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Class Descriptions

Quantitative Methodologies for Socially Just Inquiry


Credits: 3
Prerequisites: SW507

Pathway Associations

Community Change
Interpersonal Practice
Mgmt & Leadership
Policy & PoliticalElective
Program EvaluationRequirement (Host)
Older Adults
Children & Families

Course Description

This course is designed to advance the foundational ideas of quantitative research in social work and the social sciences, with a particular focus on applied quantitative research dedicated to the study of social problems and the development of social interventions at the macro, meso and micro levels. The course will deepen students’ understanding of such issues as sample selection, measurement, and questionnaire design, research design, and basic analytic approaches. Students enrolled in the Evaluation and Research Pathway must select from one of two required foundational courses before completing their specialized electives in methodologies and methods. This course will meet that foundational requirement.


1. Understand the importance of evidence for practice at the macro, meso and micro levels of social work practice with particular attention paid to being able to differentiate between
a. Policies and programs that are supported by evidence
b. Policies and programs that are not supported by evidence
c. Policies and programs that have null effects
d. Policies and programs that have iatrogenic effects. (EPAS 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9)
2. Develop an understanding of issues in measurement and questionnaire design (EPAS 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9)
3. Understand research designs, and their importance for internal validity (EPAS 1, 4, 7, 9)
4. Understand sampling with particular attention to issues of external validity (EPAS 4, 6, 7, 8, 9)
5. Develop an advanced understanding of basic descriptive and bivariate statistics (EPAS 4, 7, 9)


Course will be a mixture of interactive lecture/presentations, along with extensive use of small group work and lab activities.

Intensive Focus on Privilege, Oppression, Diversity and Social Justice (PODS)

This course integrates PODS content and skills with a special emphasis on the identification of theories, practice and/or policies that promote social justice, illuminate injustices and are consistent with scientific and professional knowledge. Through the use of a variety of instructional methods, this course will support students developing a vision of social justice, learn to recognize and reduce mechanisms that support oppression and injustice, work toward social justice processes, apply intersectionality and intercultural frameworks and strengthen critical consciousness, self-knowledge and self-awareness to facilitate PODS learning.

This course integrates PODS content and skills by discussing the importance of generating evidence for social work programs and interventions that serve marginalized and oppressed populations. Students will investigate the ways in which power and privilege is related to ways in which quantitative research is carried out, and the ethical obligation of researchers to be mindful of the interplay of diversity, equity and inclusion with the way in which quantitative research is conducted.

Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Education Description

Interdisciplinary education refers to explicit content that involves scholarship, evidence, and experience from one, or more social science or other disciplines as they impact and/or expand social work knowledge and skills. In addition to social work, this quantitative methods course integrates content and methodologies from these disciplines:

Statistics and Biostatistics: These disciplines provide the fundamental principles and techniques for data analysis, hypothesis testing, and statistical modeling. Epidemiology: Epidemiological research often involves quantitative methods to study the distribution and determinants of health-related outcomes in populations. Psychology: Social work often intersects with psychology, and quantitative research methods are used to study individual behavior, mental health, and psychological interventions. Sociology: Sociology contributes to quantitative research in social work by examining social structures, institutions, and patterns of social behavior. Economics: Economic principles and quantitative techniques are relevant for understanding the economic aspects of social issues and interventions. Public Health: Public health research frequently employs quantitative methods to investigate health disparities, program evaluations, and health policy analysis. Social Policy: Social policy research often involves quantitative approaches to assess the impact of social programs and policies. Criminology/Criminal Justice: Quantitative methods are employed in the study of crime, criminal behavior, and the evaluation of interventions within the criminal justice system. Demography: Demographic research often relies on quantitative techniques to study population dynamics and social changes.

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