What is Social Work - SOCI3120

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 4 15 (7.5) Johanna Woodcock Ross checkmark-circle


In this module students will be introduced to key aspects of the nature and contemporary context of social work, including the defining characteristics of social work, key terms in social work, and foundation concepts underpinning social work practice. Students will consider the development of social work as a profession, its socio-political location and the various roles social workers may undertake in their work and in society in general, gaining an initial awareness of the complexity and contested nature of the social work role.

Students will be introduced to the nature of problems and needs that may lead to social work support and intervention. A range of approaches to service delivery in the statutory and private and voluntary sectors will be considered and discussed.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150


BA (Hons) Social Work – compulsory module

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Assignment (3,000 words) – 100%

Reassessment methods

Indicative reading

Doel, M. (2012) Social Work: the basics. Abingdon: Routledge
Higham, P. (2006) Social Work: Introducing Professional Practice. London: Sage
Horner, N. (2018) What is Social Work? 5th Edn. Exeter: Learning Matters.
Parris, M. (2012) An Introduction to Social Work Practice: a Practical Handbook. Maidenhead: Open University Press
Thompson N (2015) Understanding Social Work 4th edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Wilson K, Ruch G, Lymbery M and Cooper A (2011) Social Work: An Introduction to Contemporary Practice. 2nd Edn. Harlow: Pearson Longman

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Identify core features of social work and relevant key concepts
8.2 Demonstrate an understanding of the roles social workers undertake and social work's socio-political location in contemporary Britain.
8.3 Demonstrate an initial understanding of the range of problems, needs and risks that may lead people who use services to have contact with social workers
8.4 Explain the main settings and sectors in which social work is delivered
8.5 Demonstrate awareness of the experience and perspectives of people who use services
8.6 Demonstrate understanding of the impact of the organisational context on social work practice

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
9.1 Demonstrate basic skills with regard to gathering, evaluating and synthesising information in a clear and coherent manner.
9.2 Demonstrate effective use of ICT skills including ICT presentation systems


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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