Degree programme in social work at the University of Tampere is the oldest social work education and research unit in Finland. Social work is taught on the BSc and MAc levels (statuatory requirements for social work qualifications), Licentiate and PhD levels. Research is closely connected to social work education. It is also characterized by varied and close connections to professional practices and more widely to social and health care, and to the citizens’ (service users’) everyday lives and problems. This means empirical research on such topics as the institutional practices, clienthoods and effectiveness of child welfare, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and on the experiences and agencies of people living in vulnerable situations. The research makes practices, experiences and agencies visible, and analyses and reflects on them against the background of prevailing welfare policies and cultural discourses. The approach may be basic, applied, evaluative or developmental research, and is characteristically interdisciplinary. There is interface not only with other social sciences but also with the sciences of education, medicine, nursing, health care, psychology and administration. The research covers various themes and approaches, but the three following thematic research areas can be identified as having a particularly long, productive and influential history. The three thematic areas are interconnected. For instance, research on children, young people and families includes studies on institutional practices based on the ethnomethodological orientation, and research on institutional practices and interaction at the margins also discusses family issues, and research on substance abuse treatment is related to adult social work at the margins of welfare.
In addition to these areas significant research is done in some other areas, such as in communities and social work.