Structural competence, structuration theory, research methods, multilevel modeling


Structural competence, recently introduced in the medical literature, has always been present in social work’s approach to addressing social problems. To achieve structural competence, in medicine and in social work, an evidence base for the structural determinants of social problems and interventions is needed. Social work researchers have made some strides in developing an evidence base to inform a structurally competent practice by employing structurally competent research methods in the investigation of social problems. This paper argues that Anthony Giddens’ structuration theory adds to the medical literature’s understanding of structural competence and discusses several research methods and/or approaches that have been and should continue to be employed by social work researchers in developing a structurally competent evidence base to inform practice.

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