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Shaping a Science of Social Work – Professional Knowledge and Identity - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Shaping a Science of Social Work: Professional Knowledge and Identity

John S. Brekke and Jeane W. Anastas


In contrast to other helping professions, social work does not currently define itself as scientific, or as a scientific discipline. Starting with the work of John Brekke, this volume considers what a science of social work might look like. These ideas have developed from an extended collaboration among the chapter authors and others. Aspects of the framework described here include approaches to ontology and epistemology (scientific and critical realism); science and the the identity of social work; the context of Grand Challenges for social work; the place of values in a science of social wor ... More

Keywords: social work science, professional identity, epistemology, realism, critical realism, values in science, social work practice, social work education

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2019 Print ISBN-13: 9780190880668
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190880668.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

John S. Brekke, editor
Frances Larson Professor of Social Work Research, School of Social Work, University of Southern California

Jeane W. Anastas, editor
Professor, Silver School of Social Work, New York University

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Part 1 Current Context and the Realist Frame

Chapter 1 The Science of Social Work Roundtables

Susan Stone and Jerry Floersch

Chapter 2 The Realist Frame

John Brekke, Jeane Anastas, Jerry Floersch, and Jeffrey Longhofer

Part 2 The Foundations of Social Work Science

Chapter 7 Theory in Social Work Science

Susan P. Kemp and Gina Miranda Samuels

Chapter 8 Who Knows?

Jeane Anastas

Part 3 Essential Issues in Social Work Science

Chapter 9 Science and Social Work Practice

Mary Bunn and Jeanne Marsh

Part 4 Conclusions

Chapter 12 Conclusions and Commencements

Jeane Anastas, Darla Spence Coffey, and John Brekke

End Matter