Analysis of Social Work Theory Progression Published in 2004


  • Valerie D. Decker
  • Philip D. Suman
  • Barb J. Burge
  • Ankita Deka
  • Melanie Harris
  • Dwight J. Hymans
  • Michael Marcussen
  • Donna Pittman
  • David Wilkerson
  • James G. Daley



Human behavior in social environment (HBSE) evaluation, social work theory, theory progression, social work education, social work practice, social work policy


The authors reviewed 67 articles that discussed and/or tested human behavior theories from social work journals published in 2004 in order to assess the level and quality of theory progression. The articles were further sorted into Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) Foundation Curriculum content areas of HBSE, practice, policy, field education, values & ethics, diversity, populations-at-risk/social and economic justice, and research for purposes of categorization. Results indicated that HBSE and practice were by far the largest group of articles reviewed.Also found was that social work has a limited amount of theory discussion in the content areas of field, values and ethics, diversity, and populations-at-risk/social and economic justice. Thirty-three articles were found to demonstrate theory progression, eight articles presented new/emerging theories, and 26 articles discussed or critiqued theories without presenting evidence of theory progression.