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Generalizing Study Results

Explaining the Sample

The case study titled “Social Work Research: Program Evaluation” focused on assisting low-income families. Plummer et al. (2014) mention that analyzing case studies is efficient in developing skills and expertise in social work, and this discussion is used to improve competency in sampling techniques. The program evaluation study sample includes approximately 22,000 families from a large county in the San Francisco Bay Area. The participants were then broken into three groups based on the service that they received. Consequently, 10,000 individuals participated in education and training programs, 9,000 people attended job placement classes, and 3,000 individuals accepted reduced benefits. To ensure generalizability, researchers tried to address the size and representativeness of their sample. Yegidis et al. (2018) explain that representativeness means that the sample is similar to the population. Thus, the study results can be generalizable because the selection consists of a sufficient number of individuals who share features with the population. It is so because the sample includes the representatives of a single county.

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In her discussion, Stephanie states that focusing on many participants and using random sampling are researchers’ steps to generalize the findings. However, it is possible to offer two alternative ways to cope with the task. On the one hand, Yegidis et al. (2018) admit that researchers can calculate the sample’s statistics to identify the parameters of the population. On the other hand, it could be possible to ensure generalizability by limiting the sampling bias. The program evaluation study mentioned that it predominantly focused on single mothers. It denotes that it could be more useful to avoid this group’s overrepresentation in the sample (Yegidis et al., 2018). These steps seem sufficient to ensure the study results’ generalizability.


Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (Eds.). (2014). Social work case studies: Foundation year. Laureate International Universities Publishing.

Yegidis, B. L., Weinbach, R. W., & Myers, L. L. (2018). Research methods for social workers (8th ed.). Pearson.

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