The first theoretical approach you will use to apply to a case study is systems theory. In other words, your theoretical orientation—your lens—will be systems theory as you analyze a social work case study.
Different theories can be used to take a systems approach. For example, Bertalanffy’s General Systems Theory considers how a system is made of smaller subsystems that influence each other and seek homeostasis, whereas Brofennerbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory focuses on how an individual’s experience is influenced by different system levels (micro, meso, exo, macro, and chrono). Systems theory is commonly used to understand the interrelationships of the systems (e.g., family, community, organizations, society) of the client. If you are working with families, communities, and organizations, it is also beneficial to use systems theory to get a holistic picture of all the interrelated parts of the system.
To prepare: Select and focus on one of four case studies listed in the Learning Resources. You will use this same case study throughout the course. (The Case of Jake Levy).
- Focus on the identified client within your chosen case.
- Analyze the case using a systems approach, taking into consideration both family and community systems.
- Complete and submit the “Dissecting a Theory and Its Application to a Case Study” worksheet based on your analysis.