Nature of Social Work Research

Social work research examines societal issues with the aim of benefiting consumers, educators, practitioners, policymakers, and the general public.

Such research may study a wide range of areas, including substance abuse, healthcare, child welfare, family issues, community violence, aging, well-being and resiliency, and underserved populations.

The characteristic feature of this research however is that it seeks to promote the well-being of the population involved.

When conducting research, you are required to find out the social work areas that are appealing to you.

To being with, you could start by looking at:

1. Social work list of theories that you resonate with

2. Social issues you would like to change

3. Groups of people you would like to help

4. Clinical intervention you have interest in


Tips for Choosing Topics for social work research

Selecting a social work research topic should begin with establishing a general orientation into the subject or area you have an interest in.

Key tips in choosing a topic include:

1. Select an area where there is need for more research, or you have an interest in, or have experience in

2. Start with the “why” and “what” questions and expand on them. E.g. what are the best approaches for treating prescription drug abuse? Why are Caucasian teenagers more likely to commit suicide?

3. Examine practice issues observed during your employment, volunteer work, or internship.

4. Go through departmental information on faculty’s research interests.

5. Consult with a professor particularly one actively involved in research for potential topics.

6. Go through research papers interesting to you and review background and literature review section for ideas.

7. Find journals on your research interests for topic ideas.

8. Look for new perspectives from research you conducted in other classes.


Areas to Explore for Topics for Social Work Research

Looking for topics for social work research requires you to identify areas with potential for interesting issues.

Such areas may include:

1. Aging

2. Addiction

3. Autism spectrum disorder

4. Affordable housing

5. Conversion therapy

6. Elder abuse

7. Early intervention programs

8. Foster care

9. Family caregiving

10. Grief counselling

11. Group care

12. Gender pay gap

13. Interracial adoption

14. Intimate partner violence

15. Informal economy

16. Juvenile justice


18. Mentoring program

19. Mental illness

20. Nutrition assistance programs

21. People with disabilities

22. People experiencing homelessness

23. Restorative community programs

24. Resilience

25. Social justice

26. Social assault/ sexual harassment

27. Suicide

28. Substance abuse

29. Veterans

30. Welfare reform


Example Topics for Social Work Research

1. How can stigma emanating from mental health disorders be addressed in society?

2. Long-term impact of welfare programs on the capacity of families to cope with social distress.

3. Approaches for enhancing reporting of domestic violence incidences among women.

4. Impacts of foster homes on relationship building in the adult lives of foster children.

5. Effectiveness of group therapy among school children with learning disorders.

6. Exploring levels of clinical depression among children in vulnerable communities.

7. Exploring long-term effects of domestic violence on the social and economic welfare of families.

8. Evolution of homelessness into a major socio-psychological issue in the US.

9. Impact of child mental disorders on affected parents/ family members.

10. Evaluation of risk factors for suicide tendencies among teenagers.

11. Exploring vulnerability levels in different stages of healing among victims of domestic violence.

12. Approaches for mitigating against negative stereotypes about mental illness patients.

13. Exploring resources for social workers working with families and children on child maltreatment intergenerational patterns.

14. Examining approaches for breaking the cycle of abuse in families.

15. Strategies for preventing abuse against children in vulnerable family settings.

16. Role of childhood events on development of suicidal tendencies among teenagers.

17. Examining the long-term impacts of domestic violence on the academic achievement among affected children.

18. Communal approaches for addressing PTSD among army veterans fresh from combat.

19. Determining conditions that necessitate the removal of a child from a setting.

20. Identifying the different stages of PTSD development among army veterans.

21. Exploring the different challenges social workers face when working in health care settings.

22. School programs for prevention of suicide among students.

23. Examining restrictions on social work practice emanating from current legal framework.

24. Exploring methods of burnout prevention among social workers.

25. Measures key to creating school environments that help in prevention drug abuse among teenagers.

26. Exploring the impact of different family factors that predispose teenagers to drug abuse.

27. Examining the real extent of implications associated with social media addiction.

28. Best practices to adopt when counselling individuals who have lost family members.

29. Exploring the extent to which children with Down syndrome can be involved in active learning within normal learning setting.

30. Exploring how symptoms of grief present themselves among different individuals.

31. Analysis of Social Code of Ethics and its effective application for social workers.

32. Bipolar disorder in parents and its effects on children.

33. Impact of sponsors on the recovery process in alcohol addicts.

34. Examination of trauma on children who have been separated from their parents.

35. The role of family in successful recovery from alcohol and substance abuse.

36. Factors to consider for caregivers when working with children diagnosed with developmental disabilities.

37. Exploring educational programs for parents with children with dyslexia.

38. Creating safe and supportive school environments for children with dyslexia.

39. Identifying risk factors for severe grief among affected individuals.

40. How development of disability affects family among young couples.

41. Examination of the role of work environment in suppression of gender based abuse among military officers.

42. Examining programs designed to address language challenges in dyslexic children.

43. Identifying the most common forms of abuse among the elderly in the society.

44. Practices that predispose teenagers to alcohol and substance addiction.

45. Impacts of wrong diagnosis of mental illnesses on individuals and their families.

46. A critical examination of the effectiveness of anti-depressants.

47. Exploring the different strategies that can be used to enhance resilience among children who have faced or are facing adverse events in life.

48. Evolution of obesity from a health to a major social problem in the US.

49. Methods that social workers could use to build resilience in their line of work.

50. Effective approaches in creating a healthy social culture in foster homes.

51. Risk factors for elder abuse within family settings.

52. Evolution of juvenile crime in less privileged neighborhoods in the US.

53. Exploring the main problems children with different sexual orientation may encounter at school.

54. Examining the causes of rising juvenile delinquency.

55. Long-term effects of unemployment on alcohol and substance abuse.

56. Policy proposals to help reduce high incarceration rates in particular communities.

57. Systemic racial disparities in access to education in the US.

58. Relationship between access to social services and rate of crime in communities.

59. Best-practices in enhancing healthy therapist-client relationship among immigrants.

60. Rising socio-economic disparities between communities living in same or close neighborhoods.

61. Implications of severe reproduction health control policy on family welfare.

62. Role of common cultural beliefs in the maintaining healthy family relationships.

63. Evolution of life coaching and its implication on the wellbeing of individuals.

64. The negative impact of strict birth control policies in poor communities.

65. Exploring the different factors contributing to the rising juvenile incarceration rates.

66. Effectiveness of teenage pregnancy programs in improving the wellbeing of mother and child.

67. Impacts of increasing interracial marriages on social relations within societies.\

68. Effectiveness of social healthcare programs in improving the welfare of community members.

69. Policy measures to help increase social functioning among adults with autism.

70. Recovery process from climate disasters among the less privileged community members.

71. Tailoring suicide prevention approaches for individuals with different cultural backgrounds.

72. Long-term implications of male family member incarceration on families in poor communities.

73. Challenges social workers face when working with elders suffering cognitive impairment.

74. Role of social workers in prevention of spread of HIV among LGBTQ members.

75. Approaches towards helping former inmates cope with associated stigma.

76. Structural factors that contribute to homelessness in wealthy societies.

77. Effective methods for recidivism prevention among juveniles.

78. Methods for addressing the challenges social workers face when working with unprocessed immigrants.

79. Exploring conducive conditions for effective correction among adult prisoners.

80. Methods to incorporate technology in the treatment of drug addiction.

81. Examining the effects of existing policy framework on the status of immigrants.

82. Adoption of non-clinical methods in treatment of alcohol and drug abuse.

83. Effective approaches for addressing trauma among human trafficking victims.

84. Screening of sexual education for teenagers in public schools.

85. Key considerations to make when helping HIV positive individuals among the gay community.

86. Exploring ways through which trauma is depicted among victims of human trafficking.

87. Implications of border policy on drug trafficking and abuse in the US.

88. Policy factors that have made effective prevention of HIV spread in US a challenge.

89. Strategies for prevention of bullying among children in orphanages.

90. Identifying the unique needs among child victims of sexual abuse.

91. Exploring conditions for safe childhood among unconventional families such as those in gay marriages.

92. Examining the implications of overt forms of child mistreatment.

93. Evaluation of the unique mental needs for minority groups in the US.

94. Identifying cultural factors that hinder effective service delivery among vulnerable communities.

95. Exploring different types of child neglect among families with a history of domestic violence.


From the above of topics for social work research examples, you could make modifications that suit your particular interests.

For further examples, you could explore research projects and social work theses, projects, and dissertations.

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