The Types of Scholarly Publications Produced by Australian Social Work Researchers

Clare Tilbury, Mark Hughes, Christine Bigby, Steven Roche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The publication of social work research and scholarship is integral to generating and disseminating knowledge for the profession and the human services field. Previous research has found a large proportion of nonresearch articles in social work journals, but there has been little exploration of the nature of this scholarship. Using a scoping review method supplemented by analysis of national research assessment output data, this study examined the quantity, format, and characteristics of scholarly publications between 2010–2020 by Australian social workers. It found they produced proportionately more journal articles than other disciplines and relatively fewer books and book chapters. Of 1,389 Australian social work articles published in top-cited social work journals, 821 (59.1%) were research articles. Of the nonresearch articles, almost half provided an analysis of policy or practice without stating a method. Understanding the scope of social work research provides a foundation for reflection on the discipline’s research endeavours. IMPLICATIONS Information about the scope of social work research is useful for developing both individual and disciplinary research strategy. A clear statement of method that describes the processes used for observation and analysis would enhance the quality of nonresearch social work publications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139 - 152
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Social Work
Issue number1
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Australian Association of Social Workers.


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