Abstracts of Volume 15 (1,2/3,4) of Computers in Human Services, 1998


Volume 15(1), 1998

Using Qualitative Data Analysis Software by James W. Drisko, DSW, LICSW Jdrisko@sophia.smith.edu, http://www.smith.edu/~jdrisko

KEYWORDS: Qualitative Data Analysis; Qualitative Data Analysis Computer Software, Qualitative Data Analysis Programs; Qualitative Research

ABSTRACT: This paper provides an introduction to computer programs for qualitative data analysis [QDA]. Four software packages are examined in detail: ATLAS/ti, The Ethnograph, HyperRESEARCH and NUD IST. These packages are applicable to a variety of qualitative research approaches used in the human service fields. The merits of QDA software are described, as are some hazards. The use of QDA software described and the strengths and limitations of each software package are identified and discussed. Issues relevant to deciding among them are detailed.


Fighting Social Problems with Information: The Development of a Community Database--The Violence Information Network by David B. Miller,dbm5@po.cwru.edu and David DiGiuseppe

KEYWORDS: community databases, violence, database development

ABSTRACT: Computer technology enables communities to synthesize large, complex, and disparate datasets into a centralized database. Such integration can provide a community with essential information on rates, trends, and risk factors associated with a particular social problem. This article will discuss the development and implementation of the Violence Information Network, a community database devoted to the surveillance of violence and its related factors. The VIN development is presented as a prototype on which communities can design information databases tailored to their specific needs. The challenges encountered during development are discussed. Future directions for the VIN are also highlighted.


Developing and Using A Community Databank ,By Dick Schoech schoech@uta.edu, Cynthia Jensen jensen@startext.net, Jeff Fulks jfulks@mail.orion.org, & Kelley Smith ksmitty@uta.edu.

KEYWORDS: community information systems, databanks, social indicators

ABSTRACT: The idea of having community data available at the push of a computer key has been a dream of many community planners and activists. With today’s powerful and easy-to-use database software, databank development by most community practitioners is possible. Unfortunately, little standard advice has been developed on the complexities involved when developing and maintaining a community databank. This article presents several years of experience by a small community planning agency in developing, maintaining, and using a community databank on addictions. It discusses the development process and the details of data collection, programming, and distribution. Current use and the databank's future are also presented along with lessons learned. Our experiences can help others to be more realistic when planning and developing community databanks.


Gender Encounters in a Virtual Community: Identity formation and acceptance. By Goutham M. Menon, Ph.D. goutham@uta.edu

KEY WORDS: Cybercultures; MUD; Identity formation; Gender roles

ABSTRACT: Identity formation and acceptance in a virtual community are areas that one could consider the stepping stone to understand the myriad nuances that compose a social relationship in cyberspace. This paper explores a MUD called "Multiple Worlds" (MW), a "community talker" dealing with adult conversations on sexually explicit topics. It gives an account of how people strike conversations under their new identities. It also discusses the role gender plays in identity formation and it's subsequent acceptance by other members in that community. Finally, the paper gives some issues for the future study of cybercultures.


Volume 15(2/3), 1998: 

Special Issue:  Information Technologies:  Teaching to Use--Using to Teach.  Proceeding of the 1997 Information Technologies Conference:  Charleston SC, September 7-9, 1997.

Introduction by Frank B. Raymond <frankr@cosw.cosw.sc.edu> Leon Ginsberg <leong@cosw.cosw.sc.edu>, and Debra Gohagan <debra.gohagan@Mankato.MSUS.EDU>


Part-Time MSW Distance Education: A Program Evaluation by Michael Forster and Timothy Rehner

KEY WORDS: Distance Education; Interactive Video; MSW Programs; Educational Program Evaluation.

ABSTRACT: An evaluation of a part-time master’s of social work program including 18 hours of interactive video instruction examined student academic performance, instructors’ ability to achieve instructional objectives, interactions among students and between students and faculty, and quality of instructional environment.  The evaluation was conducted following 12 hours of interactive video, “distance” coursework.  Results of grade comparisons and surveys of students, faculty and staff suggest that distance education courses are comparable to the main campus courses in instructional quality.  Students and faculty voice concerns, however, about limitations on interaction and spontaneity imposed by the interactive video environment.


Outcomes of ITV and Face-to-face Instruction in a Social Work Research Methods Course by Michael A. Patchner, Helen E. Petracchi, Sharon Z. Wise

KEYWORDS:  Distance education, distance learning, interactive TV, teaching research, foundations curriculum, off-campus education, continuing education

ABSTRACT:  This study compared students enrolled in a foundations research methods course utilizing face-to-face instruction with students taking the course via ITV.  Students receiving face-to-face instruction scored better on the mid-term, but there were no statistically significant differences on the scores of the final examination, the written paper, or the final course grade.  No statistically significant differences were found on a research and statistics knowledge test or on scores of a scale measuring students' attitudes toward research.  Both groups were favorable to ITV. 


Building on Experience: Lessons from a Distance Education M.S.W. Program by Paul P. Freddolino, freddoli@pilot.msu.edu

ABSTRACT:  Using data from interviews with students completing the first half of an entire M.S.W. degree program delivered through distance education and a comparable group of students on the main campus, this paper focuses on many of the key issues asked about electronically mediated graduate education in social work: positive and negative aspects of the program; costs and benefits of participation; and overall perspectives on students’ experiences.


Evaluation of a World Wide Web-Based Graduate Social Work Research Methods Course by J. T. (Tim) Stocks, stocks@pilot.msu.edu and Paul P. Freddolino, Ph.D. paul.freddolino@ssc.msu.edu

KEYWORDS:  computer assisted instruction, computer attitudes, educational program evaluation, social work education

ABSTRACT:  This paper reports on the evaluation of a world-wide-web-based social work research methods course in experimental design.  The course was taught entirely on the Internet, with no meetings on campus.  The same instructor taught another section of the same course during the same semester on campus.  Descriptive process data and comparative student outcome data (grades and satisfaction) are presented.  Recommendations are made for others considering such courses.


Less Pain, More Gain: Computer Applications for Teaching Applied Social Statistics by James A. Forte

KEYWORDS:  Applied statistics, computer technology, teaching

ABSTRACT:  Applied social statistics is typically one of the most dreaded courses in a social work program. Technological advances in computer applications offer tools to lessen the pain and increase the gains associated with teaching and learning statistics.  This paper reports on a modest research project resulting in a computer-based approach to teaching Applied Social Statistics.  This approach makes full use of MicroCase, a statistical software package.  Results of  evaluative efforts which appraised the computer technology-enhanced statistics course are presented.  Course format, classroom procedures, workbook and homework assignments, evaluation tools, and teaching strategies are also suggested. 


Paraphrase II:  A Listening Skills Training Program for Human Service Students by Hy Resnick resnickh@u.washington.edu

KEYWORDS:  listening, electr0nic tools, skill training, human service

ABSTRACT:  PARAPHRASE - A multi media listening skills training program is presented and discussed. Major elements of the program include a definition of paraphrasing, some of its advantages and disadvantages, techniques of paraphrasing, and an example of how such a multi media program might be used to deal with a problem of interpersonal conflict in an organization.  Graphics, text, video images and audio were used in the design of the program.


Integrating the Internet in a Human Services Diversity Course by Julie E. Miller-Cribbs and Letha A. Chadiha

KEYWORDS:  Internet, human diversity, social work education, information technology

ABSTRACT:  Increasingly, social work educators have become aware of the impact of information technology.  Electronic mail, for instance, is utilized widely in schools of social work by students, facutly, and staff.  In addition, students are increasingly accessing electronic resources such as the Internet or online library resources for use in their class assignments.  There are many applications of such technology in the field of social work, including practice, advocacy, networking, communications, participation in policy formation, and teaching.  This paper will describe how the integration of information technology can be used in a course on human diversity.


Macro Practice and Policy in Cyberspace: Teaching with Computer Simulation and the Internet at the Baccalaureate Level by Colleen Galambos and Charles E. Neal

KEYWORDS:  internet, computer simulations, macro practice, policy, computer skills interactive learning

ABSTRACT:  The integration of computer training within social work education is necessary for social workers to keep abreast of technological changes occurring within human service agencies. This article presents several techniques to integrate computer simulations and internet research within the baccalaureate curriculum.  Emphasis is placed on the use of  these techniques to teach policy and macro practice. 


Human Services And The Information Economy by William H. Butterfield, billb@en.com

KEYWORDS:  Data integrity Data management, Electronic record keeping, Electronic funds, Hotelling, Information economy, Internet, Intranet, Smart card, Telecommuting, Telemedicine, Work

ABSTRACT:  This article discusses the impact of the information economy on human services. The major topics discussed include: the changing nature of work, the impact of the cost of adoption of technology by the human services, the changing expectations the public has for agency use of technology, the move to electronic record keeping and data management, the need for developing a data integrity management process, and the impact of the Internet and intranets on software development.


The Worker Safety Advisor:  A Performance Support System by Dick Schoech schoech@uta.edu and Rebecca Bolen bbolen@erols.com

KEYWORDS:  Worker Safety, Performance Support Systems, Multimedia

ABSTRACT:  A performance support system (PSS) improves workplace performance by providing on-demand access to the integrated information needed to complete the task or solve the problem at hand.  To test the feasibility of a human services PSS, the authors developed the Worker Safety Advisor (WSA), which presents several computer screens on which workers specify the situation they face.  The WSA then searches a knowledge base and presents relevant worker safety information in an easy-to-read format. This article describes the development of the WSA, including its background, rationale, objectives, resources required, and lessons learned.  The PSS concepts and experiences presented can help others develop similar applications.


CHANGING TO LEARN: LEARNING TO CHANGE by Jackie Rafferty jr@chst.soton.ac.uk

KEYWORDS: Social Word Education, Communication and Information Technology, Cultural change, Organisational change

ABSTRACT:  This paper provides an overview of the use of ‘communication and information technologies’ (C&IT) in social work education in Britain. It outlines the development of the use of ‘learning technologies’ generally, and focuses specifically, on the impact of ‘learning technology’ in social work education and training. It looks at various factors influential in achieving, or blocking, cultural change in higher education, which may be of interest to social work educators in other countries.


Information Technology and Social Work Education in Malaysia

Challenges and Prospects by Gabriel Chong

KEYWORDS:  Malaysia, social work education, information technology

ABSTRACT:  Given the current stage of development of social work in Malaysia, the potential of harnessing the advancements in information technology (IT) for the development of social work education in Malaysia is immense. However, there are multiple barriers to cross before reaching this potential.


Multi-Media Computer Technology in the Classroom by Jim Stafford and Dr. Michael V. Namorato

KEYWORDS:  Computer-based multimedia classroom presentation

ABSTRACT:  This article recounts the experiences of the authors as participants in the quest of their university to bring multimedia computer based technology into the classroom. The authors discuss the method of the university's approach to this task, review the process leading to the development of their own project, and then review some of the lessons they learned in the process.  They conclude by discussing the outcomes and presenting a number of recommendations for other campuses that might be considering similar endeavors.


Computer-Assisted Instruction in the Classroom:  Using a Web Shell by Wendy P. Crook, wcrook@mailer.fsu.edu  and Myriah Jayne Brady

KEYWORDS:  Computer-based instruction, technology and teaching, social work education, Web-based instruction, computer-assisted learning

ABSTRACT:  This article provides an overview of the development of computer-assisted instruction and the history of related theories.  It discusses the integration of an Internet-based shell program into traditional social work courses at Florida State University. A description of the shell program itself is also provided.  The results of student surveys from two courses indicated that the majority of students felt that the computer work enhanced their educational experience and increased their comfort using computers. The primary difficulties that students had centered on technical problems or problems related to having access to computers.


Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Implications for Promoting Social and Economic Justice by Paige L. Tompkins and Linda H. Southward

ABSTRACT:  This article is a consideration of the implications for the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology in social work practice as a tool for improved visualization of social and economic inequalities. Along with a brief, general introduction to GIS, overviews are included of the historical uses of geographic mapping, as well as current applications of GIS technology, in social work practice, education, and research. Specific illustrative examples of GIS-generated maps are presented.


Volume 15(4), 1998

Expert System for Utilization Review of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Cases by Norman A. Linn, Roger McCreery, Dale S. Kasab, and Sid J. Schneider

KEYWORDS:  expert systems, utilization review, database software, information systems, computers

ABSTRACT:  Expert system software was developed to assist in determining the appropriate treatment for substance abuse patients.  The software applies criteria, called the Mental Health Review Criteria (MHRC), which are widely used by utilization review professionals who make treatment decisions in managed health care plans. The expert system also collects a database of patient information, including the paths that led to all treatment decisions.  The expert system was evaluated by comparing its decisions with those of managed care nurse reviewers and with those of a panel of physicians who helped to develop the MHRC.  A set of 70 cases were assessed by the expert system, the nurse reviewers, and the physician panel.  The possible decision outcomes were approval of  providers’ requests for inpatient detoxification or referral for further consideration.  The expert system and the nurse reviewers each agreed with the physician panel in about 85 percent of the cases.  Both the expert system and the nurse reviewers were more likely to agree with the physician panel in the cases that they approved for inpatient treatment than in the cases that they referred for further consideration.


Computer-mediated counseling:  An empirical study of a new mental health treatment by Gary E. Cohen and Barbara A. Kerr

KEYWORDS:  computer, counseling, anxiety, online, therapy, Internet

ABSTRACT:  Although several mental health professionals now offer counseling via the Internet, little empirical research exists on how this mode of delivery impacts clients.  The current study compares the effects of computer-mediated counseling and traditional face-to-face counseling on anxiety and attitudes toward counseling.  While clients demonstrated a significant decrease in anxiety following each mode of delivery, their anxiety was not significantly impacted by the mode of delivery they received.  In addition, participants’ ratings of counselors on expertness, attractiveness, and trustworthiness were not affected by mode of delivery.  These findings warrant further exploration of how computer-mediated counseling might be effectively used as an alternative or an adjunct to face-to-face counseling.


Screening Adolescents for Health Risks Using Interactive Voice Response Technology: An Evaluation by Sonia Alemagno, Scott Frank, Maghboeba Mosavel, and John Butts

KEYWORDS:  Computer technology, Health screening, Adolescence, Prevention

ABSTRACT:  This report presents an evaluation of an interactive voice response telecommunications system developed for adolescent health risk screening.  The technology provides a means to screen adolescents for general health risks and to score self-reported risk immediately.  Adolescents listen to a series of prerecorded risk questions on standard touch-tone telephones and respond by pressing the appropriate keys on the keyboard.  Health care workers are provided immediate feedback in the form of a summary fax report.  The fax report indicates the adolescent’s risk level and suggested interventions.  This paper reports on an evaluation of this technology to collect self-reported risk data for 116 adolescents seen in an urban family practice center in Cleveland, Ohio.  Clinical impressions of the new technology are reported for a pilot cohort of 22 physicians.  The authors examine the process of using this technology to implement screening guidelines in various settings.


Seeking Volunteers and Contributions:  An exploratory study of nonprofit agencies on the Internet by Jerry Finn, jfinn@cisunix.unh.edu

KEYWORDS:  Information Technology, Volunteers, Nonprofit Agencies, Internet, World Wide Web

ABSTRACT:  This study reports the results of an exploratory survey of two hundred-nine nonprofit agencies that solicit volunteers on the Internet. The study examined agency goals for their Internet site; the associated development and monthly costs; their success in solicitation of volunteers and in-kind contributions; agency satisfaction with their Internet site; and agency advice for those considering development of an Internet site. The majority of agencies reported receiving volunteers and about one-third received in-kind contributions as a result of their Internet solicitation. Agency gains from Internet requests were modest, generally accounting for less than ten percent of agency volunteers and five percent of contributions. Agencies were generally satisfied with their Internet activities. Agencies that update their site more frequently, that have their own Web site, and that receive volunteers and contributions are more satisfied with their Web sites overall. Areas for further research are discussed.


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