Call for Exemplars

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In response to many requests at the 3rd Annual Social Work and Research Conference, I am seeking your nominations for model qualitative research reports.

If you would e-mail the full citation and brief annotation including the qualitative approach of the report, what you see as its strengths and its limitations, along with your name, school or professional location and email address - I'll put this on the web as a resource for others to examine and draw upon.  

It's fine to add other information but do try to be succinct.  Categories will evolve - please give feedback.

I have begun February 3, 2000 with a few studies I have found useful and some nominated for the best research article of 1998 by SSWR members.

Thank you for your interest! 


Gilgun, Jane F. (1995). We shared something special: The moral discourse of incest perpetrators. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 265-281.    This article show one way of doing qualitative research that starts with a conceptual framework, namely notions of justice and care from moral philosophy.

Gilgun, Jane F. (1994). Avengers, conquerors, playmates, and lovers: A continuum of roles played by perpetrators of child sexual abuse. Families in Society, 75, 467-480.   Reprinted in Richard Tewksbury & Patricia Gagne (Eds) (2000). Deviance and deviants: An anthology. Los Angeles: Roxbury. This article provides an example of a typology that demonstrates the how to convey complex social meanings; in this case, the many types of motivations that perpetrators of child sexual abuse state they have.

A Descriptive Study: Close to, but not fully, a grounded theory

Drisko, J.W.  (2001). How do clinical social workers evaluate practice?  Smith College Studies in
Social Work, 71(3), 419-439.  This study examines how clinical social workers evaluate practice.  It points to some dimensions which are mostly fully explored, but an overall theory is not offered (in large part due to article space limitations).  (Nominated for SSWR Best Research Article of 2001.)

Constructivist Qualitative Research

Healy, T.  (1993).  A struggle for language:  Patterns of self-disclosure in Lesbian couples.  Smith College Studies in Social Work 63(3), 247-263.  (Important topic, interesting idea, clear reporting but limited sample and a shift to rather realist proscriptions in the discussion [a real challenge for all constructivist research!] - J. Drisko)


Williams, T. (1992).  Crackhouse.  Reading, MA:  Addison-Wesley.  (Extremely well done, keenly observed, vivid - to the point of being sad and scary.  Beautifully reported.  My only small criticism is that the sample is, like the majority of ethnographies, probably atypical. - J. Drisko)

Interpretive Phenomenology

Gilgun, J. (1999). Mapping resilience as process among adults with childhood adversities.  In H. McCubbin, Thompson, E., et al., (Eds.). The dynamics of resilient families. Resiliency in Families, Vol. 4. (pp. 41-70). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Mixed Method Research - Pragmatic

Drisko, J. W. (1998). Utilization-focused evaluation of two intensive family preservation programs.  Families in Society:  The Journal of Contemporary Human Services, 79(1), 62-74.  (Nominated for SSWR Best Research Article of 1998.  Comparative study of two very different programs examining client reactions to each.  It was innovative to study these substantiated child abusers as consumers, honoring their views.  Alas, the journal length version uses single illustrations of key points and lacks complete sampling information. - J. Drisko)

LaSala, M.  (1998).  Coupled gay men, parents, and in-laws:  Intergenerational disapproval and the need for a thick skin. Families in Society, 79(6), 585-595.  (Nominated for SSWR Best Research Article of 1998. Sought vies of gay men in 20 couples regarding within family intergenerational conflict and strategies used to manage conflict, feelings, personal identity and esteem.  Very well done.  Limited sample but not overgeneralized. - J. Drisko)

Lindsley, E.  (1998). The impact of homelessness and shelter life on family relationships. Family Relations, 47, 243-252.  (Nominated for SSWR Best Research Article of 1998.  Solid exploratory study of how homelessness and related shelter living impact on families from the mother and child perspectives.  Very well done. - J. Drisko)

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last update  3/9/04