Formulating a “Problem”: 6 Concepts Matching Exercise Date: Name: Social work research, like social work practice, follows a problem-solving process in seeking to resolve problems in human development, behavior, and functioning. Both research and practice begin with identifying the problem, which includes recognizing a difficulty, defining it, and specifying it. Use 6 major concepts of problem formulation in the case scenario below. Part 1 – Overview of Assignment Case Scenario: You work in a state child welfare agency. Your boss has asked your team to evaluate an innovative intervention program to improve positive parenting among parents referred for child abuse or neglect. Your agency believes that improved parenting skills will reduce the incidence of child abuse and neglect. Parenting skills such as supervision & monitoring and use of positive discipline techniques was measured by the Alabama Parenting Questionnaire. (Adapted from Rubin & Babbie, 2016). With the information provided in the scenario, indicate what can you pull out of the information given in the scenario about the problem formulation concept represented (A – F). There is one response for each of the major 6 concepts. 6 Major Concepts to Formulate a Problem A. Variable(s) B. Hypothesis C. Relationship D. Dependent variable E. Independent variable F. Operationalization (operational definition) Item Questions Element (choose A, B, C. D, E, or F) Points Final Points 1 The Alabama Parenting Questionnaire is an example of what in the case scenario? 1 2 Incidence of child abuse and neglect represents what variable in the case scenario. 1 3 Parenting skills, child abuse, and child neglect represent what in the case scenario. 1 4 Improved parenting skills will reduce the incidence of child abuse and neglect is an example of what in the case scenario? 1 5 Parenting skills represents what variable in the case scenario? 1 6 That a change in parenting skills is likely to be associated with a change in the incidence of child abuse and neglect is an example of what in the case scenario. 1 Part 2 – Overview of Assignment Consider the following study: Green et al. (2014) wanted to find out if Early Head Start (EHS) had an effect on involvement in the child welfare system. Studies show that children who experience abuse and neglect have a high risk of experiencing emotional and behavioral problems. A significant percentage of children who experience abuse and neglect are from low-income families. Green et al. predicted that children and families who received EHS programming would have a decreased risk of becoming involved with the child welfare system. The method used was to randomly assign children to one of two groups: those who received early head start (EHS) or those who received community-based services other than EHS. Green et al. calculated (a) the number of child abuse and neglect reports that were substantiated, (b) the number of placements out-of-the home, and (c) the type of maltreatment substantiated. The results showed that five-to-nine-year-old children in the EHS group were less likely to have an encounter with the child welfare system. Green et al. stated that “Programs that provide services to infants and toddlers at high risk, such as EHS, represent an opportunity for supporting these families early, before maltreatment occurs, or before a pattern of ongoing recurrent maltreatment develops.” (p. 133) 7. What is the dependent variable in the Green et al. (2014) study? 8. What is the independent variable in the Green et al. (2014) study? Source: Green, B. L., Ayoub, C., Bartlett, J. D., Von Ende, A., Furrer, C., Chazan-Cohen, R., … & Klevens, J. (2014). The effect of Early Head Start on child welfare system involvement: A first look at longitudinal child maltreatment outcomes. Children and Youth Services Review, 42, 127-135.
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