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Issues » 2016/4 - ERIS Journal - Summer 2016 »

Marie Špiláčková

The Importance of Historical Knowledge for Social Work as a Science, Profession and Academic Discipline – Experiences from Czech Republic


This article reports upon the importance of historical research in social work according to experiences from Czech Republic. A research approach concentrated upon an exploration of the history of social work is gaining interest among the professional public. Various examples of literature present arguments in favour of the description and critical analysis of historical knowledge. The aim of this paper is based on the results of professional discourse on the significance of historical findings for social work as a science, profession and academic discipline to apply historical research as a scientific research method in social work. Initial conclusions from an analysis of available literature proved that historical research is a way to describe how and where social work originated, how it has evolved over time, and where it stands today. Historical findings are also important to strengthen the identification of social workers with their profession and to anchor the basic values and central goals of the profession. Currently in the field of social work, very few historical works have appeared. The history of social work in the Czech Republic is waiting to be fully considered and processed. One reason for the lack of interest in historical themes is simply unfamiliarity with the methodology of historical research. A starting point is the inclusion of historical research into the curriculum of social workers´ education in methodological subjects. Historical knowledge is poised to enrich the currently presented information on social work history through the utilization of relevant methodological means. It is one of the key ways with which to enhance the prestige of the social work profession and a ready means to bring it into the public eye.


social work, historical findings, historical research, curriculum, Czech Republic

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