Chinese Social Work Students’ Attitudes toward Online Social Work Services : A Q Methodology Study

Qi WANG, Jia LI, Xiaochen ZHOU

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


During the COVID-19 pandemic in China, the emergence of online social work services has garnered the attention of scholars, particularly as social work students are the future practitioners who will be responsible for delivering these services. This Q methodology study aimed to explore the perceptions and attitudes of 39 Master of Social Work (MSW) students (76.92% female, 23.08% male, Age(mean) = 22.14, SD = 0.48) from Shanghai, China, towards online social work service delivery. Participants were asked to respond to 73 Q statements. Three distinct viewpoints emerged from the factor analysis. Viewpoint One is optimistic about the prospect, believing that online delivery mode will expand the coverage of social services. Viewpoint Two is cautious due to practical constraints, recognizing the challenges that social workers and clients may encounter when participating in online social work services. Viewpoint Three is wary of privacy and ethical risks related to online social work services. The findings suggest that more education and training may be necessary to increase students’ confidence and promote online social work services, thus increasing accessibility to services for a wider population.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Social Work Journal
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


  • MSW students
  • Online social work
  • Perception
  • Q methodology


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