module specification

SW7051 - Evaluating Research (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Evaluating Research
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 10
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 100
34 hours Guided independent study
66 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Mini Literature Review (2,000 words)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Monday Afternoon

Module summary

This module examines research and evaluation methods and their relevance to professional practice contexts. It is intended to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of research methodology and methods. This will contribute to their ability to use evidence based approaches to inform their practice. This module provides the underpinning learning for the dissertation.

Module aims

This module provides opportunities for students to:

  • Develop students’ understanding of different approaches to research
  • Enable students to evaluate different methodology and research methods
  • Enable students to engage critically with research evidence and how findings relate to social work
  • Facilitate students’ understanding and develop their ability to analyse the relationships between theories, research, ethics and policy and practice outcomes.


  • The role of research within professional practice, evidence-based practice, and developing ‘research mindedness’
  • Critical understanding research and evaluation processes
  • Identify and critical analyse 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

This module will be delivered using a combination of formal lectures, seminars, class-based workshop exercises in practical research issues and social work related case studies. This will enable students to develop skills in reviewing and evaluating literature.

Learning outcomes

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

(LO1) Appraise critically a range of research approaches and methods and the contribution of research
to inform social work practice. 

(LO2) Demonstrate an ability to identify and select an appropriate social work topic for enquiry. 
(LO3)  Evaluate selected literature including relevant research studies, grey literature and policy papers
related to social work.

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to help students appraise evidence and apply it to their practice. The strategy aims to consolidate their knowledge of research concepts and processes and develop their confidence in testing out new skills. It will also prepare students for their dissertation, having identified a suitable topic subject to agreement with their dissertation supervisor, building on the mini literature review.


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
Cresswell, J.W. (1994): Research Design: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches London: Sage
Denzin, N. & Lincoln Y.S. (1994): Handbook of Qualitative Research London: Sage
Gomm, R. (2008) Social research methodology: a critical introduction, 2nd Ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hinton, P. (2001) Statistics Explained: A Guide for Social Science Students, Routledge.
Levitas, R., & Guy, W. (eds) Interpreting Official Statistics, London, Routledge.
May, T (2011) Social Research: Issues, Methods and Process, 4th Ed. Maidenhead: Open University Press
Nazroo, J. (ed.) (2006) Health and social research in multiethnic societies, London: Routledge.
Moule, P. & Hek, G. (2006) Making Sense of Research: An Introduction for Health and Social Care Practitioners (3rd  edition) London: Sage
Neuman, W. (2007) Basics of social research: qualitative and quantitative approaches, London: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon
Newman, T., Moseley, A., Tierney, S. and Ellis, A. Evidence-based social work: a guide for the perplexed Lyme Regis: Russell House
Patton, M.Q. (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
Sarantakos, S (2005) Social Research. 3rd Ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Seale, C. (ed.) (1998) Research Society and Culture, London Sage
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.
Matthews, B. & Ross, L. (2010) Research methods: a practical guide for social sciences Harlow: Pearson Longman
Iphofen, R. Ethical decision making in social research: a practical guide. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
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