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Theory in social work—some reflections on understanding and explaining interventions [Teori i socialt arbete—några reflektioner om att förstå och förklara interventioner]

  • Eva Johnsson
  • Kerstin Svensson
Publiceringsår: 2005
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 33-419
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: European Journal of Social Work
Volym: 8
Nummer: 4
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Routledge Taylor & Francis

Abstract english

This article reflects on theory in social work. With a starting point in the contemporary discussion of evidence-based social work, we raise questions about the role of theory. To understand empirical data, we need theory. The arena of social work is an open field for many academic disciplines, and theories used for understanding social work are mostly imported from general social science. Theory has to be built on an empirical base, and in order to be regarded as a social work theory this empirical base should come from social interventions. Therefore, the challenge for social work is to develop theories of its own. Theory development in social work could be in contrast to existing non-theoretical research and conceptual models without a base in social facts, as well as to prevailing perspectives in social work practice, such as reflective social work. In this article we sketch a model of the field of knowledge in social work and elucidate the multifaceted aspects that exist in social work. Finally, we argue for an awareness of the levels, or social domains, in social work practice on the one hand and the scientific explanations on the other hand.


  • Social Work


  • ISSN: 1369-1457
Eva Johnsson. Foto: Patrik Hekkala
E-post: eva [dot] johnsson [at] soch [dot] lu [dot] se



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