Journal Article

Understanding Neighbourhoods, Communities and Environments: New Approaches for Social Work Research

Sally Holland, Stephen Burgess, Andy Grogan-Kaylor and Jorge Delva

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 41, issue 4, pages 689-707
Published in print June 2011 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online November 2010 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcq123
Understanding Neighbourhoods, Communities and Environments: New Approaches for Social Work Research

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This article discusses some new ways in which social work research can explore the interaction between neighbourhoods and child and adult well-being. The authors note that social work practices are often criticised for taking an individualistic approach and paying too little attention to the service user's environment. The article uses examples of research projects from Chile, the USA and Wales, to discuss the use of spatially oriented research methods for understanding neighbourhood factors. Quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods approaches that are particularly appropriate for investigating social work-relevant topics are discussed in turn, including quantitative and qualitative uses for geographical information systems (GIS), hierarchical linear modelling (HLM) for analysing spatially clustered data and qualitative mobile interviews. The article continues with a discussion of the strengths and limitations of using spatially orientated research designs in social work research settings and concludes optimistically with suggestions for future directions in this area.

Keywords: Neighbourhood; community; social work research methods; geographic information systems

Journal Article.  7094 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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