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250 Research on Social Work Practice 24(2)

false impression that it is acceptable to change methods mid- sample means is not given until a third of the way into the chap-
way through an analysis in order to produce more robust find- ter and then it is only one paragraph. Using this approach pro-
ings, and this is not appropriate. vides the reader the necessary theoretical framework but
The final chapters of the book cover a variety of statistical because it is so quick it is likely they do not even realize they
tests. Chapters 17 and 18 discuss the t distribution and how it are getting it.
is used with both one sample and two sample (independent and While the writing is clear throughout most of the book, there
dependent) distributions. Included in these chapters are expla- are areas where the author would serve his readers better by
nations for degrees of freedom, the assumptions for t tests, and providing more nuanced explanations for his suggestions. This
additional uses of confidence intervals. Chapters 19 and 20 pro- is particularly true when discussing effect sizes as well as one-
vide formulas for testing proportions in addition to introducing and two-tailed tests. Rosenthal’s suggestion to try a two-tailed
the one-variable chi-square test and chi-square test of indepen- test if a one-tailed test yields results opposite to expectation can
dence. Chapter 21 discusses the analysis of variance (ANOVA) be misconstrued to mean readers can and should switch analy-
while Chapter 22 covers more significance tests including non- ses as practice to obtain wanted findings. More careful wording
parametric (nonnormal distribution) tests. Chapter 23 provides and explanation here would be useful to novice social work
a lightning speed explanation of multiple regressions, logistic readers in understanding when to switch tests as a check on
regression, and two-way ANOVA as well as super brief over- findings rather than using whatever presents the best results.
views of structural equation modeling, multilevel modeling, The book’s emphasis on presenting examples and discus-
survival analysis, and factor analysis. The final chapter, Chap- sions on research designs that allow for random assignment/
ter 24, wraps up the discussion on inferential statistics by pro- selection is a more concerning weakness. This design is consid-
viding a balanced model for data interpretation with an ered the gold standard of research and is typically the only
emphasis on how to appropriately assess the generalizability design in which results can be generalized, but by focusing
of one’s results. The balanced model, which is a 5-factor almost exclusively on random assignment/selection designs
approach, includes statistical significance, strength of an asso- and not explaining why this would be used over other designs
ciation, causality, generalizability, and importance. This model is a disservice to social workers. The reality is that social work
is an excellent blueprint for how social worker’s should critique populations do not always have the luxury of random assign-
a study. It is straightforward and covers the pertinent aspects of ment. More importantly, it may not be necessary based on the
most social work articles. context of the research question. Given that many of the statis-
There are many strengths to the book Statistics and Data tical tests presented in this book can and should be utilized in
Interpretation for Social Work. As previously noted, the author nonrandom experiments, there should be some discussion as
makes good use of true social work examples which helps to to when this is done, especially given the brevity in which the
define concepts, particularly difficult ones. Another nice ten- author is capable of writing in.
dency is the insertion of previous chapters and specific sections Overall, Statistics and Data Interpretation for Social Work
when concepts are more thoroughly defined. For example, in is a great introduction to the world of statistics as they relate
Chapter 20 the chi-square test of independence is introduced. to social work research. The concepts are presented in short,
The author reminds the reader that in Chapter 7, Section 7.4, concise chapters that both novice and experienced practitioners
the concept of directional testing, specifically with categorical will easily understand. It is clear that the author paid attention
variables was explained. to the narration of the book as it is presented in a manner that is
Adding to this is the approach the author took with provid- more conversational than didactic. This could be perceived as a
ing theory within most chapters. Theory, in particular statistical weakness by some academics, especially given the use of
theory, is not the most exciting information a student receives; unprofessional references like Wikipedia and the alternate use
however, the way that the author inserts into the chapters is of first and third person, but given that this is a book that should
quite clever. He does so in short bursts that are covertly placed be used at the senior level of a Bachelor of Social Work or the
in the middle of a chapter. For example, in the chapter about concentration year of a Master of Social Work program, such a
confidence intervals (Chapter 13), a theoretical explanation for casual approach may actually be appreciated by students.

Harris Cooper Reporting Research in Psychology is a valuable addition to the


Reporting Research in Psychology: How to Meet Journal Article Reporting growing library of reporting guidelines within the behavioral,
Standards Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, social, educational, and medical sciences. In this reference
2011. 137 pp. $27.95. ISBN 13: 978-1-4338-0916-3 book, Cooper thoroughly discusses the items found in the
Journal Article Reporting Standards (JARS) of the American
Reviewed by: Sean Grant, Centre for Evidence Based Intervention, Psychological Association (APA Publications and Communi-
University of Oxford, Oxford, UK cations Board Working Group on JARS, 2008). Examining the
DOI: 10.1177/1049731512453619 content of JARS in depth, Cooper provides rich explanations

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Book Reviews 251

and examples to help the reader adhere to each reporting stan- added to this list so that it may better apply to psychological
dard found in this guideline. Adherence to these standards ulti- research (p. 109). The draft list of standards was then shared
mately promotes transparent, accurate reports of studies, which and revised with a group of APA editors, Publication Manual
facilitates the proper critical appraisal, replication, and applica- Revision Task Force members, anonymous reviewers from
tion of studies to policy and practice. American Psychologist, and members of the APA Publications
Cooper explains that the impetus for these reporting stan- and Communications Board. The JARS Group then finalized
dards was the push for evidence-based decision making in areas the list into its current version, and also developed meta-
of health and public policy. Events such as the establishment of analysis reporting standards (MARS) in a similar fashion.
the Cochrane and Campbell Collaborations, and policies such Reporting Research in Psychology is a complementary publi-
as the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act in the United States, cation that offers a detailed discussion of the items found in
marked the pervasiveness of this new paradigm. However, over JARS and MARS.
the past few decades, numerous reviews have revealed consis- Compared to other guidelines, this book provides practical
tently poor reporting of research that is meant to inform guidance for reporting empirical research studies specifically
evidence-based decision making in health, social, and public in psychology and related disciplines, such as social work. The
policy (Simera, Altman, Moher, Schulz, & Hoey, 2008b). In main JARS table provides an ‘‘all-purpose’’ list of reporting
response, collaborations of researchers and journal editors have standards to address in any article that reports new data. In
made a concerted effort to develop reporting standards that addition, due to the breadth of research designs used by social
assist authors in writing high-quality journal articles. These and behavioral scientists, the JARS recommendations involve
reporting standards are not requirements that determine the for- several modules (pp. 9–10), each of which contain a set of stan-
mat for writing or designing a study, but rather are recommen- dards for a specific research design or topic (e.g., experiments
dations that highlight essential details that journal articles with randomized designs). Researchers using the JARS recom-
should consistently and explicitly include. Reporting standards mendations should add any relevant module’s items to the ‘‘all-
are generally collated and disseminated through reporting purpose’’ list of standards and then use this combined list when
guidelines. A reporting guideline is ‘‘a checklist, flow diagram, writing an article about that study (pp. 7–8). In accord with
or explicit text to guide authors in reporting a specific type of other guidelines, Cooper notes that these standards are meant
research, developed using explicit methodology’’ (Moher, to delineate essential information to report in an empirical
Schulz, Simera, & Altman, 2010, p. 1). Guidelines usually rec- research article, not to dictate the style of a paper.
ommend that authors report a minimum set of study details that The first chapter of this book clarifies the need for reporting
are related to important research biases, are often poorly standards in psychological research and explains how to use
reported, and/or are considered by expert opinion to be essen- JARS. Most of the remaining chapters explain and provide
tial for all reports about a specific type of research. examples for each of the items found in JARS. The organiza-
In 2006, the APA Publications and Communications Board tion of these chapters follows the structure of a journal article
commissioned a group of five former APA journal editors to for ease of use. Chapter 2 focuses on the title, abstract, and
investigate existing reporting standards in disciplines related introduction; Chapters 3 and 4 on the methods and results; and
to psychology and to consider how reporting standards might Chapter 5 on the discussion section. In Chapter 6, Cooper intro-
be incorporated into the sixth edition of the Publication Man- duces MARS. Unlike his discussion of JARS, Cooper does not
ual of the American Psychological Association (APA, 2010). explain all of the MARS items due to space constraints, but
Rather than develop a completely new set of standards, the instead discusses the most important standards as identified
JARS Group sought to consolidate existing standards and apply by a survey of members of the Society for Research Synthesis
them to psychology. They also considered adding standards Methodology (Cooper & Dent, 2011). As Cooper indicates (p.
that are particularly important in psychology but have not been 91), a full discussion of all of the MARS items in another book
included in previous guidelines. or online supplement would be useful.
Development of JARS began in 2007 with the systematic In the final chapter, Cooper reviews the explicit methods
identification, collection, and expansion of previous reporting used to develop JARS and MARS and discusses plans for revis-
standards. Content for JARS was derived mainly from a previ- ing these guidelines in the future. Recognizing the importance
ous version of the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials of updating guidelines, Cooper conveys the expectation that
(CONSORT) Statement in medicine (Moher, Schulz, & Alt- JARS can be amended when consensus about other standards
man, 2001), the Transparent Reporting of Evaluations with emerges. Namely, the JARS Group has and will continue to
Non-Randomized Designs (TREND) Statement in public encourage other authoritative groups of researchers, practi-
health (Des Jarlais, Lyles, Crepaz, & the TREND Group, tioners, and editorial teams to use JARS as a starting point for
2004), and the American Educational Research Association modifying standards for their specific subdisciplines and topic
(AERA, 2006) ‘‘Standards for Reporting Empirical Social areas. Thus, a major strength of JARS and this book is that, like
Science Research in AERA Publications.’’ The JARS Group other influential reporting guidelines, these already robust stan-
compared the content of these guidelines, developed a nonre- dards accommodate future revision in light of new evidence.
dundant list of their reporting standards, and then modified and Such revisions could then be incorporated into future versions

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252 Research on Social Work Practice 24(2)

of JARS and this book (p. 110), keeping its standards current facilitates the widespread use and appraisal of a reporting
and based on the best available evidence. For example, several guideline by all interested stakeholders, which is essential both
reporting guidelines have been published after JARS was first to its impact and to its feedback for future updates of the guide-
written, many of which are updates of the standards on which line. While the scholarly article introducing JARS is freely
JARS is based. These include an update (Schulz, Altman, & available online, the need to pay for and order a physical copy
Moher, 2010) and several extensions (e.g., Boutron, Moher, of Reporting Research in Psychology could prevent researchers
Altman, Schulz, & Ravaud, 2008) of the CONSORT State- from accessing and using it. This in turn may hamper the
ment, as well as standards for reporting behavioral change impact of JARS, for the detailed explication of each reporting
interventions (Abraham, 2009). These guidelines could pro- standard (found only in Reporting Research in Psychology) is
vide additional or modified standards for future revisions essential to effective adherence. Cooper and other representa-
of JARS, particularly those standards related to intervention tives from the APA and JARS Group should consider online
research. open access for Reporting Research in Psychology, similar to
This book has several features that make it a significant con- the availability of the CONSORT Explanation and Elaboration
tribution to research in psychology and related disciplines such Document (Moher, Hopewell, et al., 2010), to remove these
as social work. First, Cooper methodically explains and elabo- hurdles to its use and influence in the field.
rates on items in JARS using accessible language. He engages Given the wide range of study designs that this book aims to
with the rationale for each reporting standard, revealing why cover, another potential barrier to its effective use is the breadth
they are important and how to adhere to them. Cooper also pro- of its standards. Cooper notes that some standards may be irre-
vides numerous examples from articles published in APA jour- levant for a particular study, so authors should decide which to
nals to illustrate how to meet (and not meet) these reporting employ for each article (p. 24). The discretionary use of stan-
standards. Furthermore, JARS rests on a strong evidence base. dards obstructs the purpose of reporting guidelines: to provide
Reporting standards should reflect the consensus opinion of a a minimal, essential set of recommendations to report in any
wide group of experts in a particular field, while also drawing study for a given research method (Moher, Schulz, et al.,
upon relevant empirical evidence (Moher, Schulz, et al., 2010). 2010). Having authors go through a comprehensive list of stan-
The JARS Group based its standards on a thorough review of dards and assess which are relevant for their article may lead to
the reporting guidelines literature, and many of the standards improper use of the guideline, due to poor judgment or fatigue,
adapted from previous guidelines are based on empirical evi- for example. Future versions of JARS could employ the
dence of poor reporting or risk of bias (Schulz, Altman, & aforementioned consensus methods to highlight the most
Moher, 2010). essential items on the ‘‘all-purpose’’ list, or to divide this list
Given its adaptability, future versions of this book and JARS into more modules for particular research methods if length
could benefit from newly identified best practices in guideline proves a barrier to uptake. Evaluations of the impact of the
development and dissemination (Moher, Schulz, et al., 2010). guideline—a key practice for keeping guidelines robust and cur-
For instance, the JARS Group could modify the content of rent (Moher, Schulz, et al., 2010)—could help determine
future revisions by employing formal consensus development whether this issue proves important and, if so, how to address it.
methods, such as the Delphi survey (Murphy et al., 1998). Though primarily targeted toward psychological research
These methods allow multiple stakeholders to be involved, and APA journals, Reporting Research in Psychology is a help-
while also providing robust ways to reach agreement about ful tool for many stakeholders in the wider social and beha-
guideline content by countering common biases associated vioral sciences, particularly social work. First and foremost,
with group-decision making (Moher, Schulz, et al., 2010). As it provides a checklist for early career and senior scientists to
a result, a wider group of stakeholders could be consulted when use when writing reports of their research. A variety of research
identifying standards for revised versions. A review of 37 designs, settings, topics, and populations encountered in social
reporting guideline developers suggests that involving various work are covered in this book, giving it the potential to increase
stakeholders in guideline development and dissemination leads the quality of journal articles in this discipline. Transparent
to more uptake of the guideline and greater influence on the reporting of research has the capability to improve the way
quality of research publications (Simera, Altman, Moher, researchers conduct studies as well. Accountability of study
Schulz, & Hoey, 2008a). Important stakeholders include pri- quality via clear and complete reporting at the closing stages
mary researchers, systematic reviewers, funding agency repre- of a project may incentivize researchers to design more rigor-
sentatives, policy makers, consumer group representatives, ous studies at the outset.
and any others who have an interest in the research area tar- It is also a helpful reference book for undergraduate and
geted by a guideline. graduate students taking research methods courses and learning
Given the importance of a reporting guideline’s accessibility about the essential features of empirical studies. Educating
to its overall impact, one potential barrier to the influence of young researchers about basic principles of research reporting
this book relates to the issue of open access. Unrestricted online can improve the quality of submitted manuscripts in the future.
availability is a critical publication strategy used for the major- Furthermore, the use of this book by peer reviewers and editors
ity of prominent guidelines to better facilitate the implementa- can strengthen and make more efficient the entire editorial pro-
tion and uptake of reporting standards. Online open access cess (Simera et al., 2008b). It can also assist research funders in

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Book Reviews 253

appraising manuscripts and grant applications, facilitating the CONSORT group: Example of an extension for trials assessing
acceptance of high-quality submissions. nonpharmacologic treatments. Annals of Internal Medicine, 148,
Reporting Research in Psychology is a welcome guideline 295-309.
in social work that can help authors clearly, completely, and Cooper, H., & Dent, A. (2011). Ethical issues in the conduct and
accurately report their research. Journal articles are the primary reporting of meta-analysis. In A. T. Panter & S. K. Sterba (Eds.),
means of disseminating research findings with the wider social Handbook of ethics in quantitative methodology (pp. 417-444).
work community. As a result, high quality reporting of research New York, NY: Routledge.
is essential for evidence-based decision making; inadequately des Jarlais, D. C., Lyles, C., Crepaz, N., & the TREND Group. (2004).
detailed articles could be used improperly in guiding future Improving the reporting quality of nonrandomized evaluations of
research, practice, and policy decisions. Better reporting of pri- behavioral and public health interventions: The TREND statement.
mary and secondary research as a result of standards like those American Journal of Public Health, 94, 361-366.
found in this book can improve the evidence base for social Moher, D., Hopewell, S., Schulz, K. F., Montori, V., Gøtzsche, P. C.,
work practice and policy, leading to better outcomes for the Devereaux, P. J, . . . Altman, D. G. (2010). CONSORT 2010
vulnerable populations that this profession serves. explanation and elaboration: Updated guidelines for reporting par-
allel group randomised trials. British Medical Journal, 340, c869.
Author’s Note doi:10.1136/bmj.c869
Sean Grant is currently involved in the development of a CONSORT Moher, D., Schulz, K. F., & Altman, D. G. (2001). The CONSORT
Extension for Complex Social Interventions. statement: Revised recommendations for improving the quality
of reports of parallel-group randomised trials. Lancet, 357,
References 1191-1194. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(00)04337-3
Abraham, C., for the Workgroup for Intervention Development and Moher, D., Schulz, K. F., Simera, I., & Altman, D. G. (2010). Gui-
Evaluation Research. (2009). Wider recommendations to improve dance for developers of health research reporting guidelines. PLoS
reporting of the content of behaviour change interventions. Medicine, 7, e1000217. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000217
Retrieved from http://interventiondesign.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/ Murphy, M. K., Black, N. A., Lamping, D. L., McKee, C. M., Sanders,
2009/02/wider-recommendations.pdf C. F. B., Askham, J., . . . Marteau, T. (1998). Consensus develop-
American Educational Research Association. (2006). Standards for ment methods, and their use in clinical guideline development.
reporting on empirical social science research in AERA publica- Health Technology Assessment, 2, 1-88.
tions. Educational Researcher, 35, 33-40. doi:10.3102/0013189 Schulz, K. F., Altman, D. G., & Moher, D. For the CONSORT Group.
X035006033 (2010). CONSORT 2010 Statement: Updated guidelines for
American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of reporting parallel group randomised trials. British Medical Jour-
the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, nal, 340, 698-702. doi:10.1136/bmj.c332
DC: Author. Simera, I., Altman, D. G., Moher, D., Schulz, K. F., & Hoey, J.
APA Publications and Communications Board Working Group on (2008a). Guidelines for reporting health research: The EQUATOR
Journal Article Reporting Standards. (2008). Reporting standards Network’s survey of guideline authors. PLoS Medicine, 5, e139.
for research in psychology: Why do we need them? What might doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050139
they be? American Psychologist, 63, 839-851. doi:10.1037/0003- Simera, I., Altman, D. G., Moher, D., Schulz, K. F., & Hoey, J.
066X.63.9.839 (2008b). The EQUATOR network: Facilitating transparent and
Boutron, I., Moher, D., Altman, D. G., Schulz, K., & Ravaud, P., accurate reporting of health research. Serials, 21, 183-187.
for the CONSORT group. (2008). Methods and processes of the doi:10.1629/21183

D. C. Sturm and D. M. Gibson (Eds.). can deemed to be of interest to European and East Asian helping
Social Class and the Helping Professions: A Clinician’s Guide to Navigating professionals as well. It is a very thought-provoking work, given
the Landscape of Class in America. New York, NY: Routledge, 2012. 274 that usually welfare-related research tends to approach social
pp. $ 39.95. ISBN 9780415893657 issues from, alternatively, either a macro (policy implications)
or a micro perspective (clinical cases)—instead, the authors seek
Reviewed by: Ijin Hong, Sungshin Women’s University, Seoul, Republic to let the professional helper reflect on the complexities of a
of Korea meso-level theme such as ‘‘social class,’’ a very much welcome
DOI: 10.1177/1049731512468493 effort for interdisciplinary discussions.
The book is divided in three sections. The first one broadly
Social Class and the Helping Professions is the result of the col- introduces the topic of social class, with a special focus on how
laborative work of a team of academic experts in the helping pro- it works in the United States. The first chapter opens up with a
fessions in the United States. Although some implications and definition of social class. It ‘‘[ . . . ] arises from the social and
examples typically refer to the American case, the general theme monetary resources that an individual possesses. [ . . . ] social

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