Students In Research

Students have the opportunity to be highly-involved in research at the KU School of Social Welfare. Find more resources about students in research below.



BSW Research Courses

  • SW 540 Fundamentals of Social

    An examination of the basic concepts and principles of scientific inquiry as applied to the social work profession's quest for and utilization of knowledge. Positivistic and naturalistic methods of inquiry are covered. Other content includes conceptualization, operat

  • SW 541 Social Work Research Seminar

    Focus is on applying material learned in SW 540 to the critique of empirical work in the social work arena and to the development of a proposal for a practice-based research project. Emphasis on assessing relevance of research to special populations. Content on the interpret




MSW Research Courses

  • Social Work Research (SW 740)

    Course offers students the opportunity to become informed consumers of social-work-relevant research and to develop skill in evaluating the effectiveness of their own work with clients and the effectiveness of the programs in which they work.

Student Research Poem

Impact. Impact gained. Impact given. Impact is everything. 
Through all occurrences impact appears. Impact is felt. Impact is learned. 
 
Learned I can change the world
for those near and far
 
Learned as I found empowered perspective
looking through different lenses
 
Learned how much I need to know,
and weight of my responsibility
 
Learned how my research
can connect queer community
 
Learned how to free myself
through other's liberation
 
-spring 2021 SW541 class


MSW Research Scholars

 

 

 

The Opportunity: to work closely, one-on-one with a faculty member or researcher to learn about the research process and to enhance critical thinking about social problems and their solutions.

 

Eligibility Criteria: Current MSW student in good standing (priority will be given to students in the advanced year of the program, though all are invited to apply)

 

What the Student will be doing:

  • Work closely with a faculty member on their research for 22 weeks (11 weeks each semester). The commitment is for an average of (8) hours per week. You will not be expected to work over major university holidays or during exam weeks.
  • You will be exposed to many phases of the research and publication process. Various faculty members are at different points in their research, so what you will be doing may differ from what your classmate may be doing.
  • Some possible tasks: literature reviews, interviewing research subjects according to a protocol, helping construct surveys, coding qualitative data, helping write sections of an article based on the research, and many other possibilities.

 

What the Faculty member will be doing:

  • Introducing you to the exciting world of research
  • Showing you how research can make a difference for the profession of social work and in our communities
  • Teaching you to think critically about social problems and social solutions and about research data
  • Depending on the research phase, teaching you how to go about structuring a proposal or an article or a research report. In some cases, depending on the level of your contribution, you may be a secondary author on a publication or work with your faculty mentor to prepare and (hopefully) deliver a paper at a major conference

 

Application Process:

Applications open each August with work between October to May.

  • Complete application form and all application materials no later than September 10th.  Applications submitted after this date will not be accepted
  • Be sure to include your first and second research area of interest
  • Your research area of interest will be matched to the researchers who have agreed to work with MSW students on their research
  • Those students for whom there is a match will have an interview with the prospective faculty/ research mentor
  • Final decisions will be made by the Office of the Dean in consultation with potential mentors

 

 

2021-22 Research Opportunities

PI: Drs. Juliana Carlson, Nancy Kepple, and Becci Akin, along with Cheryl Holmes

Topic: Quality Improvement Center on Domestic Violence in Child Welfare (QIC-DVCW)

Need: Note: two students are being requested for this project)

Come join our evaluation team! Drs. Juliana Carlson, Nancy Kepple, and Becci Akin, along with Cheryl Holmes, make up the KUSSW Evaluation Team of the Children’s Bureau funded Quality Improvement Center on Domestic Violence in Child Welfare (QIC-DVCW). Over the last five years, working collaboratively with our national partners and three project sites, we have collected data to test an evidence-informed approach. The purpose of this research is to evaluate the implementation, outcomes and cost of an adult and child survivor-centered approach to serve child-welfare involved families experiencing domestic violence. Students may assist in literature review searches to be used in research publications (depending on how extensive the work, work may lead to authorship credit on a publication), support the cleaning and processing of Case Record Review data from two state child welfare systems or listen to audio records and review transcripts of focus group sessions and interviews to check for accuracy. If a student has experience with the issue of domestic violence, there may be opportunities for assisting with coding (i.e., step in qualitative data analysis) of focus groups and interviews with people with lived experience (i.e., DV survivors and people who use violence). If you are interested in contributing to research at the intersection of domestic violence and child welfare, and learning more about implementation science, intervention research, and collaborative and anti-racist research practices, let’s talk!

PI: Dr. Meg Paceley

Topic: LGBTQ+ Youth in Families and Communities: Risk and Resilience

Need: LGBTQ+ face stigma and victimization in their families and communities, increasing their risks of physical and mental health disparities. Several projects under the direction of Dr. Meg Paceley explore the ways in which the social environments in which LGBTQ+ youth are situated impact their health, with the goal of identifying and implementing interventions. An MSW Research Scholar would have the opportunity to work on one or more of the following projects through data collection, analysis and writing: 1)LGBTQ Youth in Families Study: qualitative analysis of interviews with youth and parents focused on sexual health and other LGBTQ related topics/issues; 2) Kansas LGBTQ Youth Needs Assessment: data collection and analysis of online surveys with LGBTQ+ youth in Kansas to assess health and well-being needs; 3) Transgender Youth In the Midwest: qualitative analysis of interviews with transgender youth about their experiences in rural and Midwestern communities; 4) Transgender Youth and Families: qualitative analysis of case study data (interviews, observations) with transgender youth and their families in Kansas. The student will receive training and support in learning research skills and have the opportunity publish academically alongside Dr. Paceley.

PI: Dr. Carrie Wendel-Hummell

Topic: Center for Research on Aging and Disability Options (CRADO)

Need: The Center for Research on Aging and Disability Options is conducting a federally funded study investigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Medicaid-funded in-home care for older adults and individuals with disabilities. Home-based care is less regulated than institutional care and not always guided by a clear chain of command. HCBS care teams had to respond to the pandemic in real-time with minimal guidance.  What worked well and what could have been better?  The end goal of this research is to identify practice and policy needs for an improved HCBS system response to future pandemics or similar emergencies. Qualitative interview and quantitative survey data is currently being collected from Home and Community Based Service (HCBS) consumers, workers, providers, and caregivers in Kansas. CRADO is collaborating with researchers from the Department of Sociology and KUMC School of Nursing on this project, as well as community partners. Depending on the student's interest and fit, the student may assist with facilitating community engagement, qualitative coding of interview data, data cleaning of quantitative survey data, codebook development, analysis and disseminating results to academic and public audiences.

PI: Drs. Juliana Carlson, Nancy Kepple, and Becci Akin, along with Cheryl Holmes

Topic: Quality Improvement Center on Domestic Violence in Child Welfare (QIC-DVCW)

Need: Note: two students are being requested for this project)

Come join our evaluation team! Drs. Juliana Carlson, Nancy Kepple, and Becci Akin, along with Cheryl Holmes, make up the KUSSW Evaluation Team of the Children’s Bureau funded Quality Improvement Center on Domestic Violence in Child Welfare (QIC-DVCW). Over the last five years, working collaboratively with our national partners and three project sites, we have collected data to test an evidence-informed approach. The purpose of this research is to evaluate the implementation, outcomes and cost of an adult and child survivor-centered approach to serve child-welfare involved families experiencing domestic violence. Students may assist in literature review searches to be used in research publications (depending on how extensive the work, work may lead to authorship credit on a publication), support the cleaning and processing of Case Record Review data from two state child welfare systems or listen to audio records and review transcripts of focus group sessions and interviews to check for accuracy. If a student has experience with the issue of domestic violence, there may be opportunities for assisting with coding (i.e., step in qualitative data analysis) of focus groups and interviews with people with lived experience (i.e., DV survivors and people who use violence). If you are interested in contributing to research at the intersection of domestic violence and child welfare, and learning more about implementation science, intervention research, and collaborative and anti-racist research practices, let’s talk!

PI: Dr. Meg Paceley

Topic: LGBTQ+ Youth in Families and Communities: Risk and Resilience

Need: LGBTQ+ face stigma and victimization in their families and communities, increasing their risks of physical and mental health disparities. Several projects under the direction of Dr. Meg Paceley explore the ways in which the social environments in which LGBTQ+ youth are situated impact their health, with the goal of identifying and implementing interventions. An MSW Research Scholar would have the opportunity to work on one or more of the following projects through data collection, analysis and writing: 1)LGBTQ Youth in Families Study: qualitative analysis of interviews with youth and parents focused on sexual health and other LGBTQ related topics/issues; 2) Kansas LGBTQ Youth Needs Assessment: data collection and analysis of online surveys with LGBTQ+ youth in Kansas to assess health and well-being needs; 3) Transgender Youth In the Midwest: qualitative analysis of interviews with transgender youth about their experiences in rural and Midwestern communities; 4) Transgender Youth and Families: qualitative analysis of case study data (interviews, observations) with transgender youth and their families in Kansas. The student will receive training and support in learning research skills and have the opportunity publish academically alongside Dr. Paceley.

PI: Dr. Carrie Wendel-Hummell

Topic: Center for Research on Aging and Disability Options (CRADO)

Need: The Center for Research on Aging and Disability Options is conducting a federally funded study investigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Medicaid-funded in-home care for older adults and individuals with disabilities. Home-based care is less regulated than institutional care and not always guided by a clear chain of command. HCBS care teams had to respond to the pandemic in real-time with minimal guidance.  What worked well and what could have been better?  The end goal of this research is to identify practice and policy needs for an improved HCBS system response to future pandemics or similar emergencies. Qualitative interview and quantitative survey data is currently being collected from Home and Community Based Service (HCBS) consumers, workers, providers, and caregivers in Kansas. CRADO is collaborating with researchers from the Department of Sociology and KUMC School of Nursing on this project, as well as community partners. Depending on the student's interest and fit, the student may assist with facilitating community engagement, qualitative coding of interview data, data cleaning of quantitative survey data, codebook development, analysis and disseminating results to academic and public audiences.

PI: Dr. Kaela Byers

Topic: Family First Prevention Services Act Evaluation (FFPSA)

Need: FFPSA is a multi-year study designed to examine the impact of selected community-based prevention programs to strengthen families and prevent child welfare involvement in the state of Kansas. This project uses primary and administrative data collected from families across the state to assess implementation and outcomes related to the delivery of these programs. Our goal is to provide evidence of the effectiveness of prevention services in Kansas to keep children safely with their families whenever possible. The student will have the opportunity to participate in all parts of the project, as they align with your interests and skills. Activities may include: contributing to design discussions, data management, partnering and supporting community-based agencies to engage in evaluation activities, conducting qualitative interviews, contributing to qualitative and quantitative analyses, and collaborating with a multidisciplinary team to contribute to publications, conference presentations and reports.

PI: Dr. Becci Akin

Topic: Kansas PMTO/Kansas Strong for Children and Families (Kansas Strong)

Need: The position is open for the student to pick one of two research projects depending on the student’s interest: 1) Kansas PMTO is an evidence-based parent training program proven to help parents strengthen their families, especially families who are involved with the foster care system. It is a multi-state and statewide program rated as level 1 (well-supported by research evidence) with a high relevance to child welfare on the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare. The University of Kansas School of Social Welfare provides infrastructure support and evaluation services to family-serving agencies in Kansas that deliver Kansas PMTO services.  2) Kansas Strong for Children and Families (Kansas Strong) is a public-private-university collaborative that includes the Kansas Department for Children and Families; Kansas Family Advisory Network, Parent Partners, Kansas Youth Advisory Council, Kansas Court Improvement Program, Office of Judicial Administration, Kansas Supreme Court Task Force on Permanency Planning, Children’s Alliance, the state’s network of private providers of family preservation and foster care - Cornerstones of Care, DCCCA, KVC Kansas, Saint Francis Ministries, and TFI; and, the University of Kansas. Kansas Strong aims to establish a collaborative and effective initiative that develops, implements, and evaluates strategies that will improve safety, permanency, and well‐being outcomes, by enhancing agency and court/legal practices and reducing systemic barriers.

 

PI: Dr. Meredith Bagwell-Gray

Topic: Trauma-Informed Sexual Safety Planning: A New Approach for Cervical Cancer Prevention in Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence (TISSP)

Need: Are you interested in domestic violence & sexual health & how these topics overlap? This research focuses on sexual health in women who experience domestic violence. Specifically, a sexual health intervention (a therapeutic support group with educational materials) for women who experience intimate partner violence. Intimate partner violence is domestic violence that occurs specifically between couples who are dating, married, or in romantic relationships & can include current partners and ex-partners. Types of violence include stalking, sexual violence, physical violence & emotional abuse. The goal is to increase women’s sexual health and safety by investigating whether the intervention is effective & if women like it. Possible tasks include searching for recently published journal articles on the topic and organizing them in folders, creating and updating annotated bibliographies, maintaining a website, managing communication with research participants, participating in data collection, research team record keeping, contributing ideas to the research design, giving feedback on intervention and program materials during development, creating visual tools (hands outs, infographics, pamphlets), etc.

PI: Dr. Kaela Byers

Topic: Family First Prevention Services Act Evaluation (FFPSA)

Need: FFPSA is a multi-year study designed to examine the impact of selected community-based prevention programs to strengthen families and prevent child welfare involvement in the state of Kansas. This project uses primary and administrative data collected from families across the state to assess implementation and outcomes related to the delivery of these programs. Our goal is to provide evidence of the effectiveness of prevention services in Kansas to keep children safely with their families whenever possible. The student will have the opportunity to participate in all parts of the project, as they align with your interests and skills. Activities may include: contributing to design discussions, data management, partnering and supporting community-based agencies to engage in evaluation activities, conducting qualitative interviews, contributing to qualitative and quantitative analyses, and collaborating with a multidisciplinary team to contribute to publications, conference presentations and reports.

PI: Dr. Becci Akin

Topic: Kansas PMTO/Kansas Strong for Children and Families (Kansas Strong)

Need: The position is open for the student to pick one of two research projects depending on the student’s interest: 1) Kansas PMTO is an evidence-based parent training program proven to help parents strengthen their families, especially families who are involved with the foster care system. It is a multi-state and statewide program rated as level 1 (well-supported by research evidence) with a high relevance to child welfare on the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare. The University of Kansas School of Social Welfare provides infrastructure support and evaluation services to family-serving agencies in Kansas that deliver Kansas PMTO services.  2) Kansas Strong for Children and Families (Kansas Strong) is a public-private-university collaborative that includes the Kansas Department for Children and Families; Kansas Family Advisory Network, Parent Partners, Kansas Youth Advisory Council, Kansas Court Improvement Program, Office of Judicial Administration, Kansas Supreme Court Task Force on Permanency Planning, Children’s Alliance, the state’s network of private providers of family preservation and foster care - Cornerstones of Care, DCCCA, KVC Kansas, Saint Francis Ministries, and TFI; and, the University of Kansas. Kansas Strong aims to establish a collaborative and effective initiative that develops, implements, and evaluates strategies that will improve safety, permanency, and well‐being outcomes, by enhancing agency and court/legal practices and reducing systemic barriers.

 

PI: Dr. Meredith Bagwell-Gray

Topic: Trauma-Informed Sexual Safety Planning: A New Approach for Cervical Cancer Prevention in Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence (TISSP)

Need: Are you interested in domestic violence & sexual health & how these topics overlap? This research focuses on sexual health in women who experience domestic violence. Specifically, a sexual health intervention (a therapeutic support group with educational materials) for women who experience intimate partner violence. Intimate partner violence is domestic violence that occurs specifically between couples who are dating, married, or in romantic relationships & can include current partners and ex-partners. Types of violence include stalking, sexual violence, physical violence & emotional abuse. The goal is to increase women’s sexual health and safety by investigating whether the intervention is effective & if women like it. Possible tasks include searching for recently published journal articles on the topic and organizing them in folders, creating and updating annotated bibliographies, maintaining a website, managing communication with research participants, participating in data collection, research team record keeping, contributing ideas to the research design, giving feedback on intervention and program materials during development, creating visual tools (hands outs, infographics, pamphlets), etc.

At A Glance

  • $2,000 award to be applied to sping tuition

  • Work an average of 8 hours per week, 11 weeks per semester

  • Work directly with practicing academic researchers

Apply for the 2021-22 Academic Year

  • Application Period: 8/31/21 - 9/10/21

  • Work will begin: October 2021

Learn More & Apply Here