A Writing Guide for Social Work

Prepared by Christopher D. Kilgore for the UTA School of Social Work


Social work is a writing-intensive discipline. Whether we work with individual clients in direct practice, work with administrators in community organizing, or conduct social-work research, we will write, revise, and proofread for the rest of our professional lives.

This guide assumes that a high-quality product-an essay, a report, a research paper-results from a streamlined, efficient, rigorous process. This guide can usher you through the complete work-flow, from idea to final draft, or you can read it in any order, as your needs or preferences require. Each of the following sections represents a stage in the writing process. You can follow these links directly from here, or you can start reading the whole guide in order by following the link at the bottom of the page.

Student Edition

Download Student Edition (PDF)

Instructor Edition

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This guide is also available in two different editions: one "For Instructors" and one "For Students." It may be useful for you to read both editions, regardless of which group you find yourself fitting, because college writing aims to improve critical thinking (ideas) and presentation (language), and not just to affix a label or grade. From either a student's or an instructor's perspective, a "good" assignment (and that means a document turned in as an "assignment" as well as a document that assigns an "assignment") should strive to produce a new and useful insight, not just rehash already established truths. Even a literature review, after all, must make an argument.

A Writing Guide for Social Work
Created in 2011-2018 by Christopher D. Kilgore for the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Arlington