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Research Scales and the Social Work Exam

apple or donutHere's a quick research design practice question:

What type of scale is being used in a research question offering two choices, A and B?

A. Nominal

B. Ordinal

C. Interval

D. Ratio

Did you cover this material in school? If not, this page will get you up to speed. Let's take these from the bottom up.

A ratio scale can offer choices like 1-3, 4-6, 7-9. The most detailed option for researchers.

Interval scales offer rank order, equal spacing, but no true zero. Think of spots on a number line.

Ordinal scales is best for assessing ranking, order, or scaling-eg, rate your experience from 1-10.

Nominal scales offer simple choices. A or B or multiple choice. The ASWB exam is chock full of nominal scale questions. And so is the example. The correct answer: A, Nominal.

Will this be on the test?

Maybe. Research design isn't essential to beginning social work practice--and that's what the ASWB exam is designed to assess: Does the social worker have the knowledge, skills, and abilities for beginner social work practice? That means study the Code of Ethics up and down, backwards and forwards. It's essential. Understand basic assessment and interventions. Diagnostic questions will appear more and more as exams get more difficult, from Bachelor to Master's to Clinical. You can't know everything there is to know about social work and the ASWB doesn't expect you to. But you can have the essentials down.

The best way to get there, in our opinion: practice, practice, and more practice. Sign up to create an account and get started with SWTP's full-length practice tests. You'll be glad you did.

Happy studying and good luck with the exam!

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