Peer review statement

This resource was created over a year and a half by the team of core authors, content creators, and other contributors. At the outset of the project, faculty and student advisers (listed in the front matter) provided formative feedback at the following stages of production: forming the original mission statement and grant proposal, drafting the table of contents, and outlining individual chapters. Advisors are credited as contributors in the front matter of the textbook. Their contributions to the early stages of production are not noted in the table below, which depicts the changes made during summative peer review completed after chapters were written and in beta testing.

After authors completed writing each chapter, they submitted their a beta edition of their work for peer review by these faculty and student advisers as well as external peer reviewers recruited through the BPD listserv for social work educators. We are incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support from the community of social work educators, and hope that the review provided by the 22 external reviewers and six internal reviewers (faculty and student advisers) demonstrates the rigor with which the authors created this resource. Peer reviewers are credited as contributors in the front matter of the textbook. Authors incorporated peer review comments and completed an internal review between authors and editors to address any remaining issues.

An important caveat to our peer review is that the vast majority of content in five chapters (6, 8, 9, 11, and 12) has not been peer reviewed in its final presentation. Although peer reviewers provided insightful feedback on those chapters, there were significant issues identified during the team’s internal review that caused authors to cut old material and revise sections with a mostly blank slate. For this reason, these chapters should not be considered peer reviewed.

We welcome post-publication peer review from students and faculty in our annotation group for peer reviewers, which is regularly checked by the project manager. You can leave an open peer review for our resources on OER Commons or Merlot, or if you have attended an Open Education Network training, on the Open Textbook Library. If you prefer to share your thoughts via email or memo, contact to provide feedback and inform future revisions and editions of this textbook. We’d love to hear from you!

Peer review summary table
Chapter Names of reviewers Summary of peer review comments accepted Summary of peer review comments not accepted Author notes
Chapter 1 Courtney Crenshaw, Debra Olson-Morrison, Marcia Runnberg-Valadez, Sarah Price Fixed broken SAMHSA links, Added video case study for EBP and cultural humility, many helpful grammar and language suggestions, updated example on social stratification and education to more modern citation, added roadmap of the book at the end, reframing myths to student beliefs, adding CSWE/EPAS on research Shortening case studies (will cover in class), Shortening research myths, moving research myths to front of book, integrating “informed practice” framing from CSWE (not familiar with it), objectivity and PTSD suggested revisions, elaborating further on informal research, some suggested changes in language, grammar or writing style Consider moving forward: informal language, WHITE examples
Chapter 2 Matthias Naleppa, Courtney Crenshaw, Andrea Reynolds, Michel Coconis, and Marcia Runnberg-Valadez Revised how research proposals are structured in grad programs to be more broadly applicable across programs, expanded on purpose of research and types of research with more introductory material, included raw data as “resource” in student project, included suggested language on keeping topics simple, and included ethics in the title of section 2.3 to note its more prominent role in feasibility concerns Did not agree with some suggested changes to language and writing style. Student reflection and application is used in exercises, so inclusion in other sections is not needed. Ideas about co-creation of content with students is best left to adopters and adapters of this resource. Kept language focusing research topics on future career goals, as it is not unreasonable to assume some students come with those. Did not change example of interviewing middle school students and trust as part of a gatekeeper relationship as the critique of being too involved did not make sense to me. Not based on suggestions, I also sectioned out critical considerations as its own section and cleaned up language around raw data and secondary data. I also replaced the figure to more specifically describe the research project cycle for students.
Chapters 3, 4 Michel Coconis, Melody Loya, Kimberly Pendell Provided more information on peer review process but less than the reviewer wanted. Provided links to think tanks. Added “write notes to yourself” as a step in literature searching. Clarified language around what is a secondary source. Noted the limitations of peer review. Provided open access social work journal articles as examples of types of articles. Clearly identified in section 3.4 that the PDFs come from completing the exercises. Added language about filter bubbles. Changed Beall’s list to COPE for predatory journals and added language about journal webpages being difficult to understand if they are peer reviewed or not. Clarified language on using citation counts to evaluate articles as seminal, softened and clarified language around edited volumes and why they are less reputable, clarified language on queries, broke databases down by public vs. university-access, added language on copyright issues with ResearchGate, added information on hierarchy of evidence while contextualizing it with the multi-paradigmatic framework rather than just positivism Linking to Questia (unknown resource that includes paywalls), explaining more about advertisements, editorial boards, and the peer review process in commercial journals. Integrating the CRAAP model of evaluating literature. Integrating Google Alerts (better suited to policy research), and did not define generalizability in this chapter. Framing empirical journal articles around common structure makes sense, but I kept the language about raw data as this is the key thing students need to know, as most graduate assignments are literature reviews, not an analysis of raw data. Inserting screenshots is a good idea, but I am unable to do this in the review timeframe. I did not reorganize the steps as indicated by the reviewer, but I did add language after each step in section 3.2 about revising queries and using multiple databases. Added sections on information privilege and critical information literacy, making this concept the core focus of the chapter. This chapter underwent additional peer review by a social work librarian.
Chapter 5 Courtney Crenshaw, Chipacti Ovalle, Michel Coconis, Melody Loya All in-line grammar and language suggestions were adopted. Argument was added to the glossary and bolded as a key term. Copied in qualitative results to provide example. Added language avoiding use of “prove” and using “weasel words” instead. Creating YouTube videos to illustrate annotation and outlining (not feasible in review timeframe), linking to additional information on statistics (internal links to stats chapters used instead), using more humor (I have no more jokes), using a different style for tables (keeping current one for uniformity). One reviewer noted that referencing and sourcing was lax in many chapters, including chapter 5, and should be more thorough in a research textbook. References were added, though additional sourcing and references would benefit this chapter and likely others. Fixed how statistical significance is defined, moved material on review articles to chapter 3.
Chapter 6 Lorri McMeel,  Matthias Naleppa As written, this chapter should not be considered peer reviewed. Peer reviewers provided excellent feedback, and to the extent possible, authors included it. However, this chapter was extensively revised as a result of an internal audit and has not been subsequently peer reviewed.
Chapter 7 John Gyourko, Matthias Naleppa, Mike Massey All suggestions for clearing up any confusing phrasing were taken and much appreciated. Linked back to chapters 1, 3, and 4 to ground discussion in 5.1. Added references for philosophical and theoretical concepts and more clearly addressed the multi-paradigmatic framework that informed our presentation in section 5.2. Also added links to HBSE open textbooks and sociology open dictionary to help students who were unfamiliar with HBSE theories and information. Reviewer highlighted the importance of humor and engaging language in this section to keep student engagement. This critique is correct, and I did the best I could to address it. But language is still dense in many sections. Reviewer suggested a visual representation of each paradigm. While this is a good idea for visual learners, visual representations from the multi-paradigmatic frameworks we cover only two of the assumptions (objective/subjective and radical change/regulation). It’s still a good idea to have a diagram, but I’m unsure of how best to represent them.
Chapter 8 Matthias Naleppa, Emily Massengill, Ted Alter, Larry Morton As written, this chapter should not be considered peer reviewed. Peer reviewers provided excellent feedback, and to the extent possible, authors included it. However, this chapter was extensively revised as a result of an internal audit and has not been subsequently peer reviewed.
Chapter 9 Emily Massengill, Matthias Naleppa, Andrea Reynolds, Lorri McMeel As written, this chapter should not be considered peer reviewed. Peer reviewers provided excellent feedback, and to the extent possible, authors included it. However, this chapter was extensively revised as a result of an internal audit and has not been subsequently peer reviewed.
Chapter 10 Emily Massengill, Mary Sheridan, Natalie Moore-Bembry, Sarah Kye Price Added discussion on the limitations of agency-based samples and the utility of non-generalizable analysis of subpopulations from agency-based samples, reordered discussion of sampling frame and inclusion/exclusion criteria for clarity and in all diagrams and text, removed references to “hypothetical” lists of people, included information on feasibility in sampling frame section, moved section 9.3 into section 9.1 as the questions are more general and introductory (not exactly what the peer reviewer said to do, but similar). Spacing issues noted by one peer reviewer were not replicable by author or in other reviewers’ comments, did not address sample representativeness in 9.1 but discussed in 9.3 as a critique of potential samples, did not agree with some language suggestions, left in language about departmental supervision of student research projects with human subjects (which varies form school to school but done at both schools I’ve taught) with very low risk of harm. Revise figure 9.1 to reflect new ordering and additional information.
Chapter 11 Larry Morton, Mary Sheridan As written, this chapter should not be considered peer reviewed. Peer reviewers provided excellent feedback, and to the extent possible, authors included it. However, this chapter was extensively revised as a result of an internal audit and has not been subsequently peer reviewed.
Chapter 12 Mary Sheridan As written, this chapter should not be considered peer reviewed. Peer reviewers provided excellent feedback, and to the extent possible, authors included it. However, this chapter was extensively revised as a result of an internal audit and has not been subsequently peer reviewed.
Chapter 13 Rachel Kirzner, Matthias Naleppa, Peggy Rapp Most of the feedback for this chapter was text edits which were accepted. I also integrated some of the comments and articles from Dr. Kirzner for the critical perspectives section. Dr. Rapp had some questions about terminology, including the use of “pure” vs. “true” experimental design. I left the terminology as it was in the text to keep it internally consistent.
Chapter 14 Lorri McMeel and Emily Massengil Lorri suggested adding a short discussion of comprehensiveness and detail in variables. I did add this, discussing how important it is to be comprehensive while also considering the onerousness of your data collection and ethics of collecting information you know you don’t need. n/a
Chapter 15 Madeline Pérez De Jesús, Carol Hostetter, Matthias Naleppa There were only minor suggestions for some language changes, including using BIPOC instead of non-White. I made these changes. n/a
Chapter 16 Lorri McMeel and Andrea Reynolds Lorri suggested a number of specific additions, all of which I incorporated into the chapter. Andrea noted a few minor errors that I also corrected.
Chapter 17 Peggy Rapp, John Gyourko, Sarah Kye Price, Sherece Shavel Retitled chapter to focus both on sampling and selecting type of data. All in-line grammar and language suggestions were adopted. Numerous glossary terms were added and bolded for consistency. Added more introductory information in beginning of chapter to facilitate transition from quantitative section to qualitative section. Student and research examples were added to help demonstrate concepts. Provided additional information regarding sampling strategies, different sources of data, bias, and subjectivity to help clarify concepts.Added exercise and textual focus tailored to specific considerations for developing student proposal. Re-worded a couple passages that were not clear. Added conclusion/summarizing paragraph at end. n/a
Chapter 18 Rachel Kirzner, John Gyourko, Sarah Kye Price, Mary Sheridan All in-line grammar and language suggestions were adopted. Numerous glossary terms were added and bolded for consistency. Added summative chart of different types of data to frame discussion for the chapter and direct the reader.Converted dense table to text to make it more approachable (section 18.4). Expanded discussion about research engagement in communities and impact at both micro and mezzo/macro levels. Added some additional examples to clarify concepts. Expanded information on secondary data analysis. Added a brief concluding paragraph. Tailored cultural humility discussion more closely to qualitative process. Incorporated more detail on elements of data collection plan in exercise. Expanded discussion on pilot testing and its importance. Expanded discussion of power imbalances in interviews. Added example interview guide and focus group guide. Added information about making decisions about numbers of participants in focus groups and member characteristics. Added example of capturing observational data. Expanded discussion of researcher role as observer. Added example artifact analysis data gathering tool. Added brief discussion about structure observation, but this seems more relevant to quantitative data collection. There was a comment about qualitative data software discussion at the end feeling buried. While some brief information was added, it was relatively little. It is unlikely that students will be accessing these for their projects and if they do choose to do so, it really requires them exploring additional resources (links provided).
Chapter 19 Mike Massey, Sherece Shavel, John Gyourko, Sarah Kye Price Reworded areas to emphasize that qualitative research often has a wide variety of smaller sample sizes (even single participants, as in a case study). Expanded discussion of “what/why” in numerous sections to help provided additional context for the various approaches discussed. Provided discussion to better frame social work research as a tool for social justice and the implications of this for social work researchers. Provided additional examples and definitions of concepts. Added information regarding “damage-centered research” and its relation to power and control. Added additional exercises earlier in the chapter. Added information regarding feminist, indigenous and decolonizing approaches to contrast with more traditional research model(s). While I did not add additional analysis approaches, I did identify additional strategies and provided resources to learn more. Provided context in the beginning that qualitative analysis is a much broader topic than the limited information presented in the chapter (brief introduction). There is still a limited discussion of “how” for each of the approaches, as the idea within the chapter is to offer a very basic understanding, with additional resources for further study. I did expand some information on informed consent, however other broader comments on ethics are more comprehensively addressed in other chapters (8,17,18). Decided to leave resources throughout chapter (where they are discussed), rather than at the end, to encourage increased use and contextualization.
Chapter 20 John Gyourko, Wanja Ogongi Reframed discussion of interpretivist paradigm to emphasize that this is just one vein of qualitative research. Deconstructed text heavy tables and added visual elements to break-up text and improve visual presentation of materials. Attempted to break-up the presentation of new concepts and contextualize them better (so as not to be too overwhelming with new vocabulary). Added additional exercises and references to student proposal preparation. n/a
Chapter 21 John Gyourko, Wanja Ogongi Provided additional graphics and figure. Included more examples to more thoroughly demonstrate concepts. Integrated discussion on participatory research more explicitly. Linked glossary terms throughout chapter. n/a
Chapter 22 John Gyourko, Tuwana Wingfield Provided additional student exercises. Offered examples of constructivist research specific to social work. Modified visual to reflect the iterative or cyclical nature of the work. Added content to help connect and differentiate various designs, more thoroughly explore cultural humility and research connection to social work practice (and our development as practitioners). Added additional information about including community stakeholders. Linked glossary terms. n/a
Chapter 23 Elspeth Slayter, Tammy Faux, Pat Dattalo, John Gyourko Elspeth pointed out an error related to when one might need IRB approval. I made the correction she suggested.
Elspeth also expressed concerns about how technical the idea of implementation science is and that students might find it jargon-y. I tried to clarify the language in the implementation science section and do a better job of linking it to process evaluation. I opted not to completely change the implementation science section because I think it’s important for students to know about it as an emerging part of program evaluation.
I better integrated some of my examples, including the example about the Australian government.
I did check on Elspeth’s concerns about the use of the term Aboriginal and confirm that it is a proper terminology. I made sure to capitalize it throughout the chapter.
Elspeth also provided me with a textbook chapter to help with the ethics and culture section of the chapter, which was very useful and provided great ideas for content.
I accepted many of John’s text edits, or they were addressed through our internal processes. In places where he felt my wording was confusing, I did my best to make adjustments to address that issue.
Elspeth suggested including information about the Goal Attainment Scale. After doing some research about this concept, while I do think it is valuable, I think it would be overly complex for students at this level. I did not further explain cultural humility since that occurs elsewhere in the text.
Pat suggested I consider a discussion of output versus outcome versus impact and include monetary elements of an evaluation. I think this is worthwhile content, but makes the content in this chapter too complex to be digestible at this level. The issue of outputs is addressed in the video about logic models, and I think that is sufficient at this level. In future versions, I would like to reconsider this idea.
Although Dr. Faux’s comments were appreciated, they reflected a fundamental disagreement with the author about the purpose of the chapter and the entire basis of separating program evaluation from research in this way. This could not be resolved without entirely re-writing and re-conceptualizing the chapter in a way that is counter to the author’s own experience and knowledge. As a result, her comments were not integrated.
Chapter 24 Matthias Neleppa, Kimberly Pendell Accepted all language changes suggested by reviewers, though few other suggestions were provided. This chapter would benefit from additional peer review One reviewer noted that this chapter was repetitive with chapter 1, but that this was okay if the purpose was to link it with the introduction Section 24.4 received additional peer review from a social work librarian.


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Graduate research methods in social work by Matthew DeCarlo, Cory Cummings, Kate Agnelli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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