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September - Dual-Delivery
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The aim of the subject is to familiarise students with a range of approaches useful for researching social work practice. In this subject “practice” is defined broadly to encompass policy and organizational practice as well as practice with individuals, groups and communities.
Social work research methods are used in all aspects of social work practice from describing and attempting to understand the issues with which, and the people with whom we work, to establishing the effectiveness of what we do. There is increasingly an emphasis on evidence-based practice, which necessitates an ability to evaluate and use research evidence to inform practice. Social workers move in increasing numbers and earlier in their careers into roles requiring them to initiate as well as participate in practice based research. The organizations in which social workers work are increasingly promoting a culture of practice research in an attempt to plan and evaluate service delivery in a reflective and thoughtful way.
The lectures and seminars will present a range of practice research issues, broadly mirroring the research process in the field. They will also offer examples and identify opportunities for practice research and the challenges confronting practitioners in undertaking it.
Intended learning outcomes
At the completion of this course students should be able to:
- draw on relevant secondary research to understand the context of social work practice;
- approach research literature in an informed and critical way as a basis for evidence based practice;
- formulate research questions arising from social work practice situations including those concerning social policy and program development;
- develop a research design and a beginning understanding of implementing the design through appropriate data collection and analysis methods;
- be aware of ethical issues involved in social work research;
- be aware of processes for engaging service users or consumers in social work research; and
- be competent in evaluating research evidence as a basis for practice.
On completion of this subject students should be able to:
- critically analyse texts and practices
- understand recent developments in social work contexts of practice
- link theory to practice
- competently communicate in ways relevant to both academic and practice contexts
- undertake independent research
Last updated: 8 May 2021