The Society for Social Work and Research

2014 Annual Conference

January 15-19, 2014 I Grand Hyatt San Antonio I San Antonio, TX

Conducting Research Overlapping With Substance Misuse: Ethics and Measurement Issues

Thursday, January 16, 2014: 3:30 PM-5:15 PM
Marriott Riverwalk, Alamo Ballroom Salon D, 2nd Floor Elevator Level BR (San Antonio, TX)
Cluster: Substance Misuse and Addictive Behaviors
Audrey L. Begun, PhD, Ohio State University and Thomas Gregoire, PhD, Ohio State University
Regardless of their primary substantive areas, social work researchers encounter substance use-related issues and may wish to explore the interface between these co-occurring issues. This workshop examines several issues and skills that, when adequately addressed, strengthen the substance use side of the research being conducted. The workshop will emphasize issues and skills reflecting two of many possible domains in conducting research that overlaps with substance use/misuse: ethics and measurement.

Audience: Social work investigators who are either (1) new investigators planning to focus on substance use, misuse, abuse and dependence, or addictions research, or (2) experienced investigators who wish to extend their research areas to address intersections with substance use problems.

Goals: Participants will become (1) better prepared to contribute to substance misuse related knowledge building for the social work profession, and (2) better informed to engage in substance-related research and scholarship in the context of other overlapping areas of research.

Objectives: (1) Become familiar with resources for developing substance use research competencies; (2) Understand several ethics issues that may arise when conducting substance misuse research; (3) Develop knowledge of measurement issues (and potential solutions) specific to conducting substance misuse-related research. 

Specific Content: (1) The research skills and issues explored may be applied to research across levels of social work intervention: from individual micro-systems to larger meso-, exo-, and macro- level systems. (2) The ethics issues analyzed include: incentive payment concerns, intervention continuity at study conclusion, protection with federal Certificates of Confidentiality for studying illegal behavior, research tools as potential relapse triggers, and safety planning with substance impaired participants. (3) The measurement issues analyzed include: self-report data, biomarkers, and substance induced cognitive impairment effects on measurement, program level fidelity, multi-level measurement (individual in community context, social indicators). (4) The measurement tools manipulated include: brief screening tools and diagnostic approaches, TimeLine FollowBack methodology, systems change readiness, and social indicator databases in the public domain. (5) The resources that participants will be provided with include: 15 pages of tables describing measurement tools from an upcoming (in press) book by the presenters, web links to social indicator databases, reference lists, information about journals in this topic area, and presentation handouts.

Pedagogies: Presenters will use a combination of PowerPoint® slides containing factual knowledge, handouts for note-taking and identifying additional resources, group discussion of research scenarios presented in brief “discussion trigger” video-clip/iMovies produced specifically for this purpose, and hands-on manipulation of/engagement with measurement instruments by participants. The session is intended to be interactive, with participants able to take home tools, references, and other resources for later enhancement of their own work, as well as identifying social work scholar networks with substance-related expertise and interests.

Presenters: The presenters are experienced, published researchers in substance use, addiction intervention, and related topics. Together they have produced a new “how to” book for social work investigators interested in developing substance use-related research studies. They are experienced professional educators and workshop presenters, as well, having produced traditional, on-line, and iTunes University courses and curricular materials for both pre-service and in-service education.

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