Studying for the LCSW Exam & MFT Exam: Research

By Bethany Vanderbilt on November 28, 2012

A jumble of numbers

What do you need to know about research to PASS your LCSW exam or MFT exam? Let TDC help!

Hopefully by now you've come out of your tryptophan-induced haze and are back into the swing of studying. This week, our topic is research, and while it doesn't make up a big proportion of questions on the LCSW exam or MFT exam, it is important to have certain aspects of this topic under your belt before you take your test.

Here's one way it might come up on your LCSW exam or MFT exam.

A therapist in a community mental health agency is developing a speciality in treating adolescents with eating disorders. In an effort to further his professional development, the therapist decides to complete a small qualitative study of his clients and their response to his treatment protocol. In order evaluate the efficacy of his treatment protocol, what is the MOST important factor for the therapist to consider?

A. Obtaining informed consent from clients

B. Clients' severity of symptoms at the onset of treatment

C. Clients' diagnostic profile

D. The length of time the treatment protocol is administered

When you see questions on the test that deal with research, it can be easy to become flustered and feel like you don't know which way to turn. We at TDC want you to KEEP CALM and remember all of the things that you DO know about measuring progress and efficacy. This is a perfect time to call on your knowledge of treatment planning (the kind of evaluation that most of us do all the time). Probably the most important factor in evaluating whether or not a treatment plan is working is the amount of change that occurs over time -- if a client with anxiety experiences a decrease in panic attacks from 2x/week to 1x/week after a year of treatment, it means something very different than the same improvement after 6 weeks of treatment. This same concept could also be applied to questions regarding program evaluation.

Answer: The best answer to the question above is D: the length of time the treatment protocol is administered. A is not the best answer because it doesn't address the question. If the question asked what the therapist should do FIRST or NEXT, then A would be the best answer, but the question asks about the factor that is MOST important when evaluating the treatment's efficacy. B is not the best answer because where the client starts doesn't matter as much as the amount of change that takes place over time. C is not the best answer because it's vague and doesn't address the question.

There are always going to be things on the test that you don't know -- don't let that shake your confidence! Use what you know to make your best, educated guess and then MOVE ON to the next question and keep thinking!

Coming up next week: Community Social Work/Advocacy

Think our straightforward, sensible approach could help you PASS your social work or MFT exam? If you're preparing for a social work exam, check out our Social Work Study Materials. If you're preparing for an MFT exam, check out our MFT Study Materials. Learn more about our offerings at The Therapist Development Center.

Looking for more practice questions and some study tips? Check out our new Social Work Exam Study Guide:

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