A Perspective on the Historical Epistemology of Social Work Education



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University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work


Social work has used several paradigms to guide its educational knowledge base. The writings, beliefs, and perceptions of three of social work’s founders who have greatly influenced the history of social work education—Jane Addams, Mary Richmond, Edith Abbott—are examined here. This article seeks to explore the constructs and knowledge base of social work from this historical perspective. Specifically, it presents a discussion on the sources of knowledge developed in social work, explores the relationship between epistemology and research, discusses the historical context of the knowledge base, and concludes with some recommendations for social work education.



Social Work, History, Epistemology, Education, Research, Social work, History, Epistemology, Education, Research, Perspectives on Social Work