In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Podcasts and Social Work

  • Introduction
  • Introductory Works
  • Digital Storytelling and Social Work
  • Professional Development
  • Journals

Social Work Podcasts and Social Work
Jonathan B. Singer, Astrid J. Gomez
  • LAST REVIEWED: 29 November 2022
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 November 2022
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0317


A podcast is a series of audio files that users can subscribe to, download, and listen to. Although social workers have traditionally been late adopters to technology, the first social work podcast was published on 12 January 2007, less than eighteen months after Apple added a podcast category to its iTunes store. Podcasts are used in social work education, as a study resource for licensure exams, as a tool for learning about best practices, and to amplify traditionally marginalized or silenced voices. Most scholarship on podcasting comes from allied disciplines outside of social work, with a focus on education, distance learning, and professional development.

Introductory Works

Podcasting is different from online audio, which has been available since the early days of the World Wide Web, in that it combines two technologies: RSS (real simple syndication) feeds and MP3 files (compressed audio files). This combination enables podcast producers to automatically push audio content to subscriber’s devices, such as MP3 players and computers. The first known reference of “podcasting” was in Ben Hammersley’s article about online radio, “Audible revolution.” published on 12 February 2004. Although Mr. Hammersley did not explain how he came up with the term “podcasting,” some have speculated that it was a combination of the words iPod (Apple’s MP3 player) and broadcasting. In 2005 Apple added a podcast category to iTunes and the New Oxford American Dictionary named podcast the word of the year. Although there is no standard measure of the number of podcasts or the number of listeners, in 2018 Apple reported that there were 525,000 podcasts registered through iTunes and 50 billion unique downloads since 2005. A 2022 study from Edison research reported that 62 percent of Americans (177 million) had ever listened to a podcast. Although the statistics will continue to change, there are four articles that will serve as introductory works to podcasting. Fronek, et al. 2016 addresses the history of podcasting in social work and applications to education and practice. Salloum and Smyth 2013 looks at podcasting as part of a clinical therapeutic trial with social workers and interns. Fernandez, et al. 2009 provides details on how to create a podcast and its value to a group of undergraduates. Finally, Singer 2019 looks at the role of podcasting in social work to disseminate scholarship and to engage both scholars and the general public in social work–related scholarship.

  • Fernandez, V., P. Simo, and J. M. Sallan. 2009. Podcasting: A new technological tool to facilitate good practice in higher education. Computers & Education 5.3: 385–392.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.compedu.2009.02.014

    This article presents a framework for creating and evaluating the use of podcasts in education.

  • Fronek, Patricia, J. Boddy, L. Chenoweth, and J. Clark. 2016. A report on the use of open access podcasting in the promotion of social work. Australian Social Work 69: 105–114.

    DOI: 10.1080/0312407X.2014.991338

    The authors provide a comprehensive overview of podcast use in the promotion of social work regarding the profession; theory, research, and practice; up-to-date relevance for undergraduate students; and ongoing professional development for practitioners.

  • Hammersley, B. 2004. Audible revolution. Guardian, 12 February.

    The author reviews online audio technologies used in 2004. He suggests the word podcast as one of several terms that might be used to describe radio on the Internet.

  • Salloum, A., and K. Smyth. 2013. Clinicians’ experiences of a podcast series on implementing a manualized treatment. Journal of Technology in Human Services 31.1: 71–83.

    DOI: 10.1080/15228835.2012.738382

    This pioneering study is the first to evaluate social work/mental health clinicians’ and interns’ perceptions of podcast use to assist learning about a manualized Grief and Trauma Intervention.

  • Singer, J. B. 2019. Podcasting as social scholarship: A tool to increase the public impact of scholarship and research. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research 10: 571–590.

    DOI: 10.1086/706600

    This article summarizes scholarship related to podcasting through 2019, presents the results of a multiyear survey of podcast listeners, and discusses the role of podcasting as a tool for social scholarship.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.