module specification

SW6P01 - Research and Evaluation Skills for Social Work (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Research and Evaluation Skills for Social Work
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 300
192 hours Guided independent study
108 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Project 100%   Project
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Monday Afternoon

Module summary

This module re-visits research and evaluation methods and their relevance to social work practice contexts, culminating in the completion of a substantive student led project. This is a core module for Social Work students. It builds on earlier core modules that address research and ethical issues at levels 4 and 5. Students will have scope to develop further their critical analytical skills, engage with the research process and undertake a substantive exploration of a relevant subject and with a view to consolidating transferable skills for future employment.

Module aims

- To provide social work students with an understanding of approaches to research and evaluation
- To enable students to engage with research methods and findings related to social work
- To enable students to integrate and apply the skills and knowledge base underpinning social work education in a sustained piece of independent academic work (Project)


- The role of research within social work practice, evidence-based practice, and developing ‘research mindedness’
- Understanding research and evaluation processes
- Forms of research: Exploratory, explanatory, descriptive, experimental, action-research
- Evaluation of social research
- Skills for retrieving information from electronic and other academic sources and appraising sources
- Effective research design: quantitative/qualitative; formulating research questions, hypotheses and proposals; sampling; data-collection; constructing literature reviews
- Practical issues of undertaking research
- The role of the supervisor
- Organising data and analysis
- Presentation of research findings
- Common pitfalls in research
- Ethical research & exploring sensitive topics
- Anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive research approaches
- Dealing with limitations, biases, reflection in research
Disseminating and publishing research

Learning and teaching

  • Lectures
  • Multi-disciplinary small group learning
  • Case-study analysis
  • Interactive workshops: collaborative problem-based learning
  • Weblearn, video materials & other online educational content
  • Individual and group supervision

Learning outcomes

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

  1. Appraise the research process and the contribution of research and evaluation informing social work practice
  2. Formulate a project proposal
  3. Design a study where the use of methodology and methods selected are justified
  4. Search and appraise the academic literature, organising data and evidence
  5. Produce a fluent and accurately written project for the social work practice context, applying theories, constructing organised lines of argument leading to conclusions and reflecting critically on the process of learning

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to break down the research process and milestones for the production of the project in manageable stages. This enables students to consolidate their knowledge of research concepts and processes and develop confidence in testing out new skills. At the same time students will be progressing towards production of the final project relevant to social work practice, In using a series of formative assessments which are developed further and assessed summatively: Project title and introduction (500 words) (LO1); Aims and objectives and methodology section (1000 words)(LO3); Project proposal to a template (1600 words) (LO2); and the research project (6000 words) (LO 4,5).


Bell, J. (2010) Doing your research project: a guide for first-time researchers in education, health and social science. 5th Ed. Maidenhead : McGraw-Hill, Open University Press
Bryman, A. (2008) Social Research Methods. 3rd Ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Gomm, R. (2008) Social research methodology: a critical introduction. 2nd Ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
May, T (2011) Social Research: Issues, Methods and Process. 4th Ed. Maidenhead: Open University Press
Neuman, W. (2007) Basics of social research: qualitative and quantitative approaches. London: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon
Nazroo, J. (ed.) (2006) Health and social research in multiethnic societies. London: Routledge.
Patton, M. (2002) Qualitative research and evaluation methods. 3rd Ed. London: Sage
Punch, K.F. (2005) Introduction to social research: quantitative and qualitative approaches. 2nd Ed. London: Sage
Sapsford, R. (2006) Survey Research. 2nd Ed. London: Sage.
Sarantakos, S (2005) Social Research. 3rd Ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Williams, M. (2003) Making sense of social research. London: Sage

On-line Resources
Sociological Research Online:
Social Research Update:

E Books
Aveyard, H. (2010) Doing a literature review in health and social care: a practical guide. 2nd Ed. Maidenhead : McGraw-Hill/Open University Press
Denscombe, M. (2010) Ground rules for social research: guidelines for good practice. 2nd Ed. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Iphofen, R. Ethical decision making in social research: a practical guide. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Reardon, D. (2006) Doing your undergraduate project. London: Sage.
Sheppard, M. (2004) Appraising and using social research in the human services: an introduction for social work and health professionals. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

E Journals
Current Research Journal of Social Sciences
Evaluation Review: A Journal of Applied Social Research
Journal of International Social Research