Quantitative research methods in social work education: Status and development potentials

Fellmann, Lukas; Gautschi, Joel; Haunberger, Sigrid; Hümbelin, Oliver; Kessler, Dorian; Maggiori, Christian; Nieuwenboom, Wim; Sepahniya, Samin (25 November 2022). Quantitative research methods in social work education: Status and development potentials In: SGSA Forum 2022 «Transformationen Sozialer Arbeit». Online. November 25, 2022.

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The question of what social workers need to know about research methods, and quantitative methods, can be traced back to the early years of the first social work graduate schools in the USA. Looking at the current curricula in social work education in Switzerland, it shows that even today, a century later, there is no consensus on this issue. Compared to degree programs in similar professions, often less knowledge and skills on (quantitative) research methods are taught. There are several challenges associated with this: 1) A growing body of research in social work is using quantitative research methods social workers have not been trained for to understand. This impedes social workers from contributing to evidence-informed practice and policy debates. 2) Digitalization offers opportunities to collect and use data in social work agencies. However, most social workers do not have the skills to make use of this data. 3) The discrepancies between curricula make transitioning to consecutive Master's and Doctorate's programs more difficult. 4) Less training in research methods makes it more difficult for social workers to pursue a career in research. In our paper, we take stock of the current status of quantitative research methods in social work education. In doing so, we address differences in scope and content at Swiss universities of applied sciences. Further, we describe current methodological developments that are relevant for social work. Finally, we present a proposal on what skills and knowledge about quantitative research methods should be taught at different levels of social work education. This proposal can serve as an orientation for curricular work. Our paper has emerged from an inter-university collaboration of lecturers and researchers, which has its origins in a SGSA-SSTS research commission workshop on "Quantitative Research Methods in Social Work Education in Switzerland: Current State and Future Developments" in 2021.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


School of Social Work > Institute for Social Security and Social Policy
School of Social Work


Fellmann, Lukas;
Gautschi, Joel;
Haunberger, Sigrid;
Hümbelin, Oliver0000-0002-8983-9958;
Kessler, Dorian;
Maggiori, Christian;
Nieuwenboom, Wim and
Sepahniya, Samin


H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)




Oliver Hümbelin

Date Deposited:

13 Jan 2023 11:19

Last Modified:

15 Mar 2023 14:03





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