Social Work Policy Institute Research


Why Do We Need Social Work Research? 

Social work research informs professional practice. Through social work research, the profession can:

  • assess the needs and resources of people in their environments;
  • evaluate the effectiveness of social work services in meeting peoples needs;
  • demonstrate relative costs and benefits of social work services;
  • advance professional education in light of changing contexts for practice; and
  • understand the impact of legislation and social policy on the clients and communities we serve.

Below we provide featured Social work Policy Institute research.  Please visit the SWPI website for full information about its research, publications, events, and other relevant information.

Featured SWPI Research:  Associations Collaborate To Promote Diversity In Science

The NASW Social Work Policy Institute joined with other professional and scientific societies in the Collaborative for Enhancing Diversity in Science to host the workshop, Enhancing Diversity in Science: Working Together to Develop Common Data, Measures, and Standards on May 24, 2012. SWPI Director Joan Levy Zlotnik facilitated the opening session which included National Institutes of Health Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak; National Institute of Child Health Deputy Director Yvonne Maddox; American Sociological Association Executive Director Sally Hillsman; and National Science Foundation Deputy Director Cora Marrett. 

The key recommendations from the Workshop are to:

  • establish a federal interagency working group of federal science agencies and the Department of Education to examine and define common data elements that all federally supported programs and individuals would be required to collect for tracking and evaluation purposes.
  • develop a permanent central web-based repository for data on diverse populations in the science pipeline, as well as publications focusing on this issue.
  • launch a new set of fellowships focused on increasing diversity in the scientific workforce using a public/private partnership and taking into account recent research and practice on the structuring of fellowships and training experiences.
For more information about the Collaborative for Enhancing Diversity please follow this link to its website and to read the Workshop summary follow this link to the report

Social Work Policy Institute Logo


The Social Work Policy Institute works to strengthen social work’s voice in public policy deliberations, inform policymakers through the collection and dissemination of information on social work effectiveness. For comprehensive information about its publications and activities please visit the SWPI website.


Social Work Ethics & Law Institute Logo


The Social Work Ethics and Law Institute (SWELI) is a center within the NASW Foundation. SWELI was created by the NASW Legal Defense Fund to enhance social workers’ understanding and knowledge of legal and ethical issues affecting the social work profession.  For More information please visit SWELI on the NASW website.


NASW Social Work Talks Podcast Logo


In Episode 6, NASW Social Work Talks Podcast features Joan Levy Zlotnik, PhD, ACSW, Social Work Policy Institute Director from 2009-2018. Tune in for a discussion about how public policy is an important part of social work and how social workers are working to shape policy.