SOCWORK 724 : Applied Social Work Research Methods

Education and Social Work

2023 Semester Two (1235) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Consolidates critical awareness of the role of research and knowledge in a specialised field of social work practice, leading to the development of an independent research proposal. Integrates advanced knowledge and critical reflection in understanding the nature and application of a range of applied research methods and traditions and links to social work practice.

Course Overview

This course is intended to offer an introduction to social research methods and processes, and to the relationship between research and professional practice. You will be introduced to a range of research approaches and applied methods; canvass the ethics and politics involved in social work research; trace the steps inherent in the research process; and design a social work research project proposal. 

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Articulate knowledgeably the process to conduct research in a professional context. (Capability 1.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 4.2 and 5.1)
  2. Demonstrate the ability to locate, appraise and report on existing research and current literature as it informs evidence-based practice. (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1 and 4.2)
  3. Demonstr confidence and skill in the selection of research strategies and methods to design a research project. (Capability 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 4.2, 5.1, 6.1 and 6.2)
  4. Assess ethical considerations, guidelines and / or requirements of conducting research within a professional context. (Capability 1.2, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 4.2, 5.1 and 6.1)
  5. Articulate effectively a proposed project and its ethical implications in a research proposal. (Capability 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 4.2, 5.1 and 6.1)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Coursework - developing a research proposal 100% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Coursework - developing a research proposal

to pass this course students must submit all assessments and achieve at least 50% for the overall course

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 30 point course. On average, students are expected to spend 20 hours per week in each 30 point course that they are enrolled in.

A typical semester including the study/exam period totals approximately 15 weeks. This means that for this course you should expect to commit 24 hours to direct contact via on-campus lectures/workshops/tutorials.

You can also reasonably expect to commit approximately 240-260 hours to independent learning. This may include reading (and more reading), note-taking, face-to-face and/or online discussion, writing, engaging in collaborative group work, problem solving, undertaking practical tasks, reflecting on learning, accessing learning and study resources, and assignment, test and exam preparation and completion.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience & Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities to complete components of the course.
Lectures may be available as recordings, depending on the capabilities of the room. 

The course will not include live online events.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a block delivery (full day sessions weekly for 4 weeks).

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

You will find access to a basic, generic research methods book useful. We are using Alston and Bowles' 4th edition of Research for social workers: however, there are many methods texts available and you may even have some on your bookshelf – albeit a little dusty! If not, another I can recommend is Bryman, A. (2012). Social research methods. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Another book that will complement the lectures, and is regarded as a highly recommended text is Fouche, C. (2015). Practice research partnerships in social work: making a difference. Bristol: Policy Press. 

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

While the course has received very positive evaluations, the response rates over the past several years have been too low to be considered a reliable reflection of student views. Students are encouraged to offer feedback through the evaluation process.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 23/10/2022 04:48 p.m.