Research Methods in Family Therapy

By Douglas H. Sprenkle; Fred P. Piercy | Go to book overview

Preface

When my (D. H. S.) collaborator in the first edition of this volume, Sidney Moon, decided that working on a second edition was not compatible with her current position as an associate dean, my first choice to replace her was another administrator. Fully expecting Fred Piercy to say no, I was both shocked and delighted that he responded affirmatively—immediately and with no hesitation. Fred and I had worked together for 18 years in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Purdue University before he moved up to Department Head at Virginia Tech. He has a great reputation as a writer and editor and has been practicing and teaching qualitative research for years. This volume became another “excuse” for Fred and me to continue our fruitful professional relationship (and warm friendship) that had produced two editions of the Family Therapy Sourcebookas well as scores of journal articles. Fred was largely responsible for the qualitative section of this volume, which I believe is as rich as it is current. As was true for our prior collaborations, to work with Fred Piercy is to work with the consummate professional.

A lot has happened since the first edition of Research Methods in Family Therapy was published in 1996. Our first task was to make this volume as up to date as possible. Thirteen of the 21 chapters are totally new, while eight are substantial revisions of previous chapters.

The text reflects the sweeping changes that have occurred in qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methodologies in recent years. In an introductory chapter, we describe the significant changes in the research landscape and how the volume mirrors those changes. There is also a special new chapter written for graduate students who are novices in the research arena and may feel intimidated by it.

In the qualitative section, while there are updated chapters on more traditional methods like grounded theory, phenomenology, and focus groups, there are new chapters on contemporary developments like participatory research methods, feminist autoethnography, and performance methodology. This section also includes new chapters on qualitative data analysis software, how ethnography can be used to inform clinical practice, and future directions for qualitative methods.

In the quantitative section, we tried to capture the multiplicity and sophistication of contemporary methods. The previous chapter on experimental research was rewritten to emphasize randomized clinical trials, the new “gold standard” for evaluating interventions. There are updated treatments regarding meta-analysis and approaches to prediction research, including advanced techniques like canonical correlation, multiple

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