Some thoughts on the relationship between theory and practice in and for social work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

156 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this paper is to explore the nature of the discipline of social work and to argue that perhaps its central and unique characteristic is the way theory and practice are closely interrelated. In doing so it suggests it is important to locate social work in its particular social, political and historical contexts and to identify some of the key factors which have influenced not only its development but its form. Social work is identified as being essentially ambiguous, complex and uncertain such that its major strengths are in terms of its ability to improve dialogue, understanding and interpretation, rather than simply be concerned with legislating and acting with authority. In this sense it has the potential to make a significant contribution to the contemporary social sciences more generally.1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-463
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2000


Cite this