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The Social Work Dissertation: Using Small-Scale Qualitative Methodology: A Practical Guide [Paperback]

Malcolm Carey
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Oct 2009 0335225497 978-0335225491 1
"This excellently timed book is invaluable for social work students contemplating, or in the process of completing a modest qualitative study for a dissertation. Many barriers exist for students intending to embark on empirical work; this book, detailed but accessible, takes a theoretically informed approach to guide their path- it is much more than a pragmatic handbook."
Professor Steven M Shardlow, Chair of Social Work, The University of Salford, UK

"A trustworthy guide to the dissertation process from beginning to end. The advice offered is extremely sound, it is hard to disagree with anything Carey suggests, and if students choose to follow it they should considerably improve the quality of their submitted work."
Carolyn Taylor,Department of Applied Social Studies, University of Lancaster

"Most social work research dissertations use qualitative methodology - sometimes thinly so. Malcolm Carey's book answers the numerous questions students repeatedly ask, and in ways which will enrich the doing and teaching of dissertation work at both qualifying and postqualifying levels. It is written accessibly and with numerous helpfully worked examples. 'Have you read Carey?' may soon become a frequently heard question on social work courses. This book will definitely be near the top of my reading lists for dissertation skills courses."
Ian Shaw, Professor of Social Work, University of York

"Malcolm Carey is to be congratulated on this book. He has produced an accessible, user friendly, step by step guide to writing a dissertation which is packed with useful examples relevant to social work students. He has accomplished this without over-simplifying the concepts and theoretical perspectives he describes, thus ensuring that the reader can build upon what they have learned. The book will be helpful not only to qualifying the post-qualifying social work students, but to practitioners and managers who wish to undertake a piece of research, but feel a little daunted by the task."
Sue White, Professor of Social Work, Lancaster University, UK

This comprehensive book provides a clear and accessible guide for students undertaking small-scale qualitative research for a social work dissertation. Using jargon free, practical language, the book explains the research process and each of the key stages involved. Also included are:

  • Case examples of real student experiences
  • Descriptions of key qualitative research concepts
  • Examples used to explain theoretical models and research methodologies
The book offers advice on how to get the most from supervision and explains the importance of ethics and political context within the research process. Use of social theory within research is explored, with suggestions of ways in which different theories can influence and help to contextualise social research.

Acknowledging the limited time and resources typically available to students, the book prioritises small-scale qualitative research. Literature based social work dissertations are discussed alongside key sources of information such as relevant journals and websites.

The Social Work Dissertation offers detailed yet concise explanations and is ideal for social work students at all levels, as well as social work practitioners.

Product details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Open University Press; 1 edition (1 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0335225497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0335225491
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 308,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


I would recommend that all social work students undertaking a dissertation read this book. --British Journal of Social Work, January 2011

About the Author

Malcolm Carey has worked as a social worker with older people and people with a disability for many years. He has also worked extensively in social work education, both as a teacher and active researcher. His research and teaching interests include qualitative social research, critical and labour process theory, and contingency and ideological social work.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great buy 25 Nov 2009
As a previously confused second year MSc Social Work student I have found this book indispensible. The book is accessible and easy to understand and it also takes the reader through all the key stages of qualitative research. Unlike other books on social work research it also deals in great depth with small scale applied reserach (samples of 12 or less) or literature based diss's. The chapters on research process, lit review, analysis and writing up are especially useful but there is also a helpful section on the use of theory. Highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful book 8 Dec 2009
I agree with the previous reviewer. Good reference book that is easy to read and follow; helpful for the previously confused!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good 15 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my social work dissertation, I found it was a good source of information and references. Also it arrived promptly. Id say its worth buying for a dissertation!
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