Identity and Multicultural Social Work Research: A Reflection in Process

  • Michael S. Spencer
Keywords: Identity, Multicultural, Social work, Research


Personal identity and multicultural issues have relevance for social work researchers as well as practicioners. Written specifically for Advances in Social Work, this self-revelatory and inspirational article by Dr. Michael Spencer is based, in part, on an address he delivered at the January 2001 Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research. Michael Spencer encourages social work educators, researchers, and practitioners to join with him in the conversations needed to address identity and multicultural issues as they pertain to service-related research. In particular, he challenges social workers to recognize and manage their identity-based personal biases and preferences, and use both quantitative and qualitative research perspectives in ways that acknowledge the uniqueness of diverse peoples. He recommends that the processes of collaboration ans self-reflection characterize the conduct of multicultural social work research, and urges researchers to translate their findings into practitioner-friendly forms to facilitate application in service delivery.