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Social Work

Social Work
An Introduction

Second Edition
Edited by:
Additional resources:

January 2018 | 640 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Help your students make the best starts in their careers as a Social Worker. Covering everything they need to know in their first year and beyond, this very practical book will guide them through their degree and into practice.

Packed full of case studies, activities and tools for real-life practice, it will:

  • Help students get to grips with and build the essential knowledge and skills base
  • Support them to develop a range of tools for practice with different service user groups  
  • Develop their critical thinking and help them to apply their learning in practice
  • Provide them with a springboard for further learning and development.
Part 1: Knowledge Base
Julian Bell
Chapter 1: Values and ethics
Heather Munro
Chapter 2: Law
Mike Maas-Lowit
Chapter 3: Politics and social policy
Megan Todd and Chris Yuill
Chapter 4: Sociology
Chris Yuill
Chapter 5: Material circumstances, poverty and income inequality
Carmen-Maria Fyfe
Chapter 6: Psychological approaches: their application and relevance to social work
Stewart Brodie and Clare Swan
Chapter 7: Human growth and development
Sheila Slesser and Jenny Blair
Chapter 8: Communication and ICT
Chris Yuill, Natascha Mueller-Hirth, Sarah Buckler, Leslie Mabon, Iain Turnbull and Joyce Lishman
Chapter 9: An introduction to social science research for social work
Angela Hart
Chapter 10: Reflective practice
Part 2: Assessment and Joint Working
Jillian Brannan
Chapter 11: Generic issues in assessment and managing uncertainty
Janine Bolger and Patrick Walker
Chapter 12: Models of assessment
Kirstin Parkes and Mike Shepherd
Chapter 13: Risk assessment
Ruth Taylor and Jillian Brannan
Chapter 14: Interprofessional practice
Jillian Brannan, Jill Campbell and Alastair Gibson
Chapter 15: Teamwork
Jillian Brannan, Denise Cromar, Simon Gardner, Margaret Junner, Steve Morrison and William Rae
Chapter 16: The voice of service users and carers
Part 3: Models of Intervention
Tuck-Chee Phung
Chapter 17: Relationship-based social work
Angela Hart
Chapter 18: Crisis intervention
George Allan
Chapter 19: Cognitive behavioural therapy: its practice and its place in social work
Dave Humphrey
Chapter 20: Task-centred intervention
Jeremy Millar
Chapter 21: Working in the life space
Neil Gibson
Chapter 22: Person-centred planning and personalisation
Neil Gibson and Inga Heyman
Chapter 23: Narrative therapy
Anne Shirran
Chapter 24: Motivational interviewing
Steve Smth, Jim Dressel and Jillian Brannan
Chapter 25: The solution-focused approach
Fiona Feilberg
Chapter 26: Counselling in social work
Linda Harms-Smith and Sarah Buckler
Chapter 27: Community practice in social work
Part 4: Practice Contexts and Application
Jillian Brannan
Chapter 28: Generic issues in practice contexts
Sharon Munro and Patrick Walker
Chapter 29: Working with children and young people
Claire Marsden
Chapter 30: Methods of intervention in working with individuals with substance problems
Mike Maas-Lowit
Chapter 31: Working with adults: mental health
Isobel Townsend
Chapter 32: Working with adults: criminal justice social work
Sheila Slesser
Chapter 33: Working with adults: disability and sensory impairment
Fiona Feilberg
Chapter 34: Working with adults: learning disability
Iain Fisk and Rory Lynch
Chapter 35: Social work interventions with older people
Joyce Lishman
Chapter 36: Evaluation
Joyce Lishman

This text is essential for a student’s personal library as it can be read cover-to-cover, but also dipped in and out of easily, which is the mark of a strong textbook.

Louise Green Wielandt
Social Work Student

Having used so many different social work textbooks over the years, it was a relief to find this book, it is comprehensive, but very easy to read. The book offers a valuable insight into the world of social work, and it covers many important topics such as social policy, law, ethics, and how to apply social work issues to practise contexts.


One of the key things I love, is that it not only has resources within the book, but it also has them online. There are so many different resources available, but I particularly like the case studies and recommended reading, as I find them super useful when I am writing an essay.


Whether you are in your first year or close to qualifying, this book is a must buy and you will definitely make use of it for years to come!

Mehnaz Choudhry
3rd year Social Work Student, UWL

This book is relevant to meeting the needs and awareness for our learners to social work practice.

Mr Mohammed Sayeed
Social Work, Nottingham College
January 10, 2023

This book has been excellent for my students to get an understanding of social work terminology, methods, interventions and theories. Good interactive content through out and easy to read.

Mrs Emma Walker
Health and Social Care, North East Scotland College
February 6, 2022

An extremely thorough introductory social work text which provides a useful knowledge framework for those studying for professional practice. The reflective questions and exercises within each chapter alongside the additional online resources are helpful for further embedding the content within the chapters.

Mrs Lynda Hughes
Department of Sociological Studies, Sheffield University
May 18, 2021

Sample Materials & Chapters

Lishman - Values and Ethics

Joyce Lishman

Professor Joyce Lishman is now retired, and was previously Head of the School of Applied Social Studies, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK. She was also General Editor of the Research Highlights in Social Work series for many years. More About Author

Chris Yuill

Chris Yuill is a sociologist at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, whose work focuses on the sociology of health and the sociology of urban experiences. In addition to a variety of journal publications and research reports he has written and co-edited a number of textbooks for SAGE, one of his most recent being Sociology for Social Work co-edited with Alastair Gibson. Other texts include Understanding the Sociology of Health: An Introduction with Anne-Marie Barry, which is now in its third edition and has also been translated into Chinese. Chris has also served two terms on the executive of the British Sociological Association. More About Author

Jill Brannan

Alastair Gibson

Alastair Gibson graduated with an MA in History before becoming frustrated as a hospital administrator and deciding to move into the more challenging and rewarding practice of social work. He worked in Aberdeen and Gateshead in a variety of health care social work settings and then taught at RGU. Developing his enthusiasm for inter-professional practice, he was a founder member of CAIPE and helped develop shared training for social work, health, education and police trainees. He has thoroughly enjoyed teaching Human Growth and Behaviour as well as being Course Leader of the BA (Hons) Social Work by Distance Learning before retiring in 2009... More About Author