Research Methods and Dissertation - SOCI8990

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Year 7 60 (30) Jo Warner checkmark-circle


The outcomes of the dissertation are threefold:

Firstly, to allow students to express themselves as practitioners, and 'critical consumers' of research, having previously been provided with the knowledge and understanding necessary to evaluate research appropriately. Secondly, an opportunity to independently carry out an in-depth inquiry to investigate a research question(s) of their choice, and produce a coherent review of the relevant literature, a logical discussion, and clearly communicated set of conclusions. Thirdly, students apply themselves as 'research-minded' practitioners with an ongoing capacity to undertake research in practice settings and/or take a lead role in supervising others in such work.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 32
Private study hours: 568
Total study hours: 600


Social Work MA (compulsory stage 2 module)

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Dissertation (12,000 words) – 100%.

Reassessment methods

Indicative reading

Alston, M and Bowles, W (2003) Research for Social Workers: An Introduction to Methods London: Routledge
Bryman A (2015) 5th Ed. Social Research Methods. Oxford University Press
Humphries, B (2008), Social Work Research for Social Justice, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan
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
Teater, B., Devaney, J., Forrester, F., Scourfield, J. and Carpenter, J. (2016) Quantitative Research Methods for Social Work: Making Research Count, Red Globe Press

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 demonstrate advanced knowledge of the range of both qualitative and quantitative research techniques and a capacity for independently evaluating their respective strengths and weaknesses in addressing particular kinds of research question;
8.2 Undertake critical analysis of research-based concepts drawn from social work and related disciplines, understanding their distinctive epistemological status and the contribution of these concepts to the knowledge base of social work practice;
8.3 Demonstrate capacity for the critical evaluation 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";
8.5 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);
8.6 Apply research skills, commensurate with master's level study, in order to evaluate, inform and advance social work practice, including a practical understanding of how to use research-based evidence in forming judgements and making decisions;
8.7 Show originality in the critical analysis of literature relevant to a chosen topic area, including consideration of research from both qualitative and quantitative paradigms and its relevance for practice;
8.8 Formulate a research question; produce a research proposal, and plan and execute a piece of independent research using primary and/or secondary data sources;
8.9 Demonstrate 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.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
9.1 Undertake self-directed and independent study and apply learning to the production of a single piece of original research;


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  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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