Society for Social Work and Research

Sixteenth Annual Conference Research That Makes A Difference: Advancing Practice and Shaping Public Policy
11-15 January 2012 I Grand Hyatt Washington I Washington, DC

40 Conducting Research with Muslims: National and International Perspectives

Friday, January 13, 2012: 8:00 AM-9:45 AM
Laffayette Park (Grand Hyatt Washington)
Cluster: Research Design and Measurement
Altaf Husain, PhD, Howard University, M. Taqi Tirmazi, PhD, Morgan State University, Soleman H. Abu-Bader, PhD, Howard University and Fariyal Ross-Sheriff, PhD, Howard University
There are at least three factors contributing to increased research with Muslims both in the United States and in other countries with Muslim majority and minority populations: a) the steady growth in the Muslim population, b) an increase in their utilization rates of therapy, and c) the potential for Muslims to experience backlash and psychosocial stresses due to the post 9-11 sociopolitical climate. Social work research has not kept pace with both the rise in the Muslim population as well as the increasing complexity and multifaceted nature of the issues Muslims face both here in the United States and around the world. This workshop includes a panel of four social work researchers at different points in their careers and specializing in various aspects of research with Muslims.

Very little social work research with Muslims has centered around themes related directly to their psychosocial well-being, their acculturation and integration strategies, the identity development processes and pitfalls especially of the second and subsequent generations, and the heretofore very low utilization rates of therapy and in general admission to and acceptance of mental health challenges. The panelists will discuss the following topics: 1) Cultural and religious considerations, especially as they relate to problem formulation, sample recruitment, and interaction with various segments of the population. The goal of this segment of the workshop will be to demonstrate the viability of research with Muslims especially in instances where the religion and gender of the researcher(s) is different than the sample population. 2) Considerations for the selection of instruments, especially focusing on the applicability of instruments whose development has been guided by a Western worldview, and whose testing has been on populations which have been predominantly Judeo-Christian. The panelists will make the case for the incorporation of the Muslim worldview in the development of instruments, but more importantly, the need to test further the potential for using existing instruments with modification in areas of emphases (i.e. collectivist v. individualistic; general concerns v. detailed explorations of familial well-being or conflict) and wording of questions among other concerns. 3) Research with Muslims in Europe and Muslim majority countries, focusing particularly on the development of social work and social services and the role of the social worker. Two of the panelists have conducted research in Israel and Afghanistan and will share the lessons they have learned as well as their insights on the tremendous opportunities for research in those two countries, in Europe and in other parts of the world.

During a ninety-minute session, the panelists will first address each of the topics above in a prepared statement. They then will take audience questions and lead a discussion.

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