SOCW 6311 Discussion: Qualitative Findings and Social Work Interventions

Discussion: Qualitative Findings and Social Work Interventions

Please read through this information carefully and follow the specific instructions listed in this post. You will choose a fictional client for this discussion as listed below. Please post your choice of client first, then return later to enter your post. Maximum of two students for each type of client.___________________________

Last week, we explored the chi-square, a quantitative method of research that relies on statistics. This week we explore methods involved in qualitative research to learn from the experiences of people and their perspectives on ideas and issues that matter to them.

Why is qualitative research important in social work?

Qualitative research is especially effective in provid[ing] information about the “human” side of an issue – that is, the often contradictory behaviors, beliefs, opinions, emotions, and relationships of individuals. Qualitative methods are also effective in identifying intangible factors, such as social norms, socioeconomic status, gender roles, ethnicity, and religion, whose role in the research issue may not be readily apparent. When used along with quantitative methods, qualitative research can help us to interpret and better understand the complex reality of a given situation and the implications of quantitative data.Mack et al., 2005

This week, you will learn one of the primary methods of qualitative research, content analysis of a focus group discussion which analyzes communication to uncover the major ideas and issues (that is, the themes) that emerge from the focus group discussion.



  • Read: the study on single-room occupancy hotels by Knight, Lopez, Comfort, Shumway, Cohen, and Riley (2014) from this week’s required resources. Carefully review the quotations, observations, and the photographs in the article. Note how the researchers presented their findings, paying attention to the specific macro-, mezzo-, and micro-oriented recommendations (if any) that were made by the authors. You will use this article in your work this week.
  • Read the article by Marsiglia and Booth (2015) about how to adapt interventions so that they are culturally relevant and responsive to the populations we attempt to serve. The suggestions in this article will be needed for your work this week.
  • Skim the chapter by Lee, Wang, Cao, Liu and Zaharlick (2016) on conducting research in racial and ethnic minority communities which you will find in the list of learning resources on Dashboard for this week.
  • Watch Overview of qualitative research methods from the Walden University Center for Research Quality. It was designed for graduate students at Walden and is a very useful summary of the information you will need this week.
  • Watch Quirko. (2019, November 19). Beginner’s quide to coding qualitative data. [Video]. YouTube. This video will be useful for showing how to code content from a focus group, which you will need for this discussion.
  • More details about the concepts this week are below under \\\”Optional helpful information for the week\\\”. 



1. You will learn to use your observations from pictures and statements presented in Knight et al. (2014) to understand the clients’ experiences and “what it may feel like” to experience life from their perspective (Kearney, 2001).

2. You will learn how to use thick description to describe the experiences of your clients. Thick description involves more than identifying and describing the details of emotions, experiences, and events, and includes their meaning and context, making thick descriptions much richer than simple descriptions alone.

3. Using the approach of Marsiglia and Booth (2015), you will learn to adapt evidence-based clinical interventions to the experiences, cultures, and needs of diverse clients.

4. In this week\\\’s assignment, you will use a focus group report, one of the major tools of qualitative research, to perform a content analysis (also called thematic analysis), to discover major ideas and concepts that emerge from an adapted focus group discussion (the Week 5 assignment).



By Day 3

 Submit a post explaining how you would adjust an intervention to serve a homeless person who belongs to a cultural group very different from your own, following these steps.

1.  Place yourself in the role of the social worker assigned to a client who is living in an SRO like the ones you read about in Knight et al. (2014). Select a person from one of the following groups as your fictional client. Post your choice as soon as you decide on it. You may return to complete the post later.  No more than two students may select the same type of client, so read through the list of types selected before choosing your client.

1. A person who identifies strongly with an ethnic group other than your own, including but not limited to African American, Native American, Asian (specify country of origin), Caucasian, Hispanic, continental African, or groups in the Middle East or Eastern Europe;

2. A recent immigrant from North Africa, Latin America, Syria, Viet Nam, or Russia;

3. A person from the Middle East, Asia, South America or Africa fleeing torture, threats or oppression from the government or gangs;

4. An observant adherent of a minority religion who observes very different cultural practices and interpretation of life events compared to majority US culture. Examples of minority religions may include Islam, Hinduism, Orthodox Judaism, Christian snake handling religions in the US South, the Amish, or tribal religions practiced by some Native American groups;

5. A person who identifies as LBGTQ if you are cisgendered or a person identifying as cisgendered if you are a member of the LBGTQ community;

6. A person with expectations and preferences typical of an economic or social class very different from your own: for example, someone who is or was once very wealthy and holds to different expectations for services and treatment than more typical clients, or someone who is or was very poor and interprets most actions and objects through their experience of deprivation and injustice, even when it does not appear present, or a former well-known celebrity who has fallen on hard times;

7. A person who has very specific tastes and preferences and requires certain standards and principles such as a homeless person with pets or one who is an artist who would rather accept poor conditions than a service or action that does not accommodate their pets or preferences;

8. An individual who is one or more generations older than you are and who might view you as too young or inexperienced to be helpful;

9. Former or current members of professions who are unlikely to welcome social work involvement in their personal lives because of strong boundaries between themselves and those who have not shared the same experiences. Examples may include military veterans whose problems stem from military experience, or people who once worked as clergy, police officers, mental health professionals, and physicians, to name a few.

2. Submit a thick description of your client and their living conditions. Choose one option listed below (a or b) from the study by Knight and colleagues (2014) to provide details of the housing situation in which your fictional client resides. Cite quotes (if used) with quotation marks. Cite the source of the quotations or pictures you select as in-text citations.  Review the scholarly writing goal for Week 4 if you need to refresh your memory on in-text citations.

a. Describe several photos from the article in detail so that the reader has an clear impression of the conditions in the single-room occupancy facility

— OR —

b. Find a quote in the article spoken by a health and housing manager or one of the women describing the housing situation from pages 558-560. The statements can be found by looking for paragraphs that are set off from the rest of the column.

Limit your response to 6-8 sentences as follows:


1. Use your imagination to describe your client; develop your description of the housing facility from the types described in Knight et al. (2014).

Example:   “I will be describing my social work interactions with Ludmilla, a 26-year-old Russian mail order bride with limited English proficiency who was found singing on the street corner for money after she was abandoned by her husband ten months after arriving in this country. She lives in an SRO that contains….” [add your description here]. (Maximum length: 3-4 sentences).

2. Interpret the quote or picture you chose, explaining what it means to you as a social worker. Defend your interpretation, supporting it with information obtained from Marsiglia and Booth (2015) and/or Lee at al. (2016). (Maximum length: 3-4 sentences).

3. Identify a problem. From your interpretation of the quote or picture in Question 2, suggest a problem that your fictional client (identified in Question #1) might experience in the environment you described in Question 2 (1 sentence)

4. Describe a specific intervention to address the problem you suggested in Question #3, adapted to your client\\\’s unique cultural experience. Explain how the meaning you drew from the picture or quote (Question #2) and your knowledge of the client\\\’s cultural values and preferences would specifically inform and guide your approach. Your recommendation can be on the micro, mezzo, or macro level. (Maximum: 3 concise, informative, descriptive sentences).

5. Choose and state one of the general cultural adaptations that Marsiglia and Booth (2015) reviewed from pages 424-426 of their article, such as content adaption, surface and/or deep culture, cognitive adaptations, affective-motivational adaptations, etc.) that might be appropriate for your client. For example “An adaptation of [my intervention] that might apply to a [person from my selected group] is [choose from Marsiglia and Booth (2015), pp. 424-426] . (Maximum: 2 accurate, brief, and clear sentences).

6. Offer a practical application of the general cultural adaption you chose. Describe actions that you would take to develop and apply the application of the cultural adaptation you selected in Question #5, to improve your cultural responsiveness and relevance for the type of client living in the SRO that you selected in Question # 1. State specific actions, statements, or work that you would perform if employed to serve the client in this situation, using references to the learning resources to support your ideas. In other words, translate the broad description of the cultural adaptation into actions or statements you could actually do, if your agency permits.

The description of the intervention should describe who is involved in the intervention (you and anyone else who would provide the service you recommend), what type of intervention you would like to offer, and  how the intervention would be adapted to be culturally responsive.   These details should provide a  thick description  of the intervention and adaptation that you have chosen. Cite the learning resources for your choices where possible. (2-3 sentences).

Example: One culturally responsive intervention might involve conducting a group that would teach SRO women residents how to advocate for tenant rights (the general intervention). The social worker would make the intervention culturally responsive by involving peer support persons (formerly homeless women) from the same culture and/or language group as the resident(s) to co-lead a group with the social worker. The goal would be to overcome the residents\\\’ isolation and shame accompanying their poor living conditions and challenge the cultural norm that women should refrain from asserting their requests for improved conditions.

7. Identify one new fact you have learned from one of the linked videos and describe how you might apply it in your workplace or field placement, if you were given the task of conducting qualitative research involving one or more of your clients.