These modules are for those who wish to develop the necessary skills and understanding to carry out a range of different types of research in social work. The approach is inter and multi-disciplinary, with social work and sociology the main base disciplines. We also cover methods and techniques traditionally associated with other social science disciplines. We concentrate on real life concerns and on field, rather than laboratory, studies. We give specific attention to the issues and sensitivities in carrying out evaluation research.
The course is designed to provide training in general research methods for those wishing to undertake a research degree to MPhil or PhD.
The course is modular.
Compulsory modules for all awards:
-Social Research Methods
This module provides a core for the pathway by developing your understanding of the whole research/enquiry process, including how to design, carry out and write up social research.
-Introduction to Qualitative and Quantitative Data Analysis
This module critically examines the appropriate use of techniques of data analysis from qualitative and quantitative traditions. It is intended to enhance and refresh awareness of data analytical strategies and develop practical skills using appropriate computer packages.
-Debates in Social Work
Throughout the module social work will be located in its changing historical, political and organisational contexts. The key debates will include: citizenship, exclusion, disadvantage, rights, social justice, inequality, freedom, need, risk and empowerment, research management, research governance, research ethics.
Compulsory modules for those seeking MSc or PgDip:
-Philosophy of Social Research and Research Design
-This module covers general philosophical and methodological issues in the social sciences and introduces a range of strategies and techniques for designing research.
-Evaluation, Policy and Practice
-This module covers the relationship between evaluation and research, and a range of models and approaches to the evaluation of programmes, services, innovations, interventions etc. There is a particular emphasis on the difficulties and sensitivities of carrying out evaluative research.
-Statistical Analysis of Research Data
-The module examines how to communicate effectively with a statistician on matters regarding the analysis of a substantial data set, use a major statistical package (SPSS) to handle a substantial data set, reconcile discrepancies, using a blend of elementary and advanced statistical methods, and report on the analysis.
-Qualitative Analysis of Data
-Guided reading is used to orientate students to the general problems of analysis and enable them to identify the major issues of the application of the analysis and the choice of form of analysis. Students will carry out a qualitative analysis of a provided set of transcripts with the option to support this with computer software.
-Compulsory module for those seeking MSc:
Up to 16,000 words describing a project undertaken by the student on a social work topic which involves empirical methods of data collection and analysis. The approach adopted can be qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods combining both.
Plus one option for all awards. For the PgCert this may include one of the compulsory modules listed above.
Option modules are available covering different aspects of research. They are largely resource based with substantial use of exercises and are primarily focused on skill development. They include:
All modules are currently subject to review.
These awards are aimed principally at those seeking training for postgraduate research in social work. However practitioners may also use their new skills to broaden their career options.