The title of the article “Social workers’ attitudes toward the role of religion and spirituality in social work practice” (Heyman et al., 2006) adequately covered the content of the paper and was free of extraneous words…
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The title of the article “Social workers’ attitudes toward the role of religion and spirituality in social work practice” (Heyman et al., 2006) adequately covered the content of the paper and was free of extraneous words.The abstract provided a good description of the research problem and aims, but was rather vague in terms of the method and the exact detail of the findings, for example stating that “Implications and challenges in educating social workers about religion and spirituality are discussed” (Heyman et al. 2006, p. 3) but not specifying what these actually were. The problem was clearly defined in the introduction as a lack of research on social work practitioners’ attitudes toward the role of spirituality and religion in their practice. (Heyman et al. 2006, p. 4) This is an important area for research because, despite some uncertainty about how to define religion and spirituality, practitioners “recognize that building on the religious and spiritual strengths of the client may enable the client to improve their coping skills and serve as a support.” (Heyman et al, 2006, p. 4) The article seeks to explore this whole area understand what attitudes practitioners hold themselves, and how they can incorporate clients’ beliefs into their work. The literature review is comprehensive from the early 1990s onwards and covering training establishments within the United States, and shows that most social work trainees received little or no curriculum input on the subject of spirituality and religion in social work...
Gender, age, marital status, ethnicity, education level, and length of service in social work were recorded as demographic variables. Religious affiliation variables were defined as Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, “unspecified” and “no religious affiliation.” Participants were also asked if they had participated in courses in spirituality. 400 questionnaires were sent out to qualified social workers in New York State, excluding New York city itself. The selection of sample was random. The response rate was relatively high, with 227 completed forms being received, which was a percentage of 59% . There is no discussion about ethical issues, or approvals and permissions being obtained, but since the research was conducted via the official professional body for social workers in the state, it must be assumed that appropriate protocols were followed. The participants took part voluntarily, and one assumes that data protection and confidentiality rules were observed, although again this is not made explicit. The dependent variable is stated as being “social workers’ attitudes toward the role of religion in spirituality in practice.” An 18 item scale was used, and respondents were asked to mark their answers using a five point Likert scale. The Likert scale was an appropriate choice because it provides the best measure for attitude studies (Gilbert, 2002, p. 112) It can also appear interesting to participants and is more likely to be taken seriously (Robson, 2002, p. 294) Some of the data was factual, for example asking participants if they had participated I course on spirituality, and then if the answer was yes, asking exactly how many. Some questions were less factual,
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