Research Training, Institutional Support, and Self-Efficacy: Their Impact on Research Activity of Social Workers


  • Mark Thomas Lynch Saint Francis University
  • Lening Zhang Saint Francis University
  • Wynne S. Korr University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign



Research self efficacy, research training, research activity


While the expectations for social work practitioners to do research have increased, their involvement is still limited. We know little about what factors influence involvement in research. The present study proposes a theoretical model that hypothesizes research training and institutional support for research as the exogenous variables, research self-efficacy as an intervening variable, and research activity as the endogenous variable. The study tests the model using data collected from a random sample of social workers. To a large degree the data support the model. Research self-efficacy has a significant effect on research activity. It is also an important mediating variable for the effect of institutional support on research activity. Although institutional support for research has no direct effect, it has an indirect effect via self-efficacy on research activity. However, research training has no effect on research activity and self-efficacy in research. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Author Biographies

Mark Thomas Lynch, Saint Francis University

Director of Social Work Department Associate Professor

Lening Zhang, Saint Francis University

Sociology/Criminal Justice Professor

Wynne S. Korr, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

School of Social Work Dean and Professor