method research in the human services field.
Scientifically Sound Research Supports the Function of a Human Services Manager Since continual research work, is founded on ascertained research and evidence based information findings, understood is, that scientifically sound research does support functions of the Human Services Manager. The key is just that, sound research is evidence based, meaning that there is proof in the information. With proof backing a manager, the manager can honestly, while wholeheartedly having at least some faith in the research, use the research in his management functions.
Just as in this papers example of homelessness, if the example were actual research study, a manager could use that information if his own community was experiencing a surge in homelessness. Recap Throughout this paper reference was given to the issue of homelessness and how the scientific method can apply to issues within Human Services. Also offered was an example using scientific method outline in the question of homelessness. This simple, yet revealing piece should show support that the scientific method can be used inside the Human Service field.