The Effective Social Worker

by Neil Thompson and Sue Thompson

Guide to further learning

The Social Work Companion contains a guide to further learning. We have now placed this online here so that it is easier to update and extend it over time. It should give you plenty of opportunities to extend and deepen your understanding of social work by pointing you in the right direction for follow-up learning.


This final part of the book is intended as a ‘gateway’ to other learning opportunities in the form of suggestions for further reading; relevant organizations and websites. Of course, you are not expected to read all of it – it is a menu to choose from, rather than a list of required reading. We would, however, strongly advise you to read as widely as possible. The more you read, the broader and deeper your understanding will be. It is also a good idea to get into the habit of doing a lot of reading so that you can maintain this throughout your career as part of a commitment to continuous professional development (see Part 6).

The sources we mention here are quite wide ranging. They include materials that have been written specifically for social work or social care readers, but also materials from other disciplines that are none the less relevant. Some materials can be very difficult to engage with but can repay the effort sometimes.

The fact that we list an item here should not be interpreted to mean that we necessarily agree with it or endorse what it has to say. Our choice of material is bound to be influenced by our own interests and approach, but it is not simply a matter of providing ‘recommended reading’. What we find helpful and interesting may not appeal to you at all, while something that stimulates your interest may not be our cup of tea at all. We are providing potential pathways to follow rather than trying to impose a fixed curriculum, and it is up to you to decide which approaches you favour and wish to know more about, and which not to pursue.

We begin with suggestions for further reading, comprising various books and journals. We then move on to indicate some of the very many organizations and websites that you may wish to access to source further information and finish off with some suggestions about other learning resources. In all three cases (reading materials; organizations, websites and other learning resources), what we provide is far from comprehensive or exhaustive. What we offer should none the less provide a good platform for you to develop your own approach to continuing to develop your knowledge and understanding. It should be borne in mind that the suggestions we make here are general ones about social work and are in addition to those specific pointers provided at the end of each of the preceding six parts, although there may be some degree of overlap in places.