Tuesday, 3 May 2011


I need help.

I have to think of a dissertation research question that I have to write 15000 words on. I want to do a research study (quantitative) and I want it to be around mental health and possibly stigmatisation. I want to highlight somehow that even social workers carry a stigma towards mental health and how holding these prejudices could effect their practice. It seems quite basic though.

My ideas so far have been show that even if people aren't aware of the prejudices they hold that they are there. How I was going to show this would be taking a description of a person. Make them sound like the best person in the world. Then on one condition make a vignette that they have a mental health problem then on the other not mention it. Then I was going to ask questions to the person reading it about things like how likeable they find the person, how likely they would be to date the person, etc etc. And then compare the 2 groups. I don't know how I could relate this to social work though.

I want to write about mental health and I want to do my own study as I feel that would be easier than a 15000 literature report as I have already done research reports before when doing my psychology degree. I am used to the format of research reports and it is what I am comfortable with.

So I need help with ideas. It has to relate to social work somehow and also about how it would enable a social worker to be aware of any anti oppressive practice and how they may bring their own values in to their practice and how this can be avoided. Please please please help me as I am really struggling with all of this.




Kristy said...

I feel two real things go on with the mental illness stigma. Poor people are labeled the worse. Poor people are mental=crazy. People with money= eccentric. Also, women get the worse rap. No one wants to see a mentally ill substance abusing women period. Compound that on being poor and wow. I think it has to do with societal elements. Stigma is a societal thing so it probaly needs to be done with a socilogical theory and research practices in my opinion.

Differently Sane said...

My first thought is that the type of subject that you want to do would lend itself better to qualitative rather than quantitative research. Especially if you're trying to the illicit the "how" of rather than the "does" stigma effect practice. But then even if a bias is identified, SWs could argue that there is a difference between dating a mental, and working with a service-user mental, so maybe if you focus on using SWs in practice as the subjects, you could write the vignettes to reflect a work situation?

I understand though that perhaps you're considering some kind of likert scale. Will that perhaps won't illicit the depth or indeed the reasons for people? For instance, if people say they're less likely to date someone with mh probs, was it the specific mh probs or just the general ideas? After all especially with the mh pros such as SWs it tends to be that some conditions are more stigmatised than others, and just saying "Person has a mh condition", is equally likely to illicit their "this is the answer you want, see I'm an enlightened individual who never discriminates" response... just a thought. And if they do seem less likely for example, how will you know that it's the mh probs in particular that is causing the difference (yes I understand that you're using a control, but it might be an idea to have two vignettes, then use group 1 as control in Vignette 1, and group 2 as in Vignette 2, for example...)

Also, how are you going to choose your sample, will everyone be working within the same environment, or type of environment? And how transferable would that be to other social workers in other environments?

Those were just a few thoughts. And my initial ideas/questions. It could be an interesting study though.