CSWE Press

A Social Worker's Guide to Evaluating Practice Outcomes

Bruce A. Thyer and Laura L. Myers
Publication Date: 05/15/2017
ISBN: 978-0-87293-126-8
Pages: 184
Publisher: CSWE Press
Topics: Evaluation Practice Issues
How do we determine the outcomes of social work services? Thyer and Myers have written an easy-to-read primer on the topic of empirically evaluating the outcomes of social work practice. This resource, for social work students—graduate and undergraduate—and for social work practitioners, presents outcome studies using both group-research and single-case designs.

Unlike other books dealing with the topic of evaluating practice which use theoretical cases, Thyer and Myers use real-life examples of evaluating social work practice, ranging from those fairly low on the scale of internal validity to those that are pretty rigorous. The book begins with a refresher on evaluation research, provides a balanced approach to both single-system and group-evaluation designs, and closes with a discussion of ethical issues, myths, misconceptions, and practical considerations in evaluation.

About the Authors

Bruce A. Thyer received his MSW from the University of Georgia and his PhD in social work and psychology from the University of Michigan. He is currently a professor of social work at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Laura L. Myers received her MSW and PhD in social work from the University of Georgia. She is an assistant professor of social work at Thomas University in Thomasville, Georgia. Thyer is editor and Myers is managing editor of the bimonthly journal Research on Social Work Practice.


"This book delivers exactly what it promises and so much more. For many of us who ‘walk the line’ between research and practice, and formulate our helping efforts under the umbrella of evidence-based strategy, this book is invaluable. From the first chapter to the last, the authors provide insightful commentary, practical explanations, clear and thorough definitions of major research relevant terms, and share their strategy for what design might work best in what situation. With each design, the authors always stress the importance of incorporating ethical boundaries and protecting the rights of human subjects. A must read for all as this book provides and clearly highlights the critical link between ethical practice and the scientific method providing a ‘one-stop’ reference for all that we do.” —Sophia F. Dziegielewski, dean and professor, School of Social Work, University of Cincinnati; editor, Journal of Social Service Research

"This book provides a systematic exposition of single subject and group designs for social work research embedded in a grounded examination of the necessity for and benefits of research in social work practice and of the services of social welfare organizations. Thyer and Myers provide a persuasive, highly readable, and entertaining motivator to student learning and practitioner use of research evaluations in their practice. This book demystifies and strips away the complexity of social work research, showing that it is intelligible and simple to learn—a wonderful bridge between the advocacy for social workers to evaluate their practice and the seemingly elusive reality of attaining that goal through the learning of students and practitioners.” —Thomas A. Regulus, professor of social work, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville

“This engaging primer on research basics for social work settings is easy to read and uses practical examples that any social worker can recognize. It makes the steps of research with individual cases or groups of clients seem so doable, perhaps even fun.” —Gail Steketee, dean ad interim and professor, Boston University School of Social Work
A Social Worker's Guide to Evaluating Practice Outcomes