Term of Graduation

Spring 1966

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work




Social service



Physical Description

1 online resource (94 pages)


This thesis is one in a series of studies concerned with the interrelationship of General Systems Theory and social work knowledge. The purpose of this particular study was to develop a questionnaire to test the generic quality of the actions performed among the three traditional specialties of social work -- casework, group work and community organization.

The universe from which the sample of concepts was obtained were the acts performed by people in behalf of others. Specifically, the 421 concepts in the sample were obtained from literature in the fields of social work, sociology, psychology, and counseling and guidance. These concepts were rated on the basis of their clarity of meaning, their frequency of use and their importance to the specialties. The 44 judges were first year graduate students and professional social workers.

In the study both a 100 and a 5 point rating scale were used for responding to the concepts. It was found that a 5 point scale was too gross and that the 100 point scale was tiring over many responses.

A working assumption was that a generic core of social work knowledge exists. The main null hypothesis was: There are no significant differences in the dimensions tested among the three traditional specialties in regard to the actions that each performs in practice. Testing between the first year graduate students and the professional social worker required a secondary null hypothesis: There are no significant differences between the social work graduate student and the professional social worker in terms of how they view social work action concepts.

Using a .05 level of confidence both null hypotheses were accepted. The statistical measurements showed a wide variance in response by individuals but agreement among the traditional specialties and between the first year graduate student and the professional social worker. Due to the small number of judges these findings tend to be viewed as first approximations.


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A group project submitted to Portland State College in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Social Work.

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Persistent Identifier


Included in

Social Work Commons