Dissecting a Theory and Its Application to a Case Study

Worksheet: Dissecting a Theory and Its Application to a Case Study

Most theories can be dissected and analyzed. All theories will tell you something about their focus or unit of analysis. A theory will identify its major or key concepts. It will also point to the definition of the problem and its cause. This then guides how the social worker assesses and intervenes, because the theory will also articulate the role of the social worker and how change occurs.

Basic Assumptions of the Theory

Directions: For each section, respond in 2 to 3 sentences to the following prompts. Where relevant, provide citations to support your claims.

Name of theory
Name of theorist
What are the major assumptions of the theory?
What are the theory’s key concepts?
What is the theory’s focus or unit of analysis?
What is the theory’s overall explanation for the cause of problems?
Application to a Case Study <insert the name of the client>

Directions: For each section, respond to the following prompts. Where relevant, provide citations to support your claims.

In 1 to 2 sentences, how does the theory define the client’s presenting problem?
In 1 to 2 sentences, how does the theory explain the cause of the client’s presenting problem?
In 1 to 2 sentences, how does the theory explain the role of the social worker for this client?
In 1 to 2 sentences, what does the theory say about how this client will improve or how change will occur?
Using the theory, list 2 to 3 assessment questions to ask this client to explore the client’s goals and how they will get there.
According to the theory, identify 2 to 3 specific practice intervention strategies for the client relative to the presenting problem. For each, explain in 1 sentence how it will help meet the client’s goals.
Based on the theory, list 2 to 3 outcomes when evaluating whether an intervention is effective.
What is one strength and one limitation in using this theory for this client?
Questions to Consider When Evaluating the Theory

You are not required to answer these questions for this assignment. However, these questions could help stimulate thinking whenever you are asked to evaluate a theory.

To what extent does the theory apply widely to diverse situations? Or does it apply narrowly to particular situations?
Is the theory ethical? Is it consistent with the NASW Code of Ethics?
Is the theory congruent with the professional value base of the social work field?
How cost effective would it be to implement interventions based on the theory?
To what extent does the theory fit within the organization’s or agency’s philosophy?
What do research studies say about how effective the interventions are?

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