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Research Dissertation (Social Work) - SPY00074M

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Martin Webber
  • Credit value: 60 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24
  • Notes: This is an independent study module

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2023-24 to Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

This module will provide you with all the skills you need to complete a dissertation on a social work related topic of your choice. You will have the option of either carrying out your own piece of original research or of conducting a systematic literature review as the basis of your dissertation.

The module will be taught through a series of practical and interactive workshops. You will also be supported in your research and writing by your dissertation supervisor, a member of the social work staff who will be assigned to you. They will help you to think through your project and give you feedback on your progress.

Specifically, this module aims to enable students to:

  • Understand why research is used in social work practice

  • Understand how to undertake research which informs social work practice

  • Understand how to write a research-based dissertation

  • Understand how to apply research findings to social work practice.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be able to:

  • Develop a research question of relevance to social work practice;

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of appropriate research methodologies to answer different research questions of relevance to social work practice;

  • Undertake a full, or systematic, literature review, including an appraisal of the quality of research evidence;

  • Design a research project or systematic review which is feasible, robust and of relevance to social work practice;

  • Undertake a research project or systematic review of relevance to social work practice;

  • Analyse quantitative, qualitative or secondary data (including the findings of other studies);

  • Report their research findings and critically evaluate their implications for social work practice.

The module will help students to develop and to integrate Professional Capabilities in all nine of the domains at the qualifying level.


Task Length % of module mark
Graduate/Postgraduate Dissertation
Research Dissertation (Social Work)
N/A 100

Special assessment rules




Module feedback

Feedback will be given in accordance with the University Policy on feedback in the Guide to Assessment as well as in line with the School policy.

Indicative reading

  • Aveyard, H. (2014) Doing a Literature Review in Health and Social Care: A Practical Guide, 3rd ed. Maidenhead: Open University Press McGraw Hill.

  • Bryman, A. (2016). Social research methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Carey, L. (2013). The Social Work Dissertation: Using Smallscale Qualitative Methodology.

  • Gilbert, N., & Stoneman, P. (Eds.). (2015). Researching social life. London: Sage.

  • Petticrew, M. & Roberts, H. (2005). Systematic Reviews in the Social Sciences : A Practical Guide.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.