Social Work Reading List (and the wider social care sector)

2013 book list written in partnership with Community Care Magazine can be found here.

It is that time of year again. Yes, people are off to start university or return after the well deserved summer break. To mark the occasion, I thought I would put together a list of the fifteen books that helped me through the social work degree and that continue to support my work (not a social worker). Going through my bookshelf there are a number of publishers who produce quality social work and social care texts, but I have to say that my bookshelf is dominated by texts published by Palgrave Macmillan (please also enquire about their online Social Work Toolkit), Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Open University Press/The Mcgraw-Hill Companies, SAGE publications and Oxford University Press. They can be found on twitter;






Anyway, below are the books that I have found to be most useful to me, my education and my work;

  1. People Problems – Neil Thompson (@DrNeilThompson)

  2. Ethics and Values in Social Work – Sarah Banks

  3. The Dying Process – Julia Lawton

  4. Practising Critial Reflection – Fook and Gardner

  5. Modern Social Work Theory – Malcolm Payne (@MalcolmPayne)

  6. Working in Group Care – Adrian Ward

  7. The Child’s World – Jan Horwath

  8. Social Work: Themes, Issues and Critical Debates – Robert Adams, Lena Dominelli and Malcolm Payne

  9. Working with Adults at Risk from Harm – Margaret Greenfields, Roger Dalrymple andAgnes Fanning

  10. Social Work Skills – Pamela Trevithick

  11. Social Psychology and Management – Christopher Brotherton

  12. Social Work: An Introduction to Contemporary Practice – Kate Wilson, Gillian Ruch, Mark Lymbery and Andrew Cooper

  13. Sociology: Theme and Perspectives – Michael Haralambos and Martin Holborn

  14. Social Research Methods – Alan Bryman

  15. Social Work Law – Alison Brammer

I cannot be sure the links above go to the latest edition but it will tell you about the book. As well as the above texts, I have also found papers from Arden Davies Publishing to be very useful. I also subscribed to the British Journal of Social Work, which is worth considering (discounted with BASW [@BASW_UK] membership). First year students may find some of the Learning Matters books (from Sage Publications) to be easy to understand; Sage also publish some other texts for the social work and social care audience. The Children Act Enterprises Ltd also publish a few law handbooks which is always useful for placements and work. I also highly recommend resources made available by Kirwin Maclean Associates.

As always, our colleagues on twitter have helped by tweeting me some books that they have found to be invaluable (again, both in work and whilst studying). Here they are;

@donuthead1: basically Neil Thompson was my learning role model, I had most of his books when training 🙂

@jaxrafferty: college of social work for PCF and curricula guidance, HCPC for ethics, standards etc

@jaxrafferty: And OU online materials that are accessible

@jaxrafferty: And SCIE and IRISS online learning resources

@jaxrafferty: Postle & Lymbury too. Social Work: a companion to learning & free resources

@Zeyneb_Ibrahim: @Harr_Ferguson child prot prac,his article ‘reflections on the VC case’&Howe’s therapeutic relationship article #SocialWork

@jaxrafferty: Have you got Mark Doel’s books on your list. Latest one launched at #jswec was …

@SunnyNici: I did a blog on the very same topic – 2nd book down is my absolute must!

@copperbird: @SunnyNici @Andrew_Ellery For writing dissertation/ lit review , Aveyard

@SunnyNici: @copperbird @Andrew_Ellery my friend has that one 🙂 I like this one as well:

@lavinialady: ‘Critical Practice in Social Work’ Adams, et al; Palgrave., used as a student until the pages fell apart #socialworktextbooks

@Ermintrude2: I still use these ones.

@sfcreaney: Social Work Law by Brammer and Youth Justice and Social Work by Dugmore et al.,

@AMLTaylor66: Coulshed and Orme, Biestek and Trevithick #classics

@lavinialady: #socialworktexts Dominelli, ‘Anti-Racist Social Work’; BASW

@lavinialady: ‘Counselling for Toads: A Psychological Adventure’ Robert de Board #socialworktexts I love this 🙂

@Ermintrude2: @lavinialady oh, I love that one too!

@jeanettedot: Handbook for Practice Learning by Joyce Lishman. She was my faculty head. A student nicked my copy which I’d had for years!

@jlwestwood: Neil Thomson anti oppressive practice classic text use it in teaching all the time

@SocialWorkHelen: my bible #socialwork text was Community Care and the Law by Luke Clements & Neil Thompsons Anti Discriminatory Practice 🙂

@donuthead1: @SocialWorkHelen @Andrew_Ellery me too! 🙂

@Pixiepal1965: Lawrence Sherman’s The Skills of Helping…

@cal_ann: Good Practice in Risk Assessment: Key Themes for Protection, Rights and Responsibilities v. 2 by Kemshall

@cal_ann: Check this out on AMZN: Risk Assessment in Social Care and Social Work (Research Highlights)

@cal_ann: Check this out on AMZN: A Practitioner’s Tool for Child Protection and the Assessment of Parents

@cal_ann: Check this out on AMZN: The Child’s World: The Comprehensive Guide to Assessing Children in Need

@cal_ann: Check this out on AMZN: Child Development for Child Care and Protection Workers

@RhubarbHill: child’s world – horwath, parent capacity – cleaver, attachment- Howe & parentvassessment – reder for children  #socialwork

@Ermintrude2: I’ll add Howe’s Emotionally Intelligent Social Worker to previous list

@RhubarbHill: @Ermintrude2 @andrew_ellery I second that 😉

@cal_ann: @Ermintrude2 @Andrew_Ellery yeh that is a good book. 🙂

The lists are not an official endorsement. Please do not feel the need to purchase these; you will find books that suit you, as we all learn differently and feel comfortable with different types/styles of reading material. Your university will also provide you with an appropriate reading list for each module. Thank you to all the above on twitter who contributed.

Other blogs posting a reading list

From @Sunnynici

From @Communitycare

Please do add your favourite text(s) below by commenting. Follow me on twitter @Andrew_Ellery or on facebook


6 responses to “Social Work Reading List (and the wider social care sector)

  1. Pingback: What books do you recommend for trainee social workers? | The Social Work Blog

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