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2nd EUROPEANCONFERENCE OF SOCIAL WORK RESEARCH CONTRIBUTIONS OF COMPARATIVE STUDIES FOR SOCIAL WORK Clara Cruz Santos Helena Neves Almeida Cristina Pinto Albuquerque BASEL mars 2012 1
THE RESEARCH FIELD IN SOCIAL SCIENCES ISVAST, COMPLEX AND PLURIIISCILINARY In Social Work the production of scientific knowledge has a double intention:1 - To produce a rigorous and deeper understanding of the context intervention (Micro, Meso and Macro) 2
2 -An intentional intervening reformer of society,objectified in the construction of normativeframeworks and of intervention strategies from real,able not only to understand the phenomena of thesocial world, but also (if possible) to promote theirstructural and functional change.Comparative studies put into question the objectivityand subjectivity, as well as the relationship between“observer” and “observed” in the construction ofthe object, issues that can not be neglected. 3
The research provides an opportunity to confronttheory with societal dynamics, a challenge for thedevelopment of reflective practices, an irreplaceableroute to understanding the social reality. Here, thenodes of intelligibility are constructed, acquiremeaning and print different orientations withinanalytical paradigms of the intervention. 4
There are several postures towards the theorethical and methodological demands in this type of researchThe purists The ignorantsThe totalists The comparativists 5
• 5 Key Points associated to comparative research:• a) “comparative research methods have long been used in cross-cultural studies to identify, analyse and explain similarities and differences across societies”;• b) “Whatever the methods used, research that crosses national boundaries increasingly takes account of socio-cultural settings”;• c) “Problems arise in managing and funding cross- national projects, in gaining access to comparable datasets and in achieving agreement over conceptual and functional equivalence and research 6
• 5 Key Points associated to comparative research:• d) “Attempts to find solutions to these problems involve negotiation and compromise and a sound knowledge of different national contexts”;• e) “The benefits to be gained from cross-national work include a deeper understanding of other cultures and of their research processes” (Hantrais, 1995:1). 7
VULNERABILITIES OF COMPARATIVE RESEARCH1 – Conceptual validity2 – Sample constitution3 – Deficit of understanding of different cultures andsocieties4 – Limited generalization of outcomes andimprevisible replicability of analised experiencesand practices 8
POTENCIALITIES OF COMPARATIVE RESEARCH1 – Increasing of social sciences understanding2 - Better explaining knowledge about social dinamics3 – Enable a reflexive vision of the reality4 – Provide a predictive vision of the differences 9
The comparative method as an expression of qualitative methodologies of social Work research joins the awareness to the commitment that research is a valid practice not only for the promotion of scientific knowledge, but also as necessary for the soldiery construction social life. 10
Thank you for your attention firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org 11