A Scientific Framework for Social Work Doctoral Education in the 21st Century

Erick G. Guerrero*, Hadass Moore, Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The emerging discourse about the science of social work has urged doctoral social work programs to reexamine assumptions about conducting research and responding to new expectations for scholarship. This article examines three promising models to guide scientific research in social work (evidence-based practice, team science, and multi- and transdisciplinary models). We first conducted a systematic review of social work publications (1985–2016) and found a notable increase in publications that discussed either research-informed or evidence-based practice or multidisciplinary approaches, but not team science or transdisciplinary approaches. Next, we engaged in a comparative analysis of each model’s purpose, number of researchers, and breadth of disciplinary focus. Finally, we completed an exploratory assessment of PhD program websites to identify the presence of these models. Information provided on these websites followed a similar pattern as noted in the publications. Implications of these models for doctoral education in the 21st century are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)243-253
Number of pages11
JournalResearch on Social Work Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017.


  • doctoral education
  • evidence-based practices
  • multidisciplinary approach
  • scientific framework
  • team science
  • transdisciplinary approach


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