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Social Work Theories and Methods

Social Work Theories and Methods

Second Edition
Edited by:

December 2012 | 320 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

The Second Edition of this celebrated book by two of the world's leading researchers in social work introduces readers to the main theories, theorists and perspectives that contribute to the debate on social work theory and social work methods. It brings together some outstanding international researchers in social work to challenge the reader to critically question how they think about social work.

The new edition includes a focus on the psychosocial perspective, with three new chapters on:

  • Cognitive behavioral approaches
  • Attachment theory and psychoanalytic social work
  • Ecological approaches

Each chapter allows the reader to relate the theories and methods discussed to their own personal experiences. This reader friendly book includes student questions, glossaries and recommended reading so that students and practitioners can reappraise and expand the knowledge they have learned.

This book will be valuable for undergraduate and graduate students taking courses in social work theory and research methods, social work interventions and perspectives as well as post qualifying students and researchers in social work.

Mel Gray and Stephen A. Webb
Stan Houston
Jurgen Habermas
Harry Ferguson
Anthony Giddens
Paul Michael Garrett
Pierre Bourdieu
Jason Powell
Michel Foucault
Brid Featherstone and Lorraine Green
Judith Butler
David Howe
Attachment theory
Joan Orme
Feminist social work
Mel Gray and Stephen A. Webb
Critical social work
Kate Murray and Steven Hick
Structural social work
Purnima Sundar and Mylan Ly
Sue Penna and Martin O'Brien
Barbara Fawcett
Postmodern social work
Eric L. Garland and A. Bruce Thyer
Cognitive-behavioural approach
Fred Besthorn
Ecological approach
Deirdre Kirke
Social network analysis
Jerry Floersch, Jeffrey Longhofer and Megan Nordquest Schwaille
Gerald de Montigny
Sue White
Discourse and reflexivity
Debbie Plath
Evidence-based practice
Ian Shaw
Ways of knowing

Praise for the first edition:

'An excellent book that provides a good deal of valuable material to stimulate debate and to alert readers of the need to engage more critically with the wider world in which social work is located.

Professor Keith Popple, Professor of Social Work, London South Bank University


This edition has retained the feeling of difference that came with the original and thus makes an alternative contribution to this genre of social work texts. It challenges its social worker readership to step outside familiar frameworks and discourse and to travel with the contributors through wider academic scenery and both recapture old connections and inform some new possibilities. It is a modern text, exploring a vast historical panorama, which successfully fuses theories of explanation with methods of intervention, enabling the reader to think about where today’s theoretically informed social work practice has come from.

Dr. Wulf Livingston
Senior Lecturer in Social Work, Glyndwr University

This has helped my students link theory to practice. It is easy to read and has a lot of useful information.

Mrs Emma Whittam
Dept of Health & Social Development, Burnley College
January 30, 2022

An excellent text book which is fully comprehensive. This book will provide an invaluable source of reference for social work students at post graduate and undergraduate levels.

Dr Blaine Robin
Health and Social Care, South Essex College - Southend
April 25, 2019

This is a helpful book for supplementing the essential reading on this course.

Miss Suzanne Dawn Spooner
Dept of Applied Social Science (DASS), Swansea University
September 13, 2016

The book gives a good and broad overview over theories in Social Work. It is useful for our students.

Dr Leili Laanemets
School of Social Work, Lund University
November 15, 2015

Excellent book, with appropriate topic areas to cover in the social work theories module. Good link to methods of interventions which help students to understanding how social work is applied in practice delivery.

Dr Azora Josephine Hurd
Social Work, Gloucestershire University
October 20, 2015

This book critically questions how we practice and think about social work.

With three new chapters, the new edition includes a focus on the psychosocial perspective. Each chapter allows the reader to relate the theories and methods discussed to their own personal experiences.

Dr Charles Mugisha
Social Work, Birmingham City University
June 20, 2015

This is a great book in that it outlines all the theories and methods used in social work. It is nicely written, easy to follow and I think my students will appreciate that.

Dr Jadwiga Leigh
Department of Sociological Studies, Sheffield University
February 28, 2015

Although a good coverage of the theories, this text does not offer the philosophical depth of the material that I would have liked.

Mr Sean Brockbank
Faculty of Health, Social Work & Educ, Northumbria University
December 11, 2014