Abstract Submissions

SSWR 24th Annual Conference
January 15-19, 2020
Marriott Marquis, Washington, DC, USA

Call for Papers

Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality

New, Earlier Submission Deadline: Monday, April 15, 2019, 11:59 pm, Pacific Time


The Conference Planning Committee of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) invites submissions for presentations within all content areas of social work, social welfare services, and social policy.

The theme for the 2020 conference is “Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality.” This theme expands one of the Grand Challenges for Social Work, reflecting the importance of simultaneously addressing these interrelated social justice issues that adversely affect people across the world, especially those most vulnerable and marginalized in our communities. Economic inequality and its inextricable link to racial inequality must be explicitly stated as a necessary step in moving forward towards both reconciliation and justice. Historically, racism has served as the basis for the creation of economic policies and systems that both excluded and penalized solely on the basis of race. In America, the oft touted system of meritocracy falls flat in the face of scholarship on the racial wealth gap that documents how race has determined economic outcomes for both marginalized and privileged communities. Two groundbreaking works, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s seminal “The Case for Reparations” and Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow” helped propel these ideas into the modern consciousness and influenced modern activism. The Black Lives Matter movement addresses economic justice in its platform in ways reminiscent of Dr. Martin Luther King’s visionary shift from a focus on civil rights to economic inequality. In his final speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” Dr. King issued a rallying cry for people across the world to join together in pursuit of economic justice. Delivered one day before he was assassinated, his words serve as inspiration and aspiration for the next frontier of social justice. If we are to be effective leaders in Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality, it is imperative for researchers to build upon this groundwork and join modern activists in employing an intersectional approach in crafting solutions to move racial and economic justice forward.

The conference will focus on original research that has implications for practice or policy. Research abstracts are encouraged in all substantive areas, using scientifically sound qualitative and/or quantitative methodology. The research may take place in any country and at the micro, macro, or policy level. We recognize that this year’s conference theme is cross-cutting by population, problem and substantive areas, as well as methodological expertise and as a result, we encourage submissions across all Clusters as they pertain explicitly to innovations in research or related to the theme of the conference in the form of proposals for individual papers and poster presentations, symposia, roundtable discussions, and workshops. These may span various forms of research. Cluster areas are:

  • Adolescent and Youth Development
  • Aging Services and Gerontology
  • American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Global Indigenous Populations (Indigenous Cluster)
  • Child Welfare
  • Communities and Neighborhoods
  • Crime and Criminal Justice
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Health
  • Inequality, Poverty, and Social Welfare Policy
  • International Social Work and Global Issues
  • Immigrants and Refugees
  • Mental Health
  • Military Service Members, Veterans and Their Families
  • Organizations and Management
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Research Design and Measurement
  • Research on Social Work Education
  • School Social Work
  • Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
  • Social Work Practice
  • Substance Misuse and Addictive Behaviors
  • Sustainable Development, Urbanization, and Environmental Justice
  • Violence against Women and Children
  • Work and Work-Life Policies and Programs

Back to Top


Abstracts must be submitted in the following formats (see Author Submission Instructions document). Abstracts should be 500 words or less. References are not required, and if included count towards the 500 word limit. Image(s) and table(s) are not permitted in any abstract.

(1) Oral paper presentation
(2) Poster presentation
(3) Symposium of three or more papers on the same topic to be presented in the same session
(4) Roundtable
(5) Workshop

Oral paper, poster, and symposium paper abstracts should be submitted in a structured format and include the following:

  • Background and Purpose: description of the problem, study objectives, research question(s) and/or hypothesis (es).
  • Methods: study design, including a description of participants and sampling methods, data collection procedures, measures, and appropriate analytic/ statistical approach.
  • Results: specific results in summary form.
  • Conclusions and Implications: description of the main outcome(s) of the study and implications for practice, policy, or further research.

When submitting a symposium, please submit an abstract (500 words or less) for each symposium paper, along with an overall abstract (500 words or less) for the symposium session that describes the symposium theme and its importance. Preference will be given to symposia that demonstrate cohesiveness across presentations. Symposia will be accepted or rejected in total, i.e., abstracts will not be accepted independently.

Roundtable and workshop session abstracts should:

  • add to the current knowledge base in social work practice, policy, theory, and research methodology, and,
  • offer clear meaningful implications for social work research, policy and practice.

When submitting a roundtable or a workshop session, please submit an abstract of 500 words or less that describes the content and how it will be addressed.  For roundtables, describe the topics that will be addressed elaborating on viewpoints and perspectives to be discussed. The workshop session should offer training opportunities for methodology (study design, sampling, data collection, measurement, and analysis) and describe the pedagogical techniques.

Abstracts should not be based on research previously published elsewhere. Please note that only paper and poster abstracts reporting completed findings will be reviewed. We urge that studies with “findings pending” be submitted for future review after the study is complete. Peer reviews will be used to select submissions based upon technical merit and importance of findings. Please note that all abstracts are to be submitted online using the SSWR online abstract management system at https://sswr.org/.

SSWR seeks to optimize as many people participating in the conference as possible. SSWR, therefore, limits the number of roles that participants can play in the 2020 conference. There is a limit of two (2) presenting-author abstract submissions per person. This limit applies to these presentation formats: oral papers, both individual papers and papers within an organized symposium, posters, and workshops. It does not apply to co-authorship. Participants may, however, perform additional roles such as chairing an organized symposium, leading a special interest group, serving as moderator for a session of grouped oral papers, and a panelist in a round table session.

Back to Top


You DO NOT need to be a SSWR member to submit an abstract. However, if your abstract is accepted for presentation the presenter/speaker MUST be a current 2020 member and register for the conference. This requirement is applicable to oral paper and poster presenters, symposium organizers, symposium paper presenters and symposium discussants, and workshop and roundtable speakers. Co-authors are not expected to comply with this policy. Co-authors attending the conference, however, are required to register for the conference.

Back to Top


Oral Papers (individual papers and papers within a symposium) and Posters:

Please see the following links for examples of model Workshop and Roundtable abstracts. These examples are included to provide guidance to authors; however, there may be instances in which another format is preferable.

If you have any question about the Call for Papers and/or abstract submission process, please contact DeeJay Garringo, CAE, program director,  at dj@sswr.org or 703-352-7797, ext. 2.

Back to Top


Abstracts of individual research papers may be submitted for a 20-minute oral presentation. A minimum of four (4) to a maximum of five (5) individual papers will be grouped together based on a single theme and similar content within a 90-minute concurrent session. A moderator will facilitate an extended period of open discussion following the 3-4 oral paper presentations.

When submitting an individual paper presentation, your abstract will be reviewed as an individual paper. However, authors are encouraged during the abstract submission process to indicate their willingness to present an individual poster, if your submission cannot be scheduled as an individual paper in a session with 3 other individual papers due to the limitations of meeting time and space.


  • Title
  • Research Method/Type
  • Cluster/Topical Area
  • Authors: there is no minimum/maximum of how many individuals may be listed as authors. However, only one (1) individual/author may be designated as the presenting author and all other authors are will be listed as co-authors. Please note that the role of “presenting author” may be designated to one of the authors, e.g. first author, second author, third author, etc.
  • An abstract of 500-word or less

Posters allow presenters to discuss their research with interested colleagues during a 90-minute block of time. SSWR uses ePoster technology. This technology, which is already common at health conferences, increases the possibilities for presenters to communicate research findings in exciting and dynamic forms. Electronic monitors that look like big screen televisions will enable an abbreviated slide or video presentation. Thus there is no longer a need to get a large poster printed a head of time and then lugged through airports on the way to the conference. Instead, poster presentations can now be transported on flash drives just like oral presentations. ePoster sessions are  held concurrent with paper presentations.


  • Title
  • Research Method/Type
  • Cluster/Topical Area
  • Authors: there is no minimum/maximum of how many individuals may be listed as authors. However, only one (1) individual/author may be designated as the presenting author and all other authors are will be listed as co-authors. Please note that the role of “presenting author” may be designated to one of the authors, e.g. first author, second author, third author, etc.
  • An abstract of 500-word or less

A paper symposium provides for multiple oral research presentations to be made on a single theme involving a brief introduction by the organizer, a minimum of 3 to a maximum of 5 presenters, with one discussant (encouraged, though optional) and open discussion from the floor. The concurrent session is 90-minutes. Presenters have 15 minutes to present the core content and the discussant has 15 minutes to comment upon the presentations with 30 minutes reserved for interactive discussion, facilitated by the organizer, between the presenters and the session audience.


  • Title of the overall symposium
  • Research Method/Type of the overall symposium
  • Cluster/Topical Area of the overall symposium
  • Proposed 3-5 presentations within the symposium (see requirements in “Oral Paper Presentation” for each proposed presentation)
  • An abstract of 500-words or less that describes the overall symposium

We encourage that one person should submit all components of the symposium submission.

A roundtable submission does not present research findings, but rather addresses an area or issue of fundamental importance to the field, in a format that encourages a lively exchange of different points of views. Examples include training and funding opportunities in social work research, priorities in social work research, and advocacy for the use of scientific approaches to social work research.

The 90-minute roundtable should include a brief introduction clearly outlining the issues followed by each of the speakers elaborating on their different viewpoints and perspectives on the issue. Speakers facilitate extended open discussion with the session audience and the discussants.


  • Title of the roundtable
  • Research Method/Type of the roundtable
  • Cluster/Topical Area of the roundtable
  • Speakers: a panel of 3-5 speakers is required. Panel often include members/people outside the research community.
  • An abstract of 500-words or less that outlines the issue(s) and varying viewpoints that will be elaborated upon.

The workshops are primarily pedagogical, intended to offer training opportunities for methodology (study design, sampling, data collection, measurement, and analysis) with hands-on instruction and specific learning objectives. Past workshops have provided continuing education about an innovative or new area or methodology of import to social work practice, policy, theory, or research. The Program Committee encourages workshop proposals on any topic, as long as the workshop’s objective is to enable the audience to gain skills and knowledge that are important to social work research.

Workshop submissions will be evaluated using the following criteria: 1. The topic of the workshop adds to the current knowledge base by presenting information about an innovative or new area or methodology of import to social work practice, policy, theory, or research; 2. The pedagogical methods proposed in the submission are likely to ensure that this workshop will lead to
significant learning by the participants; and, 3. The importance of this workshop to social work practice, policy or research is clear and meaningful.


  • Title of the workshop
  • Research Method/Type of the workshop
  • Cluster/Topical Area of the workshop
  • Speakers: a panel of 3-5 speakers is required. Panel often include members/people outside the research community.
  • An abstract of 500-words or less

Back to Top

Submission Deadline: Monday, April 15, 2019, 11:59 pm, Pacific Time

We look forward to seeing you in Washington, DC!

Scroll to Top