Clinician's Guide to Research Methods in Family Therapy

Foundations of Evidence-Based Practice

Lee Williams, JoEllen Patterson, and Todd M. Edwards

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
May 19, 2014
ISBN 9781462515974
Price: $112.00
298 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
March 21, 2018
ISBN 9781462536061
Price: $52.00
298 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
May 19, 2014
ePub and PDF ?
Price: $52.00
298 Pages
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298 Pages
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A research methods text with a unique focus on evidence-based practice with couples and families, this book bridges the divide between research and clinical work. The text offers comprehensive, user-friendly coverage of measurement and design issues and basic qualitative and quantitative methods. Illustrating research concepts with clinically relevant examples and sample studies, it teaches clear steps for evaluating different types of studies and identifying common threats to validity. Of special value to therapists, it provides a systematic framework for using research to guide the selection and evaluation of interventions that meet the needs of particular clients.

Pedagogical features: See also the authors' Essential Skills in Family Therapy, Third Edition: From the First Interview to Termination, which addresses all aspects of real-world clinical practice, and Essential Assessment Skills for Couple and Family Therapists, which shows how to weave assessment into all phases of therapy.

“A helpful and useful set of appendices are provided, in particular the Pocket Guide. I found the glossary especially helpful….By providing the information in a clear, logical, and methodical way the authors have opened a door for seasoned as well as new clinicians to apply evidence-based practice.”

Child and Family Behavior Therapy

“A user-friendly text that is ideal for MFT master’s students. The writing is clear, organized, and approachable with as many examples as there are key terms. Most importantly, this book does not teach students how to conduct research; rather, it teaches them how to critically consume it….This book is expressly written and best used for a master’s level MFT research methods course. However, any clinician with an interest in connecting research to their practice could benefit directly from the text. My own students agree that this book is straightforward, informative, and directly applicable to their work as MFTs. Finding this book has restored much of the original joy I experienced at the opportunity to teach research methods.”

Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

“This book is already becoming a classic on research methods for marriage and family therapy students. In addition to providing students with basic research methods concepts, ethics, and some specifics of conducting research with couples and families, the authors do an excellent job of advocating for evidence-based practice as well as educating clinicians about evaluating and implementing research findings in practice. This is an excellent and much needed work on research methods for master's-level students in marriage and family therapy.”

Doody's Review Service

“The first section of the text is dedicated to research methodology infused with clinical applications. The authors remain consistently true to their intent to help the reader become an informed consumer of counseling research. The second section of the book builds a thoughtful understanding of evidence-based practice….The authors have included three helpful appendices, which summarize the steps of practice, the guide to evaluating research studies, and practice resources. They even provide a glossary of research ‘lingo’ to help the reader better understand the content without reference to another source.”

The Family Journal

“Ideally suited for students and therapists invested in learning more about the research process in order to be optimally effective clinicians. This reader-friendly text, written by leaders in the marital and family therapy field, brings research to life in a way that is engaging, comprehensible, and clinically applicable. By mastering effective strategies for integrating state-of-the-art research into practice, clinicians at all stages of development will find their psychotherapeutic endeavors and outcomes enhanced enormously.”

—Nadine J. Kaslow, PhD, ABPP, Department of Psychiatry, Emory University; past president, American Psychological Association

“Williams, Patterson, and Edwards have created a resource where none existed before—an accessible book about research for practitioners and students working with couples and families. The first part of the book provides a wonderfully succinct primer on research methods; the second part treads previously unexplored territory by offering an entrée into evidence-based practice. The volume guides readers to the essential information they need about research: what it is, how to find and appraise it, how best to incorporate evidence-based methods into practice, and how to evaluate clients' progress. This book should become the core research methods text for master's-level programs in marital and family therapy, counseling, and psychology.”

—Jay L. Lebow, PhD, ABPP, LMFT, Senior Scholar and Clinical Professor, The Family Institute at Northwestern University

“This easy-to-read text introduces clinicians to basic concepts of research methodology, such as measurement, surveys, statistics, and designs. It enables readers to read and understand research literature with confidence. I highly recommend it for use with marriage and family therapy students.”

—Reo Leslie, DMin, LMFT, LPC, Director, The Colorado School for Family Therapy

“This book meets my need for an MFT research methods text that addresses both research methods fundamentals and the elements of evidence-based practice (EBP). I want my master's-level students to learn how to locate and evaluate research literature in order to guide their clinical work. The text is accessible, clear, pragmatic, and engaging. It guides readers through the five steps of EBP, providing them with the tools and resources necessary to integrate EBP into their clinical practice.”

—Mark White, PhD, LMFT, Director, MFT Doctoral Programs, Northcentral University

“I recommend this brilliant text for any graduate-level couple and family therapy research methods course. I would have loved having a book like this when I was learning research methods and statistics. My students are constantly saying how readable and straightforward the chapters are. The authors have done an exceptional job of making the content easy to comprehend and assimilate into everyday clinical practice, helping to inspire a generation of clinicians to employ evidence-based intervention strategies.”

—Christopher K. Belous, PhD, Master of Family Therapy Program, Mercer University

Table of Contents

1. Learning to Apply Research: Why Bother?

I. Research Foundations

2. Measurement

3. Internal Validity and Experiments

4. External Validity and Sampling

5. Survey Research

6. Qualitative Research

7. Miscellaneous Research Designs

8. Ethics and Values in Research

9. Descriptive Statistics

10. Inferential Bivariate Statistics

11. A Beginner's Guide to Multivariate Statistics

II. Evidence-Based Practice

12. What Is an Evidence-Based Approach?

13. Ask and Acquire: Creating Questions and Conducting a Search

14. Appraise: Reading and Evaluating Research Articles and Systematic Reviews

15. Apply I: Translating Research Findings into Clinical Practice

16. Apply II: Utilizing Couple and Family Therapy Research in Clinical Practice

17. Apply III: How to Talk to Clients about an Evidence-Based Approach

18. Analyze and Adjust: Evaluating Your Clinical Work

19. The Future of Evidence-Based Practice: Looking into the Crystal Ball

Appendix I. Evidence-Based Practice Pocket Guide (the Five A's)

Appendix II. Guide to Evaluating Research Studies

Appendix III. Evidence-Based Practice Resources


About the Authors

Lee Williams, PhD, LMFT, is Professor in the Marital and Family Therapy Program at the University of San Diego. His research interests include family therapy training, marriage preparation, and couples with religious differences. Dr. Williams is coauthor (with JoEllen Patterson, Todd M. Edwards, et al.) of Essential Skills in Family Therapy, Third Edition, and Essential Assessment Skills for Couple and Family Therapists.

JoEllen Patterson, PhD, LMFT, is Professor in the Marital and Family Therapy Program at the University of San Diego. She is also a voluntary Clinical Associate Professor in the Divisions of Family Medicine and Global Health as well as the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine. She serves on the editorial boards of Families, Systems, and Health and the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. Dr. Patterson is coauthor (with Todd M. Edwards et al.) of The Therapist's Guide to Psychopharmacology, Revised Edition. Her Fulbright Scholarships have allowed her to work in Norway, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and elsewhere.

Todd M. Edwards, PhD, LMFT, is Professor and Director of the Marital and Family Therapy Program at the University of San Diego, and provides individual and family therapy in the Division of Family Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine. His research and teaching interests focus on the integration of family-oriented mental health services into primary care settings; family therapy training; and male friendship in adulthood. He is Associate Editor of Families, Systems, and Health.


Students in marriage and family therapy, clinical psychology, social work, and mental health counseling; also of interest to practitioners committed to evidence-based practice.

Course Use

Serves as a text in master's-level courses providing an introduction to research methods in MFT programs and other practitioner-related fields.

Essential Skills in Family Therapy: Third Edition: From the First Interview to Termination, Essential Assessment Skills for Couple and Family Therapists and Clinician's Guide to Research Methods in Family Therapy: Foundations of Evidence-Based PracticeSpecial package offer: Essential Skills in Family Therapy, Third Edition, addresses all aspects of real-world clinical practice. Essential Assessment Skills for Couple and Family Therapists shows how to weave assessment into all phases of therapy. Clinician's Guide to Research Methods in Family Therapy focuses on the role of research in evidence-based practice.

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