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Human Services 260 - Group Dynamics and Leadership: Your Assignment

Finding Information on a Population

Columbia University Mailman School Global Adolescent ResearchAssignment: Understanding Your Population

Social Work involves a combination of knowledge, values and skills.  Part of the knowledge base includes understanding your population and/or the main problems/issues/needs being addressed.  For this assignment you are required to read about your population/problem You need to find an article that is designed to be read by the professional (not family member etc.), is at least 3 pages in length and has content specific to your population/problem.

Then prepare a log with the following:

What did you read: ---------------------------------------------Title, author etc. (attach a copy)

Part 1

1. .Discuss 3 main points of the article.  Remember you are selecting information that helps you understand your population/program.  What did you learn from reading the article?

2.. Why did you select these points?

3.How will this knowledge help enhance your work with the population/problem?​


1. Paper -  What is social work and does it make sense for me?

This paper provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the profession of social work and discuss your potential strengths and the challenges you face in your beginning exploration of this profession.  In this paper you must:

-   Answer the question, “What is social work?” by discussing at least 3 main points from the required readings in the textbook and from research from professional journals and websites.

-   Social work is based on an understanding of knowledge, values and skills.  Give an example of eachWhat do you think social workers need to know (what is an important part of the knowledge base); what are important social work values, .  Use the textbook, the Handbook, professional websites and the NASW Code of Ethics in answering these questions.

-   In discussing social work, be sure to cover the material from homework 2

-   What are the 3 characteristics that you possess that might help you in beginning your career in human services/social work (what are your strengths)?  What are 2 personal characteristics will you need to work on to be an effective social worker? What skills do you need to develop more fully? You must answer this question fully – do not simply say there are no weaknesses/challenges etc. – everyone has something s/he needs to work on.

-   In discussing your characteristics make sure to reference the websites provided to you for considering a career in social work.  Examine the material on Essential Qualities (p 33 Handbook) and Personal Characteristics of Effective Social Workers (p 36 Handbook).  Which do you think you are closest to possessing?  Which do you think you will need to work on developing/enhancing?  Be sure to explain and discuss this giving actual real life example to illustrate.

-   You will be provided with a grading rubric that specifies paper requirements.  Make sure to use multiple sources: text, professional journals and websites. You are required to submit the paper to Safe Assign in Blackboard and to make the necessary corrections based on the feedback.  Failure to do so will negatively impact your grade.

2. Article Assignment: Thinking about Your Population

This assignment is designed to help build skills in anticipatory empathy.  For this assignment you will be required to:

a.       Learn more about your client population or program by finding an article that will help you understand the population and typical presenting problems that are typical in your agency/program.  Summarize what you think are 3 important pieces of information that will be helpful in working with and understanding your clients. Why did you pick these three things?  How do they help you to understand the population/main problems?

b.      Given what you learned from reading the article, what do you think are 2 things that you might find rewarding in working with the agency clients and problems? What are 2 things that might be challenging about work with this population/problems?  Make sure to fully explain your thinking.  What information do you need and what strategies do you think you need to develop to work with this population? You must answer this question fully – do not simply say nothing will be rewarding or challenging.

Then discuss C, D or E

c. Review material from the chapter on culture and diversity and discuss issues of “difference.”  You might mention such things as the similarities and differences you and the client or group has that can help or hinder communicating with your client and any thoughts about communication.  (See questions in Handbook).  Consider the client experience from his/her point of view

d. Look at the material on strengths in the Handbook.  What strengths does this population have? How do these strengths help to support the work?

e. is your client population mandated? Explain? What impact does this have on the work both positive and negative

3. Find an Activity - Worksheet

Do research and find at least 2 activities that could be done with your population.  Where did you find these activities? Why did you select these activities?  What is the purpose of the activities? What do you see as the potential benefit of engaging clients in this activity?  You cannot use the text, manuals from your placement or actual activities being offered at your placement.  The purpose of this is to do research to look for activities​

Jessica Tagliaferro's picture
Jessica Tagliaferro
Harold L. Drimmer Library
Room 132
Profile Photo: Plot by José Damasceno at Holborn Library, London

Subject Guide

Beth Seelick's picture
Beth Seelick
This research guide was created by Professor Beth Seelick (1955-2019).
"A teacher affects eternity; she can never tell where her influence stops." ― Henry B. Adams