module specification

SW4008 - Social Context for Social Work (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Social Context for Social Work
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 300
180 hours Guided independent study
120 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Portfolio
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Thursday Morning

Module summary

This module provides an introduction to social theories, social constructs and social policy to enable students to contextualise social work practice 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 social work practice
  • 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 social work 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 social work practice
  5. Locate, retrieve and evaluate literature and on-line educational resources relevant to social work 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 assessment in week two. Two summative assessments one in week 7 and the second in week 28.


Banyard, K. (2010) The Equality Illusion: The Truth about Women and Men Today: London: Faber and Faber
Cunningham, J. and Cunningham, S. (2012) Social Policy and Social Work: An Introduction. Exeter: Learning Matters / Sage.
Fook J & Gardner F [Eds] (2012) Using Critical Reflection in Health and Social Care: A Case Study-Based Introduction, Routledge
Giddens, A & Sutton, P.W. (2013) Sociology (7th edition), Oxford: Polity
Glasby J (2012) Understanding Health &Social Care, Bristol: Policy 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.
Scriven, A. & Garman, S. (2007)  Public Health Social Context & Action  Maidenhead: OUP McGraw Hill
Siegrist J & Marmot M [Eds] (2006) Social Inequalities in Health, Oxford University Press, Oxford
Somerville, P. (2011) Understanding Community. Bristol: Policy Press
Teater, B & Baldwin, M (2012) Social Work in the Community: Making a Difference. Bristol: Policy Press
Thompson, N (2011) Promoting equality: working with diversity and difference. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan
Walt, G. (2004) Health policy: An introduction to process and power. London, Zed Books.
Walter, N (2010) Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism: Virago Press
Whittaker, A. (2012) Research Skills for Social Work. Exeter: Learning Matters/ Sage.
Wilkinson, R and Pickett, K (2010) The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone Harmondsworth: Penguin Books

Bochel, H. Bochel, C. Page, R & Sykes, R. (2009) Social Policy: Themes, Issues & Debates. Harlow: Pearson Education.
Cree, V.  (2010) Sociology for Social Workers & Probation Officers. New York: Routledge
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
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
International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Social research
Social Work Now