Research Methods SS4032 Word Count 3059 IntroductionResearchwithin Social work is a methodical and attentive means of gathering evidence tovalidate any areas of ambiguity which require further investigation into anysocial group (Blaxter et al 1996 cited in Carey 2009) The purpose of suchresearch Is to affirm, or develop on current knowledge (Bryman 2008). Researchis defined as an orderly way of planning and processing the appropriatequestions to seek answers, (Miles and Huberman 1994).This view, however,differs slightly by Silverman ( 2001) where he talks of research as being the critical objectiveof seeking answers to a specific issue. Creswell(2009) talks about the need for the researcher to have a research plan, toinclude proposals of inquiry and ways in which the data will be collated. Hefurther states that the planning of such data collection should be reflected bythe specific nature of the enquiry. Toseek accurate and viable information Strauss (1990), states that researchproject should be viewed holistically to include the background and any priorfindings to previous studies. To adopt an effective research, the correctmethod should be employed following a well-constructed and investigativequestioning method, adhering to ethical considerations for both researcher andparticipants (Miles and Huberman 1994) Part AThetwo main methods of research that are utilised mostly, are the Qualitative andquantitative methods. The chosen method of enquiry will be dependent upon thespecific issue, the client group, and the ethical issues which may need to beconsidered.
(Bryman 2008). Often research may warrant both descriptive andnumerical data, and this warrants the uses of both methods. This method or lineof enquiry would utilise a mixed method approach. QualitativeMethodsQualitativedata is the collection of information, which may involve client participation,and personal individual experiences captured in natural settings (Silverman2001).
The means of capturing such data may be through observation orinterviews for example. Although this methods authenticity can be described asaccurate, it, however, falls short in repetitiveness, this creates an issuewhen the researcher is seeking results to be produced in a similar pattern.This form of research would require the researcher to become part of the verycontext which he/she wishes to study enabling the researcher to view from theparticipants point of view (Open University Press 2005)Thismethod of research is often laborious, and prolonged. The researcher would needto be part of the research group, and be able to gain the participantsauthentic views. The information can be said to be sought evidently orconcealed, which could lead to ethical issues of deception.
To remain covertmay be an advantage and necessary where there are socially sensitive groupssuch as the criminal justice system where the researcher may be offered somesafety in anonymity (Silverman 2001)Qualitativeresearch could be said to be subjective and criticised for again for ethicalreasons, due to evidence being tarnished,and affected by the researcher’s personals beliefs. This method however, has themeans to unearth otherwise impossible to gain information, throughextraction and open-ended questioning methods, this can be said to be almostimpossible to gain using the quantitative method of research. Supporters ofthis method would employ this reason to suggest that their findings are unique,descriptive and detailed. (Weisburdet al.
2005)Critiquesof this method would argue, however, that the Qualitative research method oftenlacks representation of the wider population. As mentioned previously, it isvery context specific and as such, any findings can never be used as a generalinterpretation. Such research methods, are also argued to be very expensive andwould mean the interpretation of data, observations and time, can all becostly. Despitethe criticisms of the qualitative research method, this method of enquiry couldbe said to be adaptable, fluid and not governed by a statistical informationgathering criteria. Creswell(2009) states that the research process should be a clear process and that theparticipant, should always know that they are part of the research. Thoroughresearch requires a transparent process.
He further states that the ethically correctway to inform of any research should be publicly accounted for. This accountabilityshould also refer to the paradigm, and methodology of how the data wascollated. Researcherswho oppose this methodology state that they find this method unethical due tothe variation in the measurement of information, and limitations in validity (Spradeley1980). Itis further cited that the reliability and robustness of qualitative methods areoften questionable since the research questioning may be misinterpreted (Spradeley1980) Silverman(2001) however, argues in defence of the qualitative method of research, andstates that this method is not a substandard means of enquiry, but a methodwhich harnesses the participation of the reader into the suggested findings. Spadeley(1980) talks of how the biggest challenge for a qualitative researcher is toavoid any personal curiosity into the study. Quantitativemethods Quantitativeresearch methods are, geared towards achieving results and use a systematic andlogical approach to achieve these, the focus being validity and testing of theresults (Weisburd et al 2005). Quantitative research methods focus on the ideathat behaviours in humans may be measured based on social facts and that thesemay be explored using designs that are characterised by the assumption thathuman behaviour can be measured, and logical explanations provided as such (Milesand Huberman 1994) Whilequalitative Research focuses on textual data, Quantitative research paysattention to quantifying of the collected data (Bryman 2008).Statisticalgathering of information formulated into digestible forms such as graphs ortables is the way in which one would often present the results of quantitativeresearch (Silverman 2001).
It is further suggested that quantitative researchwill often be constructed through methods such as: OfficialstatisticsRandomsamplesMeasuredvariablesExperiments previously collected data’Structured’observationSpradley(1980) talks of the two key components that must prevail to embark on anyresearch. The philosophy behind the research and the methodology of obtainingthe data. If any research and findings are to be appreciated, the two elementsshould be acknowledged. Mixedmethods A mixture of qualitative methods and quantitativemethods is where the term mixed methods stem from. Creswell (2009) states thatthis form of methodology may provide the best outcome. It gives the opportunityto utilise both descriptive evidence as well as numerical data.
Although someauthorities may feel that numerical data is of more merit for their agencies,such as the police and commissioning services. Some critiques state that suchdata lacks the soundness, validity and depth in reaching reliable evidence,often resulting in gaps for future credible service provision. What is alsolacking in such information is the means, by which data was gathered, theinternal and external factors that may have impacted on the results, and thegeneralisation of such research (Strauss 1990). He further states that oftenthe transference of numerical data to any form of descriptive explanation maylose credibility, reliability and become far too generalised. The argument forusing such methods are that numerical data which supports any findings are more persuasiveand powerful than descriptive findings for some readers due to the visual numericalpresentation of such.Milesand Huberman (1994) state that qualitative research often lacks thedecision-making process and it falls short of descriptive analysis, this maylead to the unreliability of the study findings.
Thefeminist approachThisapproach pays attention to women and their rights. This approach considerswomen’s views, ideas and experiences and any struggles which come with being awoman. This method concentrates on a female representation as opposed to maleparticipation (Bryman 2008). When research is a holistic representation ofsociety, and viewed through a social work lens, it is apparent that thismethodology falls short in a true representation of all. Social work isconcerned with fairness and equality for all, and as such this method would notbe constructive or indeed objective.
Although this method may be warranted toascertain a female perspective in some research proposals, it however fallsshort in offering a male perspective in the findings. The sole use of thismethod in any research without any other method would not be justified insocial work, although could support and be utilised in part. Part b Definitionsof Domestic ViolenceItis almost an impossible task to find one generalised description of the termdomestic abuse (Gibson 1996). It appears that services would seek to define theterm based on their own service agendas. Chez (1994, cited in Gibson-Howell, 1996), states that a servicefocussing on the sole support for female victims, will often describe domesticabuse as subjecting a female to physical or emotional behaviours, and talks ofrepeated patterns of forceful coercive relationships.
Some of the more commonlyfound themes that are often found when services talk of domestic abusesometimes vary, but all speak of some type of control to include: power,persuasion and control (Smith 1994). Itappears that The UK government (2005) have employed a more comprehensive accountof domestic abuse and one that encompasses all the depictions of domesticabuse, stating any psychological, sexual, physical, or emotional abuse allconstitute domestic abuse. They make further reference to gender or sexualityhaving no bearing on the narrative of abuse. The government website makesfurther reference to the statistics of abuse which portray that it is mostlywomen who are the victims of abuse .Domesticabuse is a complex phenomenon and one that needs to incorporate and beindividualistic in some respect, paying heed to cultural and sexualdiversities. This in turn would further add complications to the interventionmethods that may be employed in dealing with each case based on its own merits.This literature review will explore some aspects associated with domestic abuseand hope to surmise that there are many accountability factors when we talkabout this subject and that it must be approached with an open mind.
It will beresearched through a social work lens as well as a historical lens to ascertainthe perceived acceptance of domestic abuse in contemporary society. HistoricalAbuseDomesticabuse against women dating back to the nineteenth century was a discussion ofmuch debate (Danis 2003). The first laws that pertained to marriage were, in fact, supportive of hittingones’ wife.
The laws further spoke of the absolute right of the husband overhis wife, and the legislation was structured accordingly. This superiorityspoke of obedience to the husband and deviance from this came with aretribution. (Tuerkheimer 2004) The turn into the new century, allowed for someimprovements in such laws being softened to discourage violence against ones’wife. The victims may not have had any relief in knowing so, as no victimsupport or punishment was imposed. What had emerged instead was the trend thatpaved the way for private family life matters (Turekheimer 2004) Itwas later in the 1960s that the feminist movement gave rise to the interest in women’swelfare and paved the way for more equal rights. and condemned the violenceagainst women. With little funds, women’s refuge’s and support centres wereborn. They further fought for the chastisement of offenders, and education forprofessionals.
(Danis 2003). Someforty years on, the public interest in domestic abuse and the impact thisimparts on the whole family has grown immensely. Government funding andcontinuous professional training in this topic are ever emerging. Today,society recognises that domestic abuse is not only in the form of physicalabuse, but also emotional, sexual, and financial. This further includespartners of the same sex and additionally is not gender specific. Cruz (2003)speaks of the fact that husbands are equally considered victims. DomesticAbuse affecting females.
Thelimitations in support for male victims across the UK and Scotland, would beindicative of the fact that most victims of domestic abuse are women, assupported by Simmerman (2002). Wha-soon (1994) further supports this when hestates that women suffering domestic abuse suffer long standing psychologicaltrauma It has been suggested that to seek respitefrom this trauma, women very often chose to live under financially demandingconditions such as hostels or refuge’s to be free of the perpetrator (Brown andKenneym 1996).Starr(2001), suggests that women who are responsible for the parenting of theirchildren are often affected in providing good enough care to their children,due to the strains of trying to compose their own, mental and physicalwellbeing. Further reference is made to the correlation between women abusedand maltreatment of their own children by themselves Isaac (1997).Thepitiful realisation of the impact of domestic abuse on children becomesapparent where it is suggested that over ninety percent of children in suchhomes are affected.
Hewitt (2002). This Leads to low self-esteem, isolationamongst peers, and confidence. Although Children may become covert within theirchildhood, it may be, in later life,they too become abusers.
Wha-soon (1994) further supports this theory when hestates that witnessing violence, results in a pattern of the same. Time for interventionPreventingviolence, protecting victims, and seeking justice for the victims, are thethree intervention methods employed when it comes to domestic abuse (Press wire1998). The prevention of abuse may usually take the form of educationalresources and as such informs both victim and potential perpetrators of how toavoid this. Protection would seek to provide respite services for example orsupport services for the victim, and Justice would suggest that the perpetratoris punished.
The measuring of such intervention, however, seems arduous tocapture Kelly(2004) talks of the fact that this could further be enhanced if theconsideration of the wider family was to be addressed, looking at allcomponents and aspects, such as relationship dynamics and support networks. Itis anticipated that considering these factors could lead to a morecomprehensive justice system for the victim and that the protective factors areincreased due to the deeper knowledge of the family systems. Thereare gaps in the research in domestic abuse however and it seems that, asolution for one cultural background, may in fact be a cause for concern inanother. An example of which could be extended family members. This will bediscussed in the preceding section. Part cItappears that the research on domestic abuse is vast however falls short in anyresearch based on domestic abuse within the South Asian communities. Interventionmethods talk of the consideration of the extended family which are vastlyapparent within these communities, however, it does not make any mention of thecultural, and language barriers that may prevail, and the silent victims thatfall into this category as a result.
Extended families so far as the Asiancommunities are concerned, are often the reasons that abuse may occur. Thisstems from expectations that the extended members of the family must also belooked after, and if there are any shortcomings in this, then the wife isusually to blame (Zara 2012). An exchange method of information sharing, usingopen ended questions with women of this background would have undoubtedlybenefitted the research into domestic abuse. A Qualitative approach would havebest served this approach as due to the uniqueness of this server group, thetrue essence of their culture would need to be captured (Asian pages 1998). Itseems that Ethical factors are a reason that policy makers and practitionershave avoided this sensitive area of research, however, the impact of domesticabuse within south Asian families on women and children is immense (Asian pages1998). Religious factors, community conformity, and cultural beliefs all impacton the delivery of intervention methods, but also impact the partnershipworking between such communities and authorities where authorities may fearthat they are crossing ethical boundaries as well as a breakdown of communitycohesion, by interfering.
Women of such backgrounds, view their partners astheir honour and as such, view their own position within the community as beingconnected to their marital status (Thiara and Gill 2010). The views and ideasthat these women hold often stem from their own mothers and the cross-boardermarriages, which bring these women into the UK, often lead infiltration of suchbeliefs into their own parenting. An excerpt from an interviewee young brideaged 18, in Pakistan is an example of the expectations:”My mother is very obedient; she neversays no to my father. She leaves home for work at 8 am and only returns atmidnight. Even if she is tired, she does everything to make him happy; she runsour home and cooks whatever he wishes. All the men in our village beat theirwives, it is a norm” (Zara 2012). Ethnic minority communities impart many otherissues when it comes to domestic abuse. Dasgupta (2000) and Choudry (1996)state that as honour and respect and self-worth play a huge part in the southAsian community, many perpetrators use these tactics as a method of control.
Often perpetrators will not only seek to demand care for themselves, but alsothe consideration of their families also needs to take place. This undoubtedlyinfluences the children and the ability to cater for them (Dasgupta and Warrier1996) Choudry(1996) talks about the fact that South Asian women face rejection and hostilityfrom the wider communities as result of leaving such relationships. A Scottishstudy in the Asian community concluded that interference from wider agenciesinto private family matters was not appreciated and any disputes would beresolved internally (McNeil et al 2004)Althoughthere has been some legal reform over the years when it comes to domesticabuse, it is still argued that the male dominance within south Asiancommunities still prevails when it comes to justification of abuse (Siegel 1996).The pressures of maintaining the family honour and children together lies withthe women of the family (Hewitt 2002).
This phenomenon as reported by Zara(2012), seems to be prevailing from the cultural expectations from some ofthese communities historically, and may be difficult to overcome withoutcausing alarm and overcoming many barriers in the process. ConclusionAlthoughthere appears to be much accessible literature on domestic abuse, there ishowever, very limited literature on ethnic minority communities and the addedissues that need to be considered when addressing abuse. As mentionedpreviously, Qualitative research accessing women’s perspectives of their ownperceptions of abuse, and the way in which they survived would go a long way inserving the knowledge to add to the intervention methods employed. The data ofthe qualitative research should be employed and adapted to add to new policiesand laws which woulkd need to be reformed to address and implement thesefindings maintaining the dignity, privacy and safety of any willingparticipant. ReferencesASIANPAGES, (1998) What is domestic violence? November 14, 1998.
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