Higher Education

Decision Cases for Advanced Social Work Practice: Thinking Like a Social Worker, 1st Edition

  • Terry A. Wolfer University of South Carolina, Columbia
  • T. Laine Scales Baylor University
  • ISBN-10: 0534521967  |  ISBN-13: 9780534521967
  • 144 Pages
  • © 2006 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $83.25



Designed for MSW-level social work students, this collection of cases encourages readers to think like practicing professionals. The cases depict actual situations across a variety of practice settings--individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Sure to stimulate in-depth class discussions, these detailed, open-ended cases urge students to decide on the central problem and recommend a course of action. The resulting case analyses and class discussions help students develop important problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, internalize social work values and ethics, and apply theory to practice. Through the "decision case" approach, students adopt attitudes and skills that are considered essential for effective social work practice, yet difficult to teach in the traditional curriculum. As they discuss their perspectives on these cases, students learn to articulate and defend their positions, to listen more effectively, and to develop skills in, and appreciation for, collaborative problem-solving.

Table of Contents

1. An Introduction to Decision Cases and Case Method Learning.
2. Tips for Learning from Decision Cases.
1. Jim's License to Drive.
2. Larry Steele's Group.
3. Advocating for Clients.
4. Fran's Questions.
5. Private Charity.
6. One Little Boy (A).
7. In Good Faith.
8. Planet Methadone.
9. I Don't Know How it Happened.
10. Just Share.
11. Earring.
12. Revealing Problems (A).

Efficacy and Outcomes


"This is a rich source of case material using the decision case method that fosters students’ critical analysis and practice decision making. The 13 cases also represent a sampling of social work practice settings that can broaden a student’s understanding of the application of social work knowledge and skills beyond that of his/her own field placement."

— Marcia Harrigan, Virginia Commonwealth University

"The book is well written, the cases are very relevant, and it carefully explains how to use the case method approach. The case method approach presents a good means to integrate knowledge, skills, and professional ethics."

— Cheryl Waites, North Carolina State University


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

Instructor Supplements

eBank Instructor's Manual  (ISBN-10: 0534521975 | ISBN-13: 9780534521974)

The Instructor's Manual (available via e-mail) includes general and case-specific instructions for teaching with Wolfer and Scales's book. General instructions for using the case method of teaching include how to prepare for a case discussion, how to lead a case discussion, anticipating and handling specific discussion problems, cultural diversity in case discussions, and possible activities to supplement case discussions. Extensive teaching notes for each case include a case synopsis, content courses for which the case could be used, possible learning outcomes, possible discussion questions and responses (organized in four categories: fact, analysis, action, and reflection), suggested activities or assignments to supplement the class discussion, and print and electronic resources for further information. Though the teaching notes provide detailed guidance appropriate for novice teachers, even experienced case method instructors will benefit from the notes for cases drawn from practice areas with which they are less familiar.

InfoTrac® College Edition Printed Access Card  (ISBN-10: 0534558534 | ISBN-13: 9780534558536)

This online research and learning center offers over 20 million full-text articles from nearly 6,000 scholarly and popular periodicals. The articles cover a broad spectrum of disciplines and topics--ideal for every type of researcher. Learn more at www.cengage.com/infotrac. (Access code/card required).

List Price = $32.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $24.00

Student Supplements

InfoTrac® College Edition Printed Access Card  (ISBN-10: 0534558534 | ISBN-13: 9780534558536)

Save time, save money, and eliminate the trek to the library and long waits for reserved readings with InfoTrac® College Edition, an online university library of more than 5,000 academic and popular magazines, newspapers, and journals.

List Price = $32.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $24.00

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Terry A. Wolfer

Dr. Terry A. Wolfer is an Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of South Carolina. His research interests include faith-based social services, case method teaching, and violence and trauma. He has written numerous articles and has co-edited DECISION CASES FOR GENERALIST SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE and DECISION CASES FOR ADVANCED SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE published by Thomson Brooks/Cole.

T. Laine Scales

T. Laine Scales is Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Professional Development and Professor of Higher Education at Baylor University, Waco, Texas. She served for 12 years as a faculty member in social work at Baylor University and Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas, where she taught human behavior with individuals, groups, communities, and organizations. Dr. Scales has published in the areas of social welfare history, spirituality and religion in social work, and rural social work. She has authored, edited, or co-edited seven books, including ALL THAT FITS A WOMAN: TRAINING SOUTHERN BAPTIST WOMEN FOR CHARITY AND MISSION, 1907-1926 (Mercer University Press, 2000), SPIRITUALITY AND RELIGION IN SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE: DECISION CASES WITH TEACHING NOTES (Council on Social Work Education, 2002), RURAL SOCIAL WORK: ASSET-BUILDING TO SUSTAIN RURAL COMMUNITIES (Brooks/Cole, 2004), and DECISION CASES FOR GENERALIST PRACTICE: THINKING LIKE A SOCIAL WORKER (Thomson, 2006). Dr. Scales earned her BA at the University of North Carolina, her MSW at the Carver School of Church Social Work, Louisville, KY, and her PhD at the University of Kentucky.