Professional Writing for Social Work Practice, Second Edition

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Professional Writing for Social Work Practice, Second Edition

SKU# 9780826178145

Author: Daniel Weisman MSW, PhD, Joseph Zornado PhD

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This invaluable guide helps social workers develop the writing skills necessary for a successful career. Actual examples drawn from all arenas of social work demonstrate strong and problematic writing. Organized around the core social work curriculum, the book’s examples are applicable to every foundation course. Each example begins with field notes and proceeds through drafts to the final version, with explanations about corrections. Readers learn by doing through exercises interspersed throughout. Written by a social work professor and an English professor, the book provides a fusion of writing and practice, covering all the tools necessary for developing professional social work writing skills.

Key Features:

  • Provides chapters for each of the BSW/MSW foundational courses (Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Practice, Policy, Research, and Fieldwork) to exemplify writing expectations in each area.
  • Juxtaposes original drafts and corrected final versions with explanations about corrections made to highlight common mistakes.
  • Includes writing samples used in actual practice such as research reports, court documentation, grant applications, intake forms, progress notes, press releases, and case assessments that exemplify everyday challenges.
  • Provides self-assessments and exercises to help readers identify their strengths and challenges.
  • Highlights typical writing challenges including sentence structure, punctuation, use of voice and excessive verbiage, and sample resumes and cover letters, providing a valuable lifetime resource.
  • Encourages practice in writing in different contexts and with different audiences to prepare readers for working in any social work venue.
  • Covers legal and ethical issues and writing to influence policy and transmit research findings.

New to this edition:

  • Emphasizes writing fundamentals (new chapter) by breaking the process into steps from note taking, to rough drafts, to editing the final version, to help students master most writing tasks.
  • Connects critical thinking (new chapter) and cultural competency skills (new chapter) to writing and infuses this information throughout the book.
  • Addresses the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards and competencies to better prepare readers for writing professional documentation.
  • Discusses the use of the APA style used in social work practice.
  • Provides instructor’s resources including PowerPoints, a sample syllabus, and assignments, tips, and activities for using the book in writing and foundational courses.

Designed for writing-specific social work courses such as interviewing and documentation, professional seminars, and writing modules in all BSW and MSW foundation courses, this book is ideal for anyone interested in strengthening their social work writing skills.

Product Details 

  • Publication Date July 19, 2017
  • Page Count 314
  • Product Form Paperback / softback
  • ISBN 13 9780826178145
  • EISBN 9780826178152

About The Author(s) 

Daniel Weisman, MSW, PhD, is professor emeritus of social work, Rhode Island College, and former chair, Bachelor of Social Work Department. He directed Rhode Island College’s Applied Research and Training Project, and evaluated programs for several Rhode Island state departments, as well as private nonprofit agencies in numerous states. He was a certified site visitor for the Council on Social Work Education. He has coauthored four other books, including Professional Writing for the Criminal Justice System (Springer Publishing Company, 2017) and Professional Writing for Social Work Practice (Springer Publishing Company, 2013); written chapters in several anthologies; and published articles in social work and labor studies journals.

Joseph Zornado, PhD, is professor of English at Rhode Island College. He has written articles and books on literature, media, and culture, and has coauthored two textbooks on the teaching of writing. His first scholarly monograph, Inventing the Child: Culture, Ideology, and the Story of Childhood, appeared in 2001. He recently completed a speculative trilogy, 2050: A Future History. He has coauthored Professional Writing for the Criminal Justice System (Springer Publishing Company, 2017) and Professional Writing for Social Work Practice (Springer Publishing Company, 2013), and wrote Disney and the Dialectic of Desire: Fantasy as Social Practice. He teaches courses in media and culture, children’s literature and culture, literary theory, literature and film, and environmental studies, among others.

Table of Contents 




To the Reader

1. Critical Thinking in Social Work Practice

2. Cultural Competency and Social Work Practice

3. Jones’s Family Case Study: Writing Self-Assessment

4. Four-Step Writing Process for Professional Practice

5. Writing and Human Behavior in the Social Environment

6. Writing for Social Work Practice

7. Writing and Social Policy

8. Writing Research Reports

9. Grant Writing

10. Agency-Based Writing—Letters

11. Writing With the Mind and Body

12. Fundamentals of Effective Writing


A. Glossary of Writing and Writing Errors

B. Resumes and Cover Letters

C. Additional Exercises