Scientific Imperatives in Social Work Research: Pluralism Is Not Skepticism

  title={Scientific Imperatives in Social Work Research: Pluralism Is Not Skepticism},
  author={John S. Brekke},
  journal={Social Service Review},
  pages={538 - 554}
  • J. Brekke
  • Published 1 June 1986
  • Sociology
  • Social Service Review
It is argued in this paper that Martha Heineman ("The Obsolete Scientific Imperative in Social Work Research," Social Service Review 55 [September 1981]: 371-95) conflates pluralism and skepticism in science and dismisses any attempt to meet the aims of positivism through other rational means. A critique of her analysis, and responses to it, are used to explore the postpositivist dilemmas of social work research, especially the challenge to rationality in science. The work of Karl Popper and… Expand
The Epistemological Challenges of Social Work Intervention Research
We argue that the dominance of an empiricist epistemology in social work research steers much of the research away from studying and explaining the structural forces that cause the conditions ofExpand
Determinism, Science, and Social Work
The philosophical debate in the social work literature in the past several years over the place of science as a foundation for explaining human behavior and the nature of social work practice hasExpand
The role of scientific methods in social work.
The thesis discusses the widely held view in social work that practice should be based on intuitive and empathic understanding and that standard scientific procedures are inapplicable. I argue thatExpand
Romantic Social Work
Social work practice persists by virtue of a crucial alternative function: it is one of the culture’s practices of romanticism, glorifying national values in its insistence on individual initiativeExpand
Reexamining Epistemological Debates in Social Work through American Pragmatism
This article presents theoretical and historical analysis of the intersections between social work knowledge and practice and the philosophical tradition of American pragmatism. Reviewing currentExpand
The heuristic paradigm: A unifying and comprehensive approach to social work research
Abstract Social work should adopt the broadminded, up‐to‐date heuristic paradigm of research in place of the overly restrictive, outmoded logical positivist paradigm. In a misguided attempt to becomeExpand
Philosophical Disputes in Social Work: Social Justice Denied
s, 20. Hudson, W.W. (1982). Scientific imperatives in social work research and practice. Social Service Review, 56, 246-258. Jacoby, R. (1975). Social amnesia: A critique of conformist psychologyExpand
Theory, practice, research: Casual acquaintances or a seamless whole?
This paper challenges the positivist conception of the relationship between theory, practice and research which implicitly separates theory, practice and research even where there have been explicitExpand
What Does It Take for Social Work to Evolve to Science Status? Discussing Definition, Structure, and Contextual Challenges and Opportunities
The emerging discourse on science in social work (SW) has generated much-needed analysis of the profession’s status as a scientific enterprise. Brekke raised critical issues that must be addressedExpand
Social Work: A Profession in Search of Its Identity
Micro social work practice can be understood in the context of its historical professional traditions and dialectics as well as the environmental pressures and demands placed on the profession. InExpand


The Obsolete Scientific Imperative in Social Work Research
Martha Brunswick Heineman's article on the bases of social work research (Social Service Review 55, no. 3 [September 1981]: 371-97) is a fascinating and challenging piece. The point of view sheExpand
Scientific Imperatives in Social Work Research and Practice
This article examines recent assertions regarding shortcomings of method and prescription alleged to occur within the field of social work research. It attempts to clarify misinterpretations ofExpand
Rationality in psychological research: The good-enough principle.
" This article reexamines a number of methodological and procedural issues raised by Meehl (1967, 1978) that seem to question the rationality of psychological inquiry. The first issue concerns theExpand
Comments on Farr's Paper (III) Is Popper's World 3 an Ontological Extravagance?
James Farr, in his interesting exposition (Farr 1983) of some of the fruitful peculiarities of Karl Popper’s underused proposals for method in the social sciences (including history), which, in hisExpand
Realist Principles
We list, with discussions, various principles of scientific realism, in order to exhibit their diversity and to emphasize certain serious problems of formulation. Ontological and epistemologicalExpand
Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes
For centuries knowledge meant proven knowledge — proven either by the power of the intellect or by the evidence of the senses. Wisdom and intellectual integrity demanded that one must desist fromExpand
The test of significance in psychological research.
  • D. Bakan
  • Medicine, Psychology
  • Psychological bulletin
  • 1966
The test of significance does not provide the information concerning psychological phenomena characteristically attributed to it; and a great deal of mischief has been associated with its use. TheExpand
Statistical significance in psychological research.
  • D. Lykken
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • Psychological bulletin
  • 1968
Sapolsky (1964) developed the following substantive theory: Some psychiatric patients entertain an unconscious belief in the "cloacal theory of birth" which involves the notions of oral impregnation and anal parturition, which led Sapolsky to predict that Rorschach frog responders show. Expand
From a Logical Point of View
It is the wish of the author to keep general terms distinct from abstract singular terms, so that the over-all dis­ pensability of some assumption that has always rankled as ad hoc and unintuitive is discovered. Expand