Research for Social Work Practice - SOCI6730

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 6 15 (7.5) Jo Warner checkmark-circle


The overall aim of the module is to equip students to become 'critical consumers' of research as practitioners by providing them with the knowledge and understanding necessary to evaluate research appropriately and apply findings appropriately in practice.
The module provides an introduction to a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods including different types of interview (narrative, biographical, in-depth, semi-structured, structured) ethnography, focus groups, surveys and questionnaires, experimental and quasi-experimental research, randomised controlled trials, documentary and textual analysis, systematic reviews and meta-analysis, and approaches that involves mixing methods.
The module also includes brief introductions to the techniques involved in analysing both qualitative and quantitative data. It also includes consideration of ethical issues relating to research.
Each week students are provided with research articles that are compulsory reading for discussion in seminars. Each reading provides an example of each method and its potential for addressing research questions relevant for social work practice


Contact hours

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


BA (Hons) Social Work

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Coursework – assignment (3000 words) – 100%

Reassessment methods


Indicative reading

Alston, M and Bowles, W (2003) Research for Social Workers: An Introduction to Methods, London: Routledge
Bryman A (2004) 2nd Ed. Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Evans, T and Hardy, M (2010) Evidence and Knowledge for Practice, Cambridge: Polity Press
Gomm R, Needham G & Bullman A (eds) (2006). Evaluating Research in Health & Social Care, London: Sage Publications
Padgett, K (2008) 2nd Ed. Qualitative Methods in Social Work Research, London: Sage
Shaw, I., Briar-Lawson, K., Orme, J and Ruckdeschel, R (2010) The Sage Handbook of Social Work Research, London: Sage
Sheppard, M (2004) Appraising and Using Social Research in the Human Services: An Introduction for Social Work and Health Professionals, London: J

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 Possess in depth knowledge of the range of both qualitative and quantitative methods available to researchers and appreciation of their
respective strengths and weaknesses in addressing particular kinds of research questions
8.2 Possess the ability to deploy techniques of analysis and enquiry in order to critically evaluate research strategies, research findings, and
the reliability and validity of information in primary sources (e.g. refereed research articles)
8.3 Possess understanding of how to make appropriate use of research in decision-making and in the evaluation of outcomes in social work
practice, including formulating judgements based on the explicit use of research evidence
8.4 Analyse and interpret tables of data, graphs or charts containing statistical data relating to social work and critically reflect upon their
significance and implications for policy and practice.
8.5 Have a critical understanding of the application to practice of social work research and research from a range of other disciplines and
subjects areas including sociology, social policy, psychology, health
8.6 Appreciate the importance of research in providing 'explanations of the links between definitional processes contributing to social
differences (for example, social class, gender, ethnic differences, age, sexuality and religious belief) to the problems of inequality and
differential need faced by service users' (QAA 2008: 8)
8.7 Possess a systematic understanding of the complex social, ethical and political context in which social work research, and other research
relevant to social work practice, takes place
8.8 Demonstrate the potential for the acquisition of research skills in order to build a repertoire of research-based practice (QAA 2008: 10)

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1 Organise information clearly and coherently in written form
9.2 Analyse and interpret statistical and numerical data in the form of tables, charts and/or graphs
9.3 Manage their own learning and deploy time management skills
9.4 Think critically and consider alternative perspectives in analysing and solving problems


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 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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