RSCH09025 2017 Social Work Research Project

General Details

Full Title
Social Work Research Project
Transcript Title
Research Project
100 %
Subject Area
RSCH - Research
SOCS - Social Sciences
09 - NFQ Level 9
10 - 10 Credits
Start Term
2017 - Full Academic Year 2017-18
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Niamh Gallagher, Martha Doyle, Brenda Feeney, Breda McTaggart
Programme Membership
SG_WSOWO_M09 201800 Master of Arts in Social Work SG_WSOCI_M09 202000 Master of Arts in Social Work SG_WSOCI_M09 000000 Master of Arts in Social Work

The research dissertation is an extended piece of written work carried out by individual students which allow students to focus on a specialist area interest associated with the field of social work. Building on previous learning students get the opportunity to consolidate knowledge and demonstrate their skills, knowledge and expertise gathered throughout their programme of study, the objective of which is to provide an independent and critical appraisal of an issue. This work can be presented in a number of different formats.

  • Empirical Data. The theoretical framework of a subject area is developed by a review of the literature, the empirical evidence is collected to answer a specific question or develop a specific point within the chosen subject area.
  • Case study: A single in-depth case study is undertaken using innovative methodologies and methods to examine the single case in sufficient detail.
  • Practice-Based Research Study. The research field is in practice and therefore the study will be conducted by the practitioner in practice, with the investigation of a problem, development of an action (eg. project) to address the problem and dissemination of findings to fellow practitioners being of importance.

The dissertation (in whichever format) is intended to support the student in making connections between research, policy, theory and practice.

This module supports the achievement of CORU Standards of Proficiency as follows:

  • Domain 1 Professional autonomy and accountability
  • Domain 2 Interpersonal and professional relationships
  • Domain 3 Effective communication
  • Domain 4 Personal and professional development
  • Domain 5 Provision of quality services
  • Domain 6 Knowledge, understanding and skills

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Demonstrate skills to assess the effectiveness of any research approach identified.(Domain 1: 1a, 1b, 1c, 1e, 2e; Domain 2: 1c; Domain: 3: 1b; Domain 4: 1l; Domain 5: 1a, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e; Domain 6: 1c).


Critique available literature on a chosen topic and draw inferences from this body of knowledge. (Domain 1: 5a; Domain 3: 1b; Domain 4: 1l; Domain 5: 1a, 3b, 8c; Domain 6: 1c).


Apply a range of standard and specialised research tools and techniques of enquiry. (Domain 1: 1a, 3d, 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d; Domain 3: 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d 1f ; Domain 4: 1l; Domain 5: 1a, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e, 4a, 8c ,8f;  Domain 6:1c).


Carry out research in an ethical manner. ( Domain 1: 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e,  1g, 1h,  2e, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d, 5a; Domain 2: 1c: Domain 4: 1a, 1f, 1l; Domain 5: 3e, 7a; Domain 6: 1c).


Argue to the validity of the process, and outcome of the research undertaken. (Domain 1: 1c; Domain 3: 1b,  1c, 1f, 2c; Domain 4: 1l; Domain 5: 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e, 8f; Domain 6:1c).


Produce a research project in a format appropriate to a level 9 award.(Domain 1: 1c; 4,a, 4b, 4c; Domain 3: 1b, 1c, 2c;  Domain 5:1a, 3a, 3b, 3c ,3d, 3e 4a, 7a, 8f; Domain 6:1c).

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Students will avail of one to one supervision with a designated supervisor. This will involve 1-to-1, one-hour weekly meetings. The manner in which is organised and delivered will be negotiated between the student and supervisor.

Supervision will provide support, guidance and ongoing review and feedback of work under development and therefore attendance and participation in this supervision is a key requirement of this project.

Module Assessment Strategies

This research project will be assessed both verbally and with a written submission.

Students in their oral presentation will be expected to defend their research project and process to an audience of their peers.

Written submission can either be a 10,000-word traditional thesis, alternatively, students can decide to develop a paper for submission for peer-reviewed publication. The student must have targeted a specific journal and have considered the journal requirements and produced work to this requirement.

The project must adhere to guidance and code of ethics of the institute.

This module's assessment facilitates the assessment of CORU standards and proficiencies as follows:

Written submission: Domain: 1: 1a, 1.1b, 1.1c,1.1d,1.1e, 1.1g,  1.1h, 1.2e,  1.3a, 1.3b, 1.3c, 1.3d, 1.3e, 1.4a, 1.4b, 1.4c ,1.4d, 1.5a; 2:1c; 3:1a, 3.1b, 3.1c, 3.1d, 3.2c; 4 .1a  4.1f, 4.1l;  5:1a, 5.3a, 5.3b, 5.3c, 5.3d, 5.3e , 5.4a, 5.7a, 5.8c, 5.8f, 6.1a, 6:1c.

Oral Presentation: Domain: 1.1b, 1.1c, 1.1f, 1.1g; 1.2c; 3: 1b, 3.1c, 3.1f,  3.2c , 4: 1l; 5:3a, 5.3b, 5.3c, 5.3d, 5.3e, 5.8f,  6.1a, 6:1c.

Repeat Assessments

Repeat requirements will be decided at Exam Boards but will be most likely consist of both oral and written submission. As per Marks and Standards, any repeat submission will be capped at 40%.

Module Dependencies

RSCH09026 201700 Research Methods and Evaluation

Indicative Syllabus

LO1 Demonstrate skills to assess the effectiveness of any research approach identified.

Students will demonstrate and defend why they have chosen a particular topic, research process and format.

LO2 Critique available literature on a chosen topic and draw inferences from this body of knowledge.

Students are expected to critically review the key literature and relevant to the field and inform the topic undertaken. They are expected to demonstrate forms of knowledge and how different knowledge can influence the format of information presented e.g. policy document, legislative document, and peer review publication, whilst not ignoring the importance of different sources to a research area. They are expected to present and argue literature which clearly demonstrates increased knowledge and expertise in their fields, and where appropriate informs the development of further stages of empirical work.

LO3 Demonstrate a range of standard and specialised research tools and techniques of enquiry.

Methods, tools and techniques are dependent on the project but must demonstrate a clear relevancy to the research topic chosen. Students must be able to gather data, analyse and evaluate data appropriately and discuss the findings from their project in the context of the literature within their specific field.

LO4 Carry out research in an ethical manner.

In adherence to IT Sligo’s Code of Practice for the Quality Assurance of Postgraduate Research students must ensure ethical practice in all stages of the research process.

LO5 Argue to the validity of the process, and outcome of the research undertaken.

Students are expected to be able to defend the authenticity and quality of the research process and outcomes of their project.

LO6 Produce a research project in a format appropriate to level 9 award.

Students completed work will demonstrate the knowledge, skills and competency that are required for a level nine award. It will be presented and published in a manner appropriate to this award level e.g. coherent, logical, readable.

A viva voce will be undertaken by the student, allowing them to reflect, present and defend their work to examiners. Students must demonstrate a thorough understanding of all aspects of their research project which allows questions to be answered accurately and fluently and the discussion to be extended with confidence into familiar and unfamiliar areas.

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
100 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Submission of Project Project Project 80 % Week 18 1,2,3,4,5,6
2 Viva Voce Practical Oral Exam 20 % Week 19 5,6

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Directed Learning Not Specified Research Project Supervision .5 Weekly 0.50
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 0.50 Hours

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

This is project dependant, students will be guided by a supervisor. Some suggested texts.

Alston, M. & Bowles, W. (2003) Research for Social Workers: An Introduction to Methods 2nd Edition. Routledge.

Bell, L. (2017) Research methods for social workers. Palgrave Macmillan.

Costley, C.,  Elliot G.  & Gibb, C. (2010) Approaches to enquiry for insider-researchers. London: Sage. Hart., E and Bond, M, (1995) Action Research for Health and Social Care: A Guide to Practice by Open University Press, Buckingham.

Hardwick, L. & Worsley, A. (2010) Doing Social Work Research. London: Sage Publications.

Mason, J. (2002) Qualitative researching. Thousand Oaks [CA]: Sage.

May, T. (2004) Social research: Issues, methods and process. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Thomas, G. (2013) How to do your Research Project: A Guide for Students in Education and Applied Social Sciences. London: Sage Publications.

URL Resources

Students will be guided by the supervisor as this is project dependent.

Other Resources

British Journal of Social Work

International Journal of Social Research Methodology

Journal of Evidence-Informed Social Work

Qualitative Social Work

Social Work Research


Additional Information

Students are expected to maintain minutes of supervision meetings and present to the supervisor for review at each session.

Research must be undertaken in an ethical manner at all times.

Other information.

While this programme is NOT approved by the professional regulatory body at this time, it has taken cognisance of Social Work Knowledge, Skills and Standards of Proficiency in the programme development. Consequently, modules, whilst ensuing HETAC level 9 learning in the field relevant to the award, have also endeavoured to integrate these within student learning.