Social Work Knowledge

Looking for social work knowledge? There is a large and rapidly growing body of social work knowledge. For example, there are now over 80 academic journals dedicated to social work (Victor et al BJSW (2017 47, 2165-2169)) each of which is published several times a year.

This range of knowledge resources reflects the reality that:

  • Social work is now over 100 years old so there is a substantial legacy of books and publications
  • Social work is multi-disciplinary: many key social work texts were generated ‘outside’ social work in the fields of sociology, psychology, social policy, law and even business studies (for example, Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of need’ derives from a business studies text)
  • Social work is an international profession, so each country will have a developing social work literature. Comparative studies (e.g. comparing social work policy and practice between the UK and another country) adds another layer of literature

To help find your way around these resources BASW have developed a short guide.

Social Work Research

The knowledge base of every profession needs to continually develop. Social work is no different.

BASW promotes social work research through:

  • Active partnership in direct research
  • Facilitating the involvement of individuals, groups and organisations in research
  • The publication of research in academic journals
  • Disseminating research findings through a variety of channels

BASW regards the contributions of people with lived experience of social work services and practitioner wisdom as equally valid forms of knowledge alongside other more traditional forms of knowledge generation.

Active partnerships in direct research

BASW actively partners with universities, consortiums of universities and other partners in bidding for research funding and delivering multi-year, multi-site research projects.

BASW has an agreed set of research priorities against which we assess future bids, which can be accessed here.

If you are interested in being a future research partner please check our research priorities and then email us at setting out your organisational affiliation and your proposals in 600 words.

Please note BASW has no funding for primary research.

Facilitating the involvement of individuals, groups and organisations in research

BASW facilitates involvement through:

  • Sharing information about research funding for organisations and individuals. When such information is available it is published in BASW's member e-bulletin.
  • Organising and supporting mechanisms for knowledge collection (e.g. roundtables, questionnaires) between practitioners, people with lived experience and research partners.
  • Acting as a ‘junction box’ between different researchers, organisations, practitioners and people with lived experience.
  • Supporting the research practitioners group.
  • Working with funders to support social work research funding.

The publication of research in academic journals

BASW owns two research journals:

BASW members get substantial discounts on each.

Please note that both journals have independent editorial boards.


BASW disseminates research outputs through:

  • Webinars and podcasts as part of the CPD programme.
  • Conferences
  • Occasional ‘think pieces’ and /or research briefings.
  • Events and publications are advertised in the bulletin and / or our events calendar.

BASW is a practitioner facing organisation so any proposals for dissemination should be clearly relevant for practice, written in plain English, of interest to a broad audience and timely. Please send any enquiries to