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Assignment: Viewing Your Topic From an Ecological Perspective
All theories offer insight about the cause of any given problem, but practitioners and researchers must determine the most appropriate one. They ask themselves “Is the selected theory the most suitable?” and “Do the key constructs of the theory align with the analysis?” To answer the first question, one needs to be familiar with the assumptions of theory and understand the merits and limitations in applying the theory to the issue. To answer the second, one needs to understand the concept of alignment.
Alignment refers to logical flow and consistency in the argument from start to finish. For example, if a social worker says that they are using Freudian theory, then the interventions used would reflect Freud’s major tenets about the role of the unconscious on human behavior. If, suddenly, the social worker uses positive reinforcement, the intervention is not aligned or not consistent with the theory. You will see the term alignment referred to multiple times in this course and throughout your doctoral journey. This will be the case when you take your research courses and when you work on your PhD dissertation or DSW capstone project.
In this Assignment, you evaluate alignment within a research study. As you read the Cho, Hong, and Logan article, notice how the authors attempt to align the various factors correlated with the phenomena of stalking to the different levels identified in ecological theory.
Submit a 2-page paper that addresses the following:
**In 2–3 sentences, summarize the assumptions of ecological theory.
**Using the Cho et al. article, focus on the authors’ analysis of the factors (variables) identified for each of the four levels (individual, interpersonal, societal, and cultural). Explain the extent to which the factors or variables identified for each of the levels align with ecological theory.
**In 2–3 sentences, identify one of the social work practice recommendations the authors highlighted. Evaluate the extent to which the recommendation is aligned to the assumptions of ecological theory.
**Now, transitioning to your potential doctoral capstone topic, identify your topic in one sentence.
**In 2–3 sentences, explain how ecological theory would conceptualize your topic.
**Identify one potential factor or variable for each of the system levels (micro-, meso-, exo-, macro-, and chrono-) of ecological theory as it applies to your topic. Use literature to ground your claims for each factor or variable for each of the systems levels.
**Describe how findings from your study could influence social change at the different system levels of ecological theory.
Be sure to:
Use literature to support your claims.
Use APA formatting and style, including double-spacing.
Potential doctoral capstone topic (Reducing Recidivism of people on parole and probation)