Research on Social Work Practice

Research on Social Work Practice

2014 Impact Factor: 1.375
2014 Ranking: 5/40 in Social Work
Source: 2014 Journal Citation Reports ® (Thomson Reuters, 2015)

Bruce A. Thyer Florida State University

eISSN: 15527581| ISSN: 10497315|Current volume: 25|Current issue: 5 Frequency: 7 Times/Year

There is a growing movement in social work toward a more empirical selection of therapies and interventions because, to be effective, you have to know what works. As the community of practitioners, scholars and students interested in applying scientific methods of analysis to social work problems continues to grow, the need for a publication dedicated to social work practice outcomes has never been greater. Research on Social Work Practice is the first professional social work journal to focus on evaluation research and on validating methods of assessment in social work practice.

Vital Information

Research on Social Work Practice is a disciplinary journal devoted to the publication of empirical research concerning the assessment methods and outcomes of social work practice.  Social work practice is broadly interpreted to refer to the application of intentionally designed social work intervention programs to problems of societal or interpersonal importance.  Interventions include behavior analysis and therapy; psychotherapy or counseling with individuals; case management; education; supervision; practice involving couples, families, or small groups; advocacy; community practice; organizational management; and the evaluation of social policies.

The journal primarily serves as an outlet for the publication of:

  • Original reports of evidence-based evaluation studies on the outcomes of social work practice.
  • Original reports of empirical studies on the development and validation of social work assessment methods.
  • Original evidence-based reviews of the practice-research literature that convey direct applications (not simply implications) to social work practice.  The two types of review articles considered for publication are: 1) reviews of the evidence-based status of a particular psychosocial intervention; and 2) reviews of evidence-based interventions applicable to a particular psychosocial problem.

Comprehensive Coverage

Each issue of Research on Social Work Practice brings you the latest scholarship to help bridge the gap between research and practice. Regular features include: Outcome Studies New Methods of Assessment Scholarly Reviews Invited Essays Book Reviews

In-Depth Special Issues

Research on Social Work Practice
frequently supplements its broad coverage with in-depth studies of topics of particular concern through Special Issues or Special Sections. Previous examples include:

By connecting practice and research in an artful and readable fashion, RSWP has provided a synergy for the helping professions — the vital recognition that without research, practice is blind; and without practice, research is mute.
— Martin Bloom Professor, School of Social Work, University of Connecticut

In the relatively few years since its inception, Research on Social Work Practice has become one of the most highly respected and frequently cited journals in our field. Researchers, practitioners, and students have all found its contents to be invaluable in their work.
— Dianne Harrison Montgomery Dean and Professor, School of Social Work, Florida State University
The unique manner in which the editors cover the broad spectrum of research on social work practice is destined to make the journal become a classic in the field. This is a must reading for all engaged in any level of practice research.
— Moses Newsome, Jr. Dean, School of Social Work, Norfolk State University Past-President, Council on Social Work Education

Research on Social Work Practice, sponsored by the Society for Social Work and Research, is a disciplinary journal devoted to the publication of empirical research concerning the methods and outcomes of social work practice. Social work practice is broadly interpreted to refer to the application of intentionally designed social work intervention programs to problems of societal and/or interpersonal importance, including behavior analysis or psychotherapy involving individuals; case management; practice involving couples, families, and small groups; community practice education; and the development, implementation, and evaluation of social policies.

Bruce A. Thyer Florida State University
Managing Editor
David L. Albright University of Alabama
Editorial Board
Thomas A. Artelt Georgia Regents University
Annahita Ball University at Buffalo
Eleanor Bantry White University College Cork
Kristin W. Bolton University of North Carolina Wilmington
Hok Bun Ku Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Catherine Burnette Tulane University
Chau-kiu Cheung City University of Hong Kong
Wesley Church University of Alabama
Bronwyn Cross-Denny Sacred Heart University
Thomas Davis California State University at San Bernardino
Suo Deng Peking University
Regardt J. Ferreira Tulane University
Sara Freedman Bar-Ilan University
Dana Gadaire Florida Institute of Technology
Sean Grant RAND Corporation
Stephanie Hapeman Scott United Way of Broward County
Michael J. Holosko University of Georgia
Ijin Hong Yonsei University, Republic of Korea
Laura M. Hopson University of Alabama
Mansoor A. F. Kazi University at Albany, SUNY
Hyejin Kim Florida State University
Lucyna M. Lach McGill University
Christopher R. Larrison University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Ben Law University of Hong Kong
Brian Littlechild University of Hertfordshire
Brad Lundahl University of Utah
Anny Kit-Ying Ma University of Houston
Michael MacKenzie Columbia University
Ira Elena Malmberg-Heimonen Oslo and Akershus University College
Brandy R. Maynard Saint Louis University
Evan Mayo-Wilson John Hopkins University
Franziska Meinck University of Oxford
Katherine Montgomery St. Louis, MO
Hyunsung Oh University of Southern California
Philip Osteen Florida State University
Holly K. Oxhandler Baylor University
Margaret Pack Australian Catholic University
Wayne Paris Abilene Christian University
Danielle E. Parrish University of Houston
David A. Patterson, Silver Wolf Washington University
Christopher P. Salas-Wright The University of Texas at Austin
Lisa Schelbe Florida State University
Lindsay Diane Shepard University of Utah
Michael L. Shier University of Toronto, Canada
Jennifer Simmelink McCleary Tulane University
Jennifer Spaulding-Givens University of North Florida
Alison Tasker Capstone Foster Care, UK
William Turner University of Bristol
Elizabeth A. Wahler Indiana University
Tracy Wharton University of Central Florida
Christopher Wretman University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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  • Research on Social Work Practice Editorial Policy

    Research on Social Work Practice is a disciplinary journal devoted to the publication of empirical research concerning the assessment methods and outcomes of social work practice. Social work practice is broadly interpreted to refer to the application of intentionally designed social work intervention programs to problems of societal and/or interpersonal importance. Interventions include behavior analysis and therapy, psychotherapy or counseling with individuals, case management/care coordination, education, supervision, practice involving couples, families, or small groups, advocacy, community practice, organizational management, and the evaluation of social policies. At least one author of a submitted article must be a professional social worker, and/or the interventions evaluated must have been provided by professional social workers.

                     The journal will primarily serve as an outlet for the publication of:

    1. Original reports of empirically-based evaluation studies on the outcomes of social work practice;

    2. Original reports of empirical studies on the development and validation of social work assessment methods; and

    3. Original systematic reviews, including meta-analyses, of the practice-research literature that convey direct applications (not simply implications) to social work practice. The website of the Campbell Collaboration provides exemplary guidelines for the design and conduct of systematic reviews, and authors contemplating submitting such studies are urged to follow the Campbell Guidelines (see The two types of systematic reviews considered for publication are:

              A. Systematic reviews of the evidence-based status of a particular psychosocial intervention      or assessment method, or

            B. Systematic reviews of several psychosocial interventions applicable to clients with a particular psychosocial problem.

    The journal welcomes empirical research appropriately derived from a variety of etiological and interventive theories, as well as studies which focus on evaluation and assessment issues not based upon formal theoretical frameworks. Studies using diverse methodologies, such as group or single-system research designs, and/or quantitative and qualitative approaches, are invited, as are interdisciplinary works. Replication studies are welcome, as are well-designed studies with negative findings or reports of treatment failures. Authors are encouraged to submit only articles of the highest quality for editorial review and possible publication. The submission of seriously flawed or marginal studies is discouraged. Reports of inferential statistics involving significant differences must be accompanied by suitable measures (and a discussion of their clinical importance) of effect sizes and/or proportions of variance potentially accounted for by an intervention.

    Manuscripts which do not fit into one of the above categories should not be submitted, and if received will be returned to the author un-reviewed. Occasionally other types of submissions apart from those listed above are published in the journal (guest editorials, research center descriptions), but these are usually invited and accepted at the discretion of the Editor.

    Inappropriate Submissions: The journal does not usually publish surveys, program descriptions, theoretical, philosophical or conceptual works, correlational investigations, retrospective predictor studies, purely methodological articles, descriptive studies, or needs assessments. Authors are urged to submit such studies to the many other social work journals which do not have the intervention-research focus of Research on Social Work Practice.

    The journal does publish book reviews, and the authors of newly published books who believe that their book’s subject matter is congruent with the focus of the journal are encouraged to contact the Editor with respect to arranging a review, as are individuals who themselves wish to author a book review of a newly published book. The submission of unsolicited book reviews is welcome, providing the work relates to research on social work practice. Book reviews should be formatted in strict APA-style, and submitted as an email attachment in MicroSoft Word, to the Editor, at A copy of RSWP Guidelines for Book Reviews is also available from the Editor, upon request.

    The journal publishes occasional special issues devoted to a particular topic and readers with an interest in proposing a topic for such a special issue and to serve as a Guest Editor for that issue are welcome to contact the Editor.

    How to submit a manuscript: The journal requires authors to use the MANUSCRIPT CENTRAL web-based portal to submit their manuscripts. The submission portal is available via the link below:


    Submissions are required to be prepared using the formatting standards found in the 6th Edition (2010) of the APA Publication Manual. Authors are specifically asked to adhere to the relevant Journal Article Reporting Standards found on pp. 245– 252 of the APA Manual. Reports of quasi-experiments or randomized controlled trials must also include a participant flowchart (see page 253 of the APA Manual). The Editor is available to consult with you about any questions you may have regarding complying with these standards. They have been adopted to help promote consistency in research reporting, to try and further elevate the standards of work appearing in Research on Social Work Practice, and to ultimately improve the credibility of research findings available to the profession and the public. The abstracts of research articles must include the following headings: Objective:, Methods:, Results:, Conclusions: .

    All manuscripts should include an abstract on a separate page that contains no more than 150 words, and also a separate title page (designated as Title Page) which includes: 1) title of the article; 2) corresponding author's full name, current position, affiliation, institutional and email address, telephone and fax numbers; 3) co-author(s)' full name(s) and affiliation(s); 4) up to five key words as they should appear if they were to be published. Manuscripts will not be considered for submission if they do not include these elements. Tables and/or Figures are to be included when necessary to depict the results. There is no specific limit on the total number of pages, table or figures.

    Authors submitting manuscripts are protected by common law against the unauthorized use of their unpublished work. Specifically, an unpublished manuscript is considered to be a confidential or privileged paper. Reviewers will be asked to destroy or return the manuscript after their review is completed; in addition, reviewers will be asked not to circulate, quote, cite, or refer to the unpublished work in any way unless specific permission is granted by the author.

    Artwork Submissions

    High-resolution figures should be uploaded as separate electronic files, with callouts for each in the text. Figure legends should include full explanations of the figures and be typewritten double-spaced with numbers corresponding to those on the figure files themselves. All figures must be specifically referred to in the text and numbered in order of appearance in the text. Acceptable file formats for figures include TIFF, EPS, and JPEG, and PDF Microsoft Application Files are acceptable for vector art (line art). Permission for use of the copyrighted material is the responsibility of the author. All artwork must be camera ready.


    Tables should be numbered consecutively corresponding to in-text citation. Each table should be prepared on a separate page at the end of the text document and preferably should be no larger than a single page. Include a brief descriptive title of the table and a footnote with explanation of any abbreviations. All tables must be specifically referred to in the text and numbered in order of appearance in the text. Elements in tables should be separated by tabs, not cells or lines.

    Conflict of Interest

    Authors must disclose any commercial, financial, or other associations that could pose a conflict of interest in connection with their submitted article and these must be disclosed on the title page at the time of submission.

    Financial Disclosure/Funding

    Authors should list all funding sources related to the study and to the article preparation.


    Once a manuscript is accepted for publication, the corresponding author will be required to complete an electronic copyright transfer form. From SAGETRACK website “Corresponding Author Center” choose the correct manuscript from “Manuscripts with Decisions” and from the ACTION box on the far right side, choose “Contributor Form.” After reading the form and completing the appropriate boxes, clicking the “I accept” box will confirm appropriate copyright transfer.

    Authors are required to submit written permission from the original publisher to reprint copyright-protected material, including quoted material of 300 words or more from a single source (journal article or book).

    Submission of a manuscript implies commitment to publish in this journal. Authors submitting manuscripts to the journal should not simultaneously submit them to another journal, nor should manuscripts have been published elsewhere in substantially similar content.

    Publish Ahead of Print With Onlinefirst

    Onlinefirst is a feature in which completed articles are published online prior to their inclusion in a print issue, offering authors the advantage of making their research accessible to the public in a more timely manner. Only online subscribers can view these PDFs, but abstracts are available to the public to view for free. Each Onlinefirst manuscript is citable by the publication date of the manuscript’s first online posting and the Digital Object Identifier (DOI), providing a persistent, permanent way to identify manuscripts published in the online environment. You can cite Onlinefirst articles as follows:

    Author’s last name, first initials. Article title. Journal title. Prepublished month day, year; DOI: 10.1177/ 0123456789123456

    Once your article has completed the production process and before it is published in a print issue, it will be posted online. You can access RSWP Onlinefirst articles on the Web at Once posted online, articles may not be retracted or edited. If your article is not completed prior to its publication date, it will not go on Onlinefirst but will be posted online with the issue in which it is published.

    The journal uses a blind peer review system to evaluate manuscripts, and the expertise of the Editorial Board members is augmented by the extensive use of Guest Reviewers. Most authors receive an initial editorial decision within two months of submission, accompanied by constructive peer commentary. Most articles eventually accepted for publication undergo extensive author-completed revisions, based on peer-review commentary, prior to acceptance. The journal has an modest backlog of accepted manuscripts, thus the authors of accepted manuscripts can expect a lag of about 6 months from final acceptance to print publication. However the journal has a publish-ahead-of-print service in that the final, corrected and accepted version of their paper will be published electronically on the journal’s website, with a DOI. This will permit its ready access to the community of scholars, students, and practitioners months ahead of print publication. These articles will be both citable and downloadable. Articles are published in the general order of their acceptance.

    An invitation to join the journal’s Editorial Board is published in the journal every three years, prior to the appointment of a new board. All readers possessing suitable backgrounds in social work practice and research are welcome to nominate themselves to the Editorial Board. In addition, individuals such as experienced MSWs or doctoral students who wish to serve as occasional Guest Reviewers are welcome to contact the Editor about their interest.

    Research on Social Work Practice is sponsored by the Society for Social Work and Research and is provided to members of the Society as a membership benefit. All social workers are strongly encouraged to join the SSWR. For information about joining the SSWR, please see the SSWR webpage at

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