Do Numbers Always Matter: Review of Research Paradigms in Social Work

Tetyana Semigina


Social work both in Ukraine and globally is currently developing its own research approaches and knowledge. The article - based on the analysis of foreign scientific literature and the experience of implementing the intervention "Workshop of Opportunities", which was accompanied by an implementation of multi-method research - describes the modern paradigms and strategies of research in social work.

It is determined that in the scientific literature we often talk about positivist, interpretive and critical paradigms of research in social work, which differ not only in methodology but also in involving various participants in the research process to build knowledge, which is fundamentally important for the activity and development of social work. It is noted that non-positivist paradigms of research are becoming more widespread, within which subject-subject relations are formed and people who are traditionally excluded from this process are involved in the construction of knowledge.

Various research strategies (research in action, narrative analysis, ethnographic research, etc.) and a multimodal approach that may represent the integration of practice and theory of social work are considered. Examples of the use of such strategies in foreign research in social work are given.

Self-reflection of participation in the development, implementation and evaluation of the results of the experimental intervention "Studio of Opportunities", which aimed to improve the quality of life related to health in HIV-positive women with children under 6 years by integrating medically and economically oriented programs. The methodology of external and internal evaluation is described, which confirmed that such new interventions can be introduced in social work, for which there are no standardized, validated measurement tools. The conformity of the used research strategies to the ethical principles of social work is discussed, the advantages and limitations of the application of different paradigms (positivist and critical) research are determined.


research paradigm; research strategy; multimethod approach; implementation not research; social work intervention; modern social work


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