HSER 368

Understanding and Using Research for the Practitioner

4 Undergraduate credits
Effective January 13, 2014 – Present

Graduation requirements this course fulfills

It is important for human service practitioners to understand the relationship between practice and research. According to social psychologist, Kurt Lewin, the best practice is founded in research and the best research is grounded in practice. Acknowledging this insight, this course will engage students in an examination of research as it is employed in the human service field. The primary focus of this course is to teach students how to be critical consumers of research, able to read, evaluate, and apply research for human service practice purposes. A second purpose is to develop students skills for their future role as collaborators with researchers in generating knowledge from the field. This course can serve as a companion course for the program evaluation offering or a foundations course for students interested in pursuing graduate study or a preview course for those intending to take social or behavioral science research methods courses.

Learning outcomes


  • Students will be able to identify and match different underlying research assumptions with different kinds of research questions, research approaches, and types of statistical analyses.
  • Students will be able to articulate appropriate roles of different participants in the design and implementation of human service oriented research.
  • Students will be able to analyze the reliability and validity of research findings.
  • Students will be able to examine the ethical dimensions of research designs and studies.
  • Students will competently critique research reports and published research articles.
  • Students will be able to assess the implications of evaluation studies and best-practice research.
  • Students will be able to assess the significance of research reports for improving human service practice.
  • Students will be able to assess the utility of published empirical studies for their application to human service practice.