Research Methods for Social Work - SOCI8992

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2023 to 2024
Summer Term 7 10 (5) Jo Warner checkmark-circle


The module will serve to provide students with an overview of the scope and expectations of a social work dissertation at MA-level. We discuss the ethical challenges of doing empirical and other research on topics relevant to social work, and prepare students for carrying out an independent piece of research within a given timeframe. If the dissertation requires ethical research approval, an application will need to be submitted to the School research ethics committee.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 30
Private study hours: 70
Total study hours: 100


Compulsory to the following programmes:
MA Social Work – compulsory module in Stage 1
MA Social Work (Step Up to Social Work) – compulsory module in Stage 2

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
This module is assesses on a pass/fail basis, and comprises dissertation project plan (up to 2000 words) (100%).

Reassessment methods

Indicative reading

Biggam, J (2011), Succeeding with your master's dissertation, Open University Press
Flick, U., (2020), Introducing Research Methodology: Thinking Your Way Through Your Research Project. Sage.
Hart, C (2005), Doing your master's dissertation, Sage
Kara, H., (2018), Research ethics in the real world: Euro-Western and Indigenous perspectives. Policy Press.
Levin, P., (2012), Excellent dissertations! McGraw-Hill Education (UK). (available online)
Miller, T., Birch, M., Mauthner, M. and Jessop, J. eds., (2012), Ethics in qualitative research. Sage.
Walliman, N., (2019), Your Research Project: Designing, Planning, and Getting Started. SAGE.

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Develop original ideas on complex social work topics into focussed research questions that relate to an identified academic literature, aligned to an appropriate research design;
2. Critically reflect on the ethical issues raised by social research in the area of social work, and autonomously develop research designs that are both ethical in a broader, critical sense and which (more narrowly) meet the requirements of research ethics governance;
3. Critically engage with the methodological choices made in published research studies based on a systematic understanding of appropriate research techniques.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Manage their time, prioritise workloads and manage stress as well taking responsibility for their learning and professional development;
2. Solve problems that are common in social research;
3. Understand and appropriately respond to feedback.


  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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