Aim of this study. The problem of poverty, especially in rural S.A ., formed the basis for the questions and hypotheses posed in this study. Poverty stricken communities, with the accompanying suffering, the immobilizing effect of poverty and the present climate of urgent changes in S.A., were also apparent in Wartburg (study area). The problem was to initiate development in such a way that the chances of failure and therefore the wasting of already scarce resources is minimized. The manner in which development is initiated and what are viewed as desirable elements of development should culminate into achieving self-sustaining development in the long term. It became clear therefore that a complete data base needs to be established in order to initiate such a development process. In this study the aim was to investigate the role which research plays in the process of development. Method. This study can be divided into two sections, viz an investigation into the theoretical basis for achieving a self-sustaining process of development and how research should be done within such a process. Secondly, the practical application of such a theoretical basis was tested and forms the empirical section of this study. The first section was completed by undertaking a literature study. The conditions set for the development process guided the researcher increasingly to a holistic perspective, Community Development and the state of the art of Social Work Practice. The second part of this study was done through empirical research. The questionnaire method was utilized where structured interviews were conducted by properly trained field workers who were of similar cultural background as the community involved in the survey. The data was processed by using the B.M.D.P. programme and recorded in section B of this report. From section A and B of this report conclusions were drawn regarding the development process, the role research has in this process and the task of the Social Work Profession in this regard. Findings. From the theory it seemed that the state of the art regarding social Work Practice upholds a holistic perspective and views community practice and development as an important function within this perspective. It seems that a unitary approach to Social Work is increasingly becoming a reality in the pursuit of a holistic perspective as well as by stressing the importance of community practice. The integrated approach to Social Work Practice seems to collaborate with these views. The role of research is equally important to social Work Practice as it is to Community Development and should be viewed as an integral part of the Social Work Process/Practice. The empirical section of this study is a clear example of what can be achieved by a properly planned and executed research project which forms an integral part of a development process. Together with the community valuable data were drawn from the data base. These conclusions were directly employed to identify priorities and in planning specific projects. Conclusions. This study concludes, firstly, that Social Work Practice has an obvious task in the field of community development. This profession can contribute to a large extent toward making development more human and to acknowledge the importance of both man and his environment when considering development. The study also showed that research is an integral part of a development process, especially where the aim is that of a perpetuating, self-sustaining development process. In short, it seems that the Socio-economic research meets the requirements set by the aforementioned development process, but that refining seems necessary in order to make it more effective and useful as an instrument for initiating such a process of development as discussed in the above paragraphs.