Social work identity as represented in finnish academic context

Anna Väänänen, Juha Perttula, Gedas Malinauskas, Jūratė Gudliauskaitė-Godvadė, Paulius Godvadas


The article presents research, the aim of which is to study how social work is manifested in the official documents (doctoral dissertations) accepted in Finnish universities. The research material consists of 107 doctoral dissertations, which have been published from 1994 till spring of 2008. The point of the research is on the representations of social work, which implies the research question, how doctoral dissertations are communicating, what social work is. Content analysis was used to analyze the research material in three stages by concentrating on the aims and research questions by organizing them in their frames. The analysis reveals eleven categories and eight levels as representations of social work research identity. Based on the results, the core identity of social work is its diversity and all-inclusive nature. It is discussed whether this is a benefit or a disadvantage for social work as practice and as a discipline.


social work research; social work identity; Finnish social work doctoral dissertations; social work profession; content analysis

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789