Abstract: (see Poster Gallery) Song Lyrics Exercise: A Teaching Tool for Qualitative Research (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

667P (see Poster Gallery) Song Lyrics Exercise: A Teaching Tool for Qualitative Research

Sunday, January 15, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Chastity Owens, Lecturer, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Background and Purpose:

Social work instructors can employ pop culture as an innovative way to engage MSW students in qualitative research. Pop culture sources, as shared meanings, can be leveraged as data sources to enhance social work education. Social work students often struggle with qualitative research because they view the content as boring and abstract. Concrete teaching practices such as active listening and pop culture sources can help make qualitative analysis more enjoyable for students. The impact of using pop culture sources to engage MSW students in research courses remains unknown. However, such information could help instructors support student learning of qualitative knowledge. The researcher implemented a song lyric activity to engage students in qualitative research. The main goal of the song lyric activity was to engage students in a qualitative exercise and capture their perceptions and behaviors about their self-efficacy and knowledge of the research process after learning qualitative concepts.


A convenience sample of second-year MSW students (n = 50) was surveyed across three research social work classes at a public university in the Midwestern region of the United States. First, the students participated in a class-wide qualitative activity where they coded song lyrics. Second, they completed a survey about their self-efficacy and knowledge of the research process. Of the fifty students, twenty-four (48%) identified as White, nineteen identified as Hispanic (38%), six as Black (12%), three as Asian (6%), and one as American Indian (1%). The sample consisted of 40 females and ten males. Respondents self-reported their interest in qualitative research before and after participating in the song lyric activity, how the exercise impacted their knowledge and self-efficacy about the qualitative research process, and if the song lyric activity would be helpful in their future work.


Increased interest, knowledge, and self-efficacy in qualitative research were associated with the song lyric activity. Students believed that the song lyric activity was an innovative tool to learn about qualitative research. Over half (62%) of the participants indicated that the song lyric exercise would inform their future work. The following themes emerged from the data: song lyric activities in clinical practice, enhancing qualitative knowledge through coding, and increased enjoyment in learning qualitative research. The exercise motivated students to consider incorporating qualitative data analysis in social work research and practice. Finally, participants noted that activity helped them feel less anxious and intimidated by qualitative research.

Conclusions and Implications:

The findings provide valuable insights into how social work educators can use qualitative exercises to engage students in research. As demonstrated in the song lyric activity, social work instructors can use pop-cultural sources to help introduce MSW students to qualitative concepts and make qualitative analysis more enjoyable for students. Future studies should assess student and educator responses to this pedagogical approach.