This essential guide to study skills takes social work students through every step of their degree journey, providing them with the academic tools they will need to thrive along the way. Inventively informed by the insights and reflections of qualifying students, the book offers effective guidance that is grounded in real experience of the social work degree. It is particularly suited to those in their early years of study and supports students as ‘social workers in the making’. The book covers a comprehensive range of the core study skills, including:

Time management; Literature searches; Engaging with research; Responding to new styles of social work learning and teaching; Critical thinking; Academic writing; Presentations

With reflective questions, handy practical tips and links to helpful websites, this accessible handbook is the perfect study companion for every student on the path to professional qualification.


In this chapter we introduce the book and set the context for studying social work. In particular we examine:

  • issues related to learning about social work in a university environment;
  • challenges for new social work students, such as balancing time commitments and becoming used to information and communication technology;
  • different approaches to using or developing knowledge in practice, including the relevance of two threshold concepts: evidence-based practice and critical reflective practice.

I need to be open and I need to be honest or I'm not going to learn. And if I don't put it out there, then how am I going to learn? … I didn't come here to get a piece of paper. I came to be an effective worker and I think that's the bottom line ...

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