The archaeology of research practices: a social work case

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


From Foucault’s understanding of discursive forms, I suggest a hitherto little-recognized archival framework for understanding disparate but related objects, statements, and themes in social work research practices at Chicago in the third and fourth decades of the last century. Viewing these as surrounding and overhanging present practices, I detect from archival sources distinctions between methodology as professional model (research practices as taught), research practices as selective accountability and claims-making (reporting to funders), methodology as reported practice (monographs), and research practices in their relation to a vision for social service and reform. I suggest how the archive unsettles rhetorical ways of deploying visions for social work and applied research, and for the relationship between social work and sociology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-49
Number of pages14
JournalQualitative inquiry
Issue number1
Early online date14 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • social work
  • research
  • methodology

Cite this