The teaching and learning of communication skills in social work education

Reith-Hall, E. ORCID: 0000-0002-7939-0835 and Montgomery, P., 2022. The teaching and learning of communication skills in social work education. Research on Social Work Practice. ISSN 1049-7315

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Purpose: This article presents a systematic review of research into the teaching and learning of communication skills in social work education.

Methods: We conducted a systematic review, adhering to the Cochrane Handbook of Systematic Reviews for Interventions and PRISMA reporting guidelines for systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

Results: Sixteen records reporting on fifteen studies met the eligibility criteria. Studies consisted of randomised trials and quasi-experimental designs. Outcome measures included knowledge, attitudes and skills. Significant heterogeneity meant a narrative synthesis rather than meta-analysis was undertaken. Systematic communication skills training supports the development of students’ communication skills including the demonstration of expressed empathy and interviewing skills.

Discussion: The existing body of literature is limited but promising. Researchers conducting studies into communication skills training should seek to carry out robust and rigorous outcomes-focused studies. Further investigation into the theoretical underpinnings of the educational interventions and the roles played by key stakeholders is also required.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Research on Social Work Practice
Creators: Reith-Hall, E. and Montgomery, P.
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Date: 24 April 2022
ISSN: 1049-7315
Rights: © The Author(s) 2022. article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 27 Apr 2022 08:49
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2022 08:49

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