Methods of Social Work

Methods of Social Work

Generally method implies to systematic way of doing something. In social work, method is understood as the systematic and planned way of helping the people. The main concern of social work is to solve psycho-social problems of individuals, groups and communities through the conscious application of knowledge in methods, tools, techniques and skills of social work. In this task, the social worker has to be equipped with all the necessary methods of social work that ease his work to help the people in solving their own problems.

Social work as a professional practice mainly uses the following methods while accomplishing its objectives:
1) Social case work
2) Social group work
3) Community Organization
4) Social work research
5) Social welfare administration
6) Social action

The first three of the methods given above are known as the primary or direct methods. These are direct and primary in the sense that they are directly applied in the field situation among the people to solve their problems. These methods are involved to solve the problems at the grass-root level by the social worker’s direct intervention. The latter three are known as secondary or indirect methods, because they are involved indirectly by some specialized agencies or a set of organized people. Unlike the primary methods, these methods generally operate at the secondary levels but not with the people directly.

1.      Social case work:
It is primary method of social work. It deals with individual problems through one to one relationship which is guided by professional knowledge of the social case worker. Under method the social case worker attempts to repair the impaired relationship of the client with his social environment and through a guided interaction he/she enables the client to adapt with his/her social environment. Through this method the case worker discovers different aspects of the clients problem, prepares an appropriate treatment plan and finally with professional knowledge in social relationship tries to bring about necessary changes in the attitude and behaviour of the client in favour of his own growth and development.

2.      Social group work :
Social group work is another primary method of social work. It is a process in which the individuals in a social group are helped by a professionally qualified worker, who guides their interaction through planned programme activities so that they may be able to relate themselves with others and find growth opportunities in accordance with their needs and capacities towards the noble end of individual group and community development. In this method the group worker uses the group as a potential tool for the positive change and personality development of individuals. In group work individuals in the group are most important and all programme activities revolve around their needs for development. Through the group work process they are helped to improve their relationship and personality traits which may help them to develop themselves and their community as whole.

3.      Community Organization :
Community organization as a method of social work is a process through which efforts are directed towards meeting the community needs by organizing human and material resources of the community. Identifying problems, finding resources relevant to their needs, developing and organizing inter-personal and inter-group relationship, planning and executing effective programme activities are some of the specific activities in community organization method. Organized and collaborative effort of the members of the community for their own development is the main concern of this method.

4.      Social welfare administration:
Social welfare administration is one of the secondary methods of social work. It refers to a process through which social policy is transformed into social service. In the other words, it is a process to manage the affairs of social work or social welfare. Developing programmes, mobilizing resources, recruiting and involving suitable personnel, proper organization, coordination, providing skillful leadership, supervision and guidance of staff, budgeting and evaluation are some of the specified activities involved in social welfare administration method.

5. Social work research :
Social work research is another important method of social work. It refers to the systematic and critical enquiry of the questions encountered by social work professional in the field of application. Through this method efforts are made to find answers to the existing and emerging problems of social work so as to make them use in the practical fields. Social work research like that of other social sciences is contributing a lot to the store house of its knowledge and helping in the better planning and implementation of social work programmes.

6. Social action :  

Social action method of social work is the one that is used to bring about desirable changes in the defective system for ensuring social progress. Through this method attempts are made to mobilize people, to create awareness on existing problems, to organize them and to encourage them to raise their voice against undesirable practices which hampers their development and finally to create pressure for bringing about suitable legislation for social progress. This method seeks to relate the community needs with the solution of the problems mainly through collective initiatives.


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