In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Research, Best Practices, and Evidence-based Group Work

  • Introduction
  • Journals
  • Practice Standards
  • Publishing Research in Scholarly Journals

Social Work Research, Best Practices, and Evidence-based Group Work
Mark J. Macgowan
  • LAST REVIEWED: 29 June 2011
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 June 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0031


Both the methods used to study groups and discussions on the use of research in group work have advanced in the early 21st century. For example, statistical methods have been described that help address traditional limitations to group-based research (e.g., clustering problems resulting in nonindependence of observations). In addition, there have been discussions of the systematic utilization of best available evidence in groups, called evidence-based or evidence-informed group work. Recent books and special journal issues have been dedicated to helping practitioners to integrate best available evidence into practice. This entry provides a comprehensive list of sources related to group work research, best practices, and evidence-based group work, with an emphasis on publications since 2000. The entry begins with material on the utilization and application of research by practitioners. Specifically, there is a presentation of standards for the practice of group work, followed by sections on evidence-based group work and on practice evaluation. These are followed by a section on conducting formal research on group work. The entry also includes a guide to the major group work journals.


There are nine peer-reviewed scholarly journals in print, representing a range of emphases. The group work journal from a clear social work perspective is Social Work with Groups. Group Analysis focuses on psychotherapy, whereas Group Dynamics applies a scientific understanding to group work topics. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations focuses on group and intergroup phenomena. Groupwork originates in England, and International Journal of Group Psychotherapy is the official publication of the American Group Psychotherapy Association. Journal of Groups in Addiction and Recovery has material related to groups in addiction and recovery. Journal for Specialists in Group Work is the journal of the Association for Specialists in Group Work, a division of the American Counseling Association. Small Group Research brings together research that probes all aspects of small-group functioning. All journals publish qualitative and quantitative research, including mixed methods, with various levels of rigor. Journals with notable attention to rigor include Small Group Research and Group Dynamics. Also included is a section on the dissemination of research; that is, publishing in group work journals.

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