Statistics for Social Justice

A Structural Perspective

By Adje van de Sande and Christie Byvelds  

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For the last several decades, social work curricula have included research as a required course at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The few social work texts on statistics that exist are written from a mainstream perspective and do not challenge the current neoliberal social order. In Statistics for Social Justice: A Structural Perspective, van de Sande and Byvelds argue that social work research, including statistics, should be taught from a structural perspective and should follow anti-oppressive principles, which view the problems experienced by people as rooted in the social, political and economic structures of society. Just as social workers are committed to social justice and social change, so too should be the aim of social work research.

In order for researchers to convince funders, the government or even the general public to accept their arguments, it is crucial to provide hard evidence in the form of numbers and statistics. Social workers must have a good understanding of quantitative research methods and statistical analysis in order to be able to present this kind of information. The aim of this book is to lay the foundation for this knowledge and provide an introduction into statistical concepts as they relate to social work, all while using a social justice lens.

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  • Preface
  • Social Justice and Statistics
  • The History of Empiricism
  • Frequency Distributions and Graphs
  • Central Tendancy and Variability
  • Probability and the Normal Distribution
  • Probability and the Normal Distribution
  • Hypothesis Testing
  • Sampling Distributions
  • Chi-Square
  • t-tests and ANOVA
  • Correlation Analysis
  • Simple Regression Analysis
  • Data Analysis Using SPSS and Writing Your Final Report
  • References
  • Index


  • Adje van de Sande


    Adje van de Sande is an associate professor at the School of Social Work at Carleton University.

  • Christie Byvelds

    Christie Byvelds is a registered social worker and teaches with the School of Social Work at Carleton University. She also practices both clinically and as a private research consultant.

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