Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Social Welfare


Professor Willie F. Tolliver


Professor Harriet Goodman

Committee Members

Professor Harriet Goodman

Professor Martha Bragin

Professor Kathryn Krase

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Education Law | Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility | Social Welfare Law | Social Work


Social Welfare Policy, Legal and Social Work Education, Comparative Ethics, Child Welfare Advocacy, Content Analysis, Collaboration


Collaboration is a central issue in the interdisciplinary education of social work and law students. Joint JD/MSW degrees have the potential to promote collaboration between practitioners of law and social work in areas where their practices converge. The 1969 recommendations by the National Conference of Lawyers and Social Workers (NCLSW) to establish these joint degree programs assumed that collaborative learning would occur within them. However, prior research has not investigated whether or not this occurs. The purpose of this dissertation was to determine whether evidence of the intent to promote collaboration was present in written materials associated with joint degree programs, specifically field work manuals.

The methods used in this study involved adapting the RELATUS Natural Language Environment program to conduct a semantic content analysis (SCA) of the clinic/field education manuals. In employing these methods, pertinent words and phrases in the manuals were disambiguated to determine their lexical and/or relational configurations. The objective was to ascertain the semantic equivalence of collaboration in the text, as opposed to merely counting the occurrence of the term “collaboration” in the texts.

Although none of the contents of the programs specifically stated “collaboration between lawyers and social workers” in their field education manuals, collaborative environments existed because students from the two disciplines had opportunities to interact with each other. Consequently, because “collaboration” was seldom mentioned in the field manuals, a linguistic approach was used to determine the semantics of “collaboration” in the clinic/field education manuals explored for this study. In effect, if “collaboration” does occur in these programs, it would reside in the implicit curriculum.