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Information for Authors: Social Work

Social Work, established in 1956, is the top-rated social science journal in the world, ranked first in its category by the Information Sciences Institute (ISI). It is provided to all NASW members as a membership benefit. In addition, individual nonmembers, libraries, and institutions subscribe to Social Work. It is a professional journal dedicated to improving practice and advancing knowledge in social work and social welfare. The editorial board welcomes manuscripts that expand and evaluate knowledge of social work practice, social issues, and the social work profession.

Manuscripts are selected on specific topics from the pool of accepted articles. On rare occasions, a call for papers may be issued on topics of major importance to the profession.

Topics of Interest

  • research on social problems
  • evaluation of social work practice
  • advancement of developmental and practice theory
  • culture and ethnicity
  • social policy, advocacy, and administration


Manuscripts for full-length articles may not exceed 20 pages, including all components. The entire review process is anonymous. At least three reviewers critique each manuscript; after which the editor-in-chief makes a decision, taking those reviews into account.


Practice Update presents perspectives, innovations, reports, and updates related to social work practice. The purpose is to inform practitioners of methods to expand upon existing practice. Case vignettes are welcomed; however, the major emphases should be placed on analysis of practice and the evidence of effectiveness. Manuscripts may be more descriptive than analytical and do not require the depth of documentation necessary for full-length articles. Manuscripts are reviewed anonymously in the same process used for articles. The maximum length for Practice Update submissions is seven pages.

Commentary offers writers an opportunity to present their critical observation on current professional issues, social problems, or policy matters. Submissions are expected to build on existing literature in the topic area. The editor-in-chief reviews manuscripts anonymously. The maximum length for Commentary submissions is six pages.

Points & Viewpoints provides readers an opportunity to respond substantively to an article previously published in the journal and to challenge the premises, results, or intellectual positions in that article. It was created to stimulate dialogue within the profession. The editor-in-chief reviews all manuscripts anonymously. If a manuscript is accepted, the author of the original article will be asked to respond to the viewpoints expressed in it. If the original author declines to respond, a manuscript may be shortened and included as a Letter to the Editor. The maximum length for Points & Viewpoints submissions is seven pages.

Letters to the Editor. Readers are encouraged to send comments on articles published in the journal or other points of interest to the profession. Although we acknowledge and read all letters, not all can be published. Selected letters may be shortened to fit the space available. The maximum length for Letters to the Editor submissions is two pages.

To prepare your manuscript in the proper format for submission, view the Author Guidelines. Please submit manuscripts as Word documents through the online submission portal at (initial, one-time registration is required).