Open Textbooks


Open textbooks are licensed under creative commons licenses or public domain. They are available for free to students in multiple formats. Faculty can make changes to the textbook, combine them with other resources, and share their derivative or ancillary works openly.

Below are textbooks of interest to social work educators. OSWE serves as a publisher of open textbooks and as a clearinghouse for open textbooks in social work and related disciplines. We are also happy to help any aspiring authors with their textbook projects. Email Matt.


Our Textbooks


Scientific Inquiry in Social Work

An introductory textbook for social work students studying research methods.

This book guides students through the process of creating a research project including:

  • How to discover a research topic that is interesting to them

  • Examine scholarly literature,

  • Formulate a proper research question

  • Design a quantitative or qualitative study to answer a question

  • Carry out a research design,

  • Interpret quantitative and qualitative results

  • Disseminate their findings to a variety of audiences.

Examples are drawn from the author's practice and research experience, as well as topical articles from the literature.

The textbook is aligned with the Council on Social Work Education's 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards.

This book was updated in January 2019, and the next edition is planned for August 2020.


MSW Research Methods

A graduate-level social work research methods textbook centering multiple ways of knowing and project-based learning . This book will include online interactive content and represents a collaboration across academic, for-profit, and government researchers in social work.

Expected publication date: August 2020.

Currently undergoing peer review for pilot study in January 2019.


Other Textbooks

University of Minnesota Libraries

University of Minnesota Libraries

Social Problems: Continuity and Change

Social Problems: Continuity and Change is a realistic but motivating look at the many issues that are facing our society today. As this book’s subtitle, Continuity and Change, implies, social problems are persistent, but they have also improved in the past and can be improved in the present and future, provided that our nation has the wisdom and will to address them.

Linda Frederiksen, Sue F. Phelps

Linda Frederiksen, Sue F. Phelps

Literature Reviews for Education and Nursing Graduate Students

This open textbook is designed for students in graduate-level nursing and education programs. From developing a research question to locating and evaluating sources to writing a sample literature review using appropriate publication guidelines, readers will be guided through the process. 

Writing a Textbook

Social work lags far behind other disciplines in creating open textbooks. If you are considering writing your own textbooks, here are some resources to get you started. In addition to the resources listed below, contact a librarian who can walk you through Creative Commons, discuss any grant programs at your school or in your state to support your writing, and link you with instructional designers or e-book designers who will make your work shine!

BC Campus

BC Campus

BCcampus self-publishing guide

The BCcampus Open Education Self-Publishing Guide is a reference for individuals or groups wanting to write and self-publish an open textbook. This guide provides details on the preparation, planning, writing, publication, and maintenance of an open textbook.

Open Textbook Network

Open Textbook Network

Authoring Open Textbooks

This guide is for faculty authors, librarians, project managers and others who are involved in the production of open textbooks in higher education and K-12. Content includes a checklist for getting started, publishing program case studies, textbook organization and elements, writing resources and an overview of useful tools.

download (1).jpg

© Virginia Tech


Virginia Tech’s Guide for Authors

A fantastic collection of resources for faculty who are considering publishing an open textbook or sharing open educational resources.