The doctoral program in social work has traditionally been viewed as encompassing a predominantly research-oriented, knowledge-building emphasis. It is acknowledged that if social workers are to be prepared to competently understand, utilize, participate in, and produce practice-relevant empirical studies, research must constitute an integral component of the educational process at the doctoral level. The rapid increase in doctoral programs, heightened confusion over the function of the Ph.D. and DSW, current trends to reconceptualize the structure of social work education, and the obvious consequences posed by the progressive erosion of master's-level research curricula, this is an area strongly in need of immediate attention.

Few attempts have been made to systematically analyze the development and experiences of social work doctoral training and few (if any) studies have been published that focus on the research component of doctoral programs in social work.1 Thus, the purpose of this article is to present the results of an empirically-based research study that investigates the research objectives, research content, and educational objectives of doctoral programs in social work.

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