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Unit information: Research Methods in Social Work in 2021/22

Unit name Research Methods in Social Work
Unit code SPOLM0057
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Turner
Open unit status Not open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit aims to acquaint students with the principles and ethics of social work research and a critical understanding of the application of qualitative and quantitative research methods, including mixed methods. Students will also develop their skills and critical consumers of the research literature and be able to undertake a systematic search and review of research literature.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to:

  1. Identify and analyse critically the quality and use of research in social work and policy.
  2. Identify commonly arising errors in research,
  3. Search the literature and critically appraise and synthesise primary and secondary research.
  4. Demonstrate a critical understanding of research methods, and key concepts and practical and ethical issues in different research designs.
  5. Pose answerable research questions and design an empirical study using the methods most suited to answering them

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through blended learning involiving a combination of syncronic and asyncronic sessions, including online lectures, study groups and self-directed exercises

Workshops and consultation on developing a research proposal will also take place.

Assessment Information

A summative assessment comprising a 1500 word structured dissertation outline proposal (ILOs 1-5) (100%)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. SPOLM0057).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.