Evaluation of evaluation studies using qualitative research methods in the social work literature (1990-2003) : evidence that constitutes a wake-up call

Daniel T. L. SHEK, Vera M. Y. TANG, X. Y. HAN

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

149 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: This study examines the quality of evaluation studies using qualitative research methods in the social work literature in terms of a number of criteria commonly adopted in the field of qualitative research. 

Method: Using qualitative and evaluation as search terms, relevant qualitative evaluation studies from 1990 to 2003 indexed by Social Work Abstracts were examined, and their quality was evaluated. 

Results: The review shows that the quality of published evaluation studies using qualitative research methods in the social work field is not high and that many of the reviewed studies are not sensitive to the following issues: philosophical base of the study, auditability, bias, truth value, consistency, and critical interpretations of the data. 

Conclusions: Social workers using findings arising from published evaluation studies using qualitative research methods in social work should be cautious and social workers conducting qualitative evaluation studies should be sensitive to the issue of quality. Adequate training for social workers on qualitative evaluation should also be carried out.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-194
Number of pages15
JournalResearch on Social Work Practice
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Criteriology
  • Evaluation
  • Evaluative criteria
  • Qualitative research
  • Social work literature

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