module specification

SW4003 - Social Contexts for Professional Practice (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Social Contexts for Professional Practice
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
Total study hours 300
120 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
180 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Portfolio
Running in 2017/18 No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module provides an introduction to social theories, social constructs and social policy to enable students to contextualise their professional studies within a broad social science framework. The investigation of the ‘social’ will provide students with an introduction to social science research as a basis for evidence informed practice.

Module aims

The module aims are to:
- introduce students to theories, contexts and policies within the social sciences.
- introduce key methods of investigation and research within the social sciences
- examine the rationale for using social science knowledge as evidence to inform professional practice in a range of professional contexts
- introduce students to the different value bases in social sciences
- equip students with key academic and inter-personal skills 


• Investigating social issues: an introduction to social science research and evidence informed practice
• Exploring the concept of social discourse
• Sociological theories of race, ethnicity, gender, age, class, disability & sexual orientation
• Sociological understandings of inclusion ,power dynamics and oppression in professional contexts
• Structural approaches to understanding social problems
• Integrative approaches to the social science imagination
• Social constructs and contexts
• Social policy: its evolution, implementation and impact on people, professions and interagency working
• Globalisation and social policy
• Comparative social policy perspectives including European and International contexts
• Sociological and social policy perspectives on equality, diversity, inclusion and anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practice


Learning and teaching

Students’ learning will be developed through their engagement with a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, seminars, small group learning, case-study analysis, personal reflection and reflective writing, inter-active workshops: collaborative problem-based learning, Weblearn, video materials & other online educational content.


Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

1. Explain how social theories inform professional practice
2. Discuss social welfare policy, its evolution, implementation and impact on people, professions and interagency working
3. Explain how social research informs and develops social theory and policy
4. Explain how values inform social theory and social policy and professional practice
5. Locate, retrieve and evaluate literature and on-line educational resources relevant to professional contexts
6. Present research-based information using information technology
7. Practise oral and written communication skills and inter-personal skills including giving, receiving and acting on constructive feedback

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy will include formative and summative assessments and will comprise a working portfolio that is submitted summatively at the end of the module. A series of formative assessments, a essay plan (600 words) (week 4) a group presentation and reflective diary (1000 words) (week 16) case study analysis (1500) (week 22), will provide opportunities for students to develop knowledge and understanding of the research process and theoretical underpinnings for practice towards meeting the learning outcomes. Rehearsal is ongoing and students can chart their own progress in their portfolios e.g. reflective diary and through the discrete exercises. The portfolio (LO1-7) consists of a Case study analysis (LO1,2,4,) Reflective diary (LO 7) and Essay (LO3,5,6)


Abbott, P. Wallace, C & Tyler, M (2005) An Introduction to Sociology: Feminist Perspectives. London: Routledge
Banyard, K. (2010) The Equality Illusion: The Truth about Women and Men Today: London:Faber and Faber
Cunningham J. & Cunningham S. (2008) Sociology and Social Work. Exeter: Learning Matters.
Freire,P. (1993) Pedagogy of the Oppressed(2nd ed) Lonworking with diversity and differencedon Penguin
Griffin,C. (1993) Representations of Youth. Polity Press
Lister, R (2010) Understanding Theories and Concepts in Social Policy. Bristol: Policy Press
McLaughlin, K. (2008) Social Work, Politics & Society. Bristol: Policy Press
Moule, P and Hek , G (2011) Making sense of research : an introduction for health and social care practitioners. London: Sage.
Price, V. & Simpson, G. (2007) Transforming Society? Social Work and Sociology. Bristol: Policy Press.
Roche, J. Tucker, S. Thompson, R. Flynn, R. (2004) Youth in SocietyLondon :Sage
Thompson, N (2011) Promoting equality: working with diversity and difference. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan
Wallace, C. & Cross, M(eds) (1990) Youth in Transition: The Sociology of Youth and Youth Policy, London: Falmer Press

Bochel, H. Bochel, C. Page, R & Sykes, R. (2009) Social Policy: Themes, Issues & Debates. Harlow: Pearson Education.
Denscombe, M (2010) Ground rules for social research: guidelines for good practice. Maidenhead: Open University Press
Dickens, J. (2010) Social Work & Social Policy: an introduction. London: Routledge
Cree, V.  (2010) Sociology for Social Workers & Probation Officers. New York: Routledge
Sheppard, M (2004) Appraising and using social research in the human services: an introduction for social work and health professionals. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

On-line resources

British Journal of Sociology
Critical Social Policy
Health Policy
International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Journal of Public Health Policy
Social research
Social Work Now
Youth Work Now