SOCW09002 2019 Social Work Theory to Practice

General Details

Full Title
Social Work Theory to Practice
Transcript Title
Social Work Theory to Practice
100 %
Subject Area
SOCW - Social Work
SOCS - Social Sciences
09 - NFQ Level 9
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2019 - Full Academic Year 2019-20
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Susan Flynn, Brenda Feeney, Breda McTaggart
Programme Membership
SG_WSOCI_M09 202000 Master of Arts in Social Work

This module is designed to introduce students to key social work theories, methods and ethical concepts that inform social work practice including Crisis Intervention, Working with Involuntary Clients and a Systemic Approach to social work practice. In addition, students will also work towards achieving the standards of proficiency required for professional social work practice. The module will focus on the importance of developing a critical understanding of social work processes, including models and methods of assessment, the application of theory in complex social work cases and recognition of social work intervention as a theoretically informed activity. Students will be expected to critically analyse these theories and methods and apply this knowledge to practice contexts. The module will also address community engagement and social work as an anti-oppressive 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;


Critically analyse the role of the social worker in contemporary practice and articulate key ethical concepts that inform practice. (Domain 1.1a; 1.1b; 1.1c; 1.1g; 1.1h; 1.2a; 1.2b; 1.2d; 1.4d; 1.5a; 1.5b; 1.6a; 1.6b; 1.6d; 1.6e; 1.7a; 1.8a; 2.1a; 3.2c; 4.1b; 4.1f; 5.1a; 6.1a; 6.1d; 6.1g; 6.2c; 6.2d; 6.3c)         


Gain a critical understanding of theories of social work that focus on social and individual levels, and that account for different cultures, the life course, and populations that experience marginalisation, stigma, discrimination and oppression(Domain 1.1a; 1.1b; 1.1c; 1.2a; 1.2b; 1.2d; 1.4d; 1.5a; 1.5b; 1.6c; 1.6d; 1.6e; 2.1b; 2.1c; 3.1a; 3.1f; 3.1g; 3.2c; 4.1c; 4.1f; 5.1a; 5.1d; 5.3d; 5.3e; 5.5a; 5.6b; 5.8e; 6.1a; 6.1b; 6.1d; 6.1f; 6.1g; 6.2c; 6.3c)                   


Critically evaluate various social work theories and practice approaches as well as their suitability to different case scenarios. (Domain 1.1a; 1.1c; 1.2a; 1.2b; 1.2d; 1.4d; 1.5a;1.5b;1.6c; 1.6d; 1.6e; 3.1a; 3.1g; 3.2b; 3.2c; 4.1c; 4.1f; 5.1a; 5.1b;  5.1d; 5.3d; 5.3e; 5.5a; 5.6b; 5.8e; 6.1a; 6.1b; 6.1d; 6.1f; 6.1g; 6.2c; 6.2d; 6.3b; 6.3c; 6.3d)           


Critically analyse theoretical assumptions underpinning community work and identify strategies for facilitating participation in diverse minority and community groups. (Domain 1.1c; 1.2d; 1.4d; 1.5a;1.5b;1.6d; 1.6e; 2.1b;  3.2c; 4.1f; 5.1a; 5.3d; 5.5a; 6.1a; 6.1d; 6.1f; 6.1g; 6.2c; 6.3c; 6.3d)           


Apply and evaluate the process of critical thinking and reflection and its importance in social work practice. (Domain 1.1a; 1.1c; 1.4d; 1.5a; 1.5b; 1.6a;1.6b; 1.6c; 1.6d; 1.6e; 1.8a; 1.8c;  2.1a; 4.1a; 4.1b;  4.1c; 4.1f; 5.1a, 5.1d; 5.3d; 5.3e; 5.8e; 5.9e; 6.1a; 6.1d; 6.2c; 6.2e; 6.3c)           

Teaching and Learning Strategies

 Students will attend weekly lecture and tutorial sessions for a total of one 3 hour period. Lectures will introduce students to the history and evolution of social work practice in Ireland, theories for practice in the context of relevant policy and legislation and encourage the development of reflective practice. Tutorials will be participatory and encourage students to critically examine and evaluate learning in the context of practice.

A variety of teaching and learning techniques will be incorporated to include working in smaller groups, case studies, role-play, virtual learning environments, service user and practitioner testimonials and guest lectures from practising social workers from a wide range of statutory, voluntary and private sectors will be invited to contribute to the students learning journey.

Students will be required to actively engage in self-directed study and are encouraged to engage in learning that underpins and exceeds module objectives. The virtual learning environment will be used to provide access to online resources, lecture notes and external links to further learning.

Module Assessment Strategies

Essay 40%

An essay demonstrating a critical understanding of social work as a theoretically informed practice in a chosen social work setting

Exam 60% end of semester.


This modules assessment allows for assessment of CORU Standards of Proficiency as follows:


Essay (Domain 1.1a; 1.1c; 1.2a; 1.2b; 1.2d;1.4d; 1.5a; 1.5b; 1.6a;1.6c; 1.6d;1.6e; 1.8a; 2.1a; 3.2c; 4.1c; 4.1f; 5.1a; 5.1b;  5.1d; 5.3d; 5.6b; 5.8d; 5.9e; 6.1a; 6.1d; 6.2c; 6.2d; 6.3c)         


Exam (Domain 1.1a; 1.1b; 1.1c; 1.1g;1.1h; 1.2a; 1.2b;1.2d; 1.4d; 1.5a; 1.5b; 1.6a; 1.6b; 1.6c; 1.6d; 1.6e; 1.7a; 1.8a; 1.8c; 2.1a; 2.1b; 2.1c; 3.1a; 3.1f; 3.1g; 3.2b; 3.2c;4.1a; 4.1b; 4.1c; 4.1f; 5.1a; 5.1d; 5.3d; 5.3e; 5.5a; 5.8d; 5.8e; 6.1a; 6.1b;  6.1d; 6.1f; 6.1g;  6.2c; 6.2e; 6.3b; 6.3c; 6.3d)             

Repeat Assessments

Repeat assessment will be based on failed components and will be confirmed at Exam Boards.

Indicative Syllabus

LO1 Introduction to social work

  • Students will explore the influence of historical developments of social work in the context of examining contemporary social work practice in Ireland
  • Introduction to an examination of a variety of social work roles and social work processes in context, identifying key ethical concepts that inform practice.
  • Exploration of how marginalization, stigma, discrimination and oppression impact on the individual, group and community.
  • Students will be introduced to and develop skills in critical thinking and reflective practice.
  • Students will be facilitated in critically examining their own values in the context of social work values and ethics.
  • The regulatory system, which requires the registration of social workers in Ireland will also be introduced and explored.

LO2 Gain a critical understanding of theories of social work that focus on social and individual levels, and that account for different cultures, the life course, and populations that experience marginalisation, stigma, discrimination and oppression.

Students will critically analyse the significance of an individual’s social location, for example their race, ethnicity, socio-economic status or experience of disability, using theories of social work.

Students will consider through use of theory how an individual’s positioning in wider society and their position in the life-course may relate to experiences of marginalisation, stigma, discrimination and oppression.

Student’s will explore the role of culture in influencing an individual’s well-being, as well as how culture interacts with notions of equality and social justice.   


LO3 Social Work Theory - Practice Approaches for Intervention

Theory in respect of social work and counselling practice approaches that will be covered include:

  • Working with Involuntary Clients
  • Task Centred Approach to Casework
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Person Centred Therapy/Approach
  • Cognitive Behaviour Approaches
  • Solution Focused Social Work
  • Systems Theory
  • Strengths-Based Social Work Practice

Students will be facilitated in understanding the link between social work theory and practice. This section complements learning particularly related to group work, community work and social work skills. This section of the module is also closely linked to the Social Work Skills and Competencies module which is run concurrently.

LO4 Community Development and Macro Social Work Practice

Critical assessment of community development and macro social work practice theories, models and approaches such as Ecological Systems Theory, Communication Theory and Community Development Theory. Students will focus on analysing interventions with communities and groups that experience oppression, discrimination and exclusion in the context of access to and use of social services.

LO5 Reflective practice and use of self in social work practice

Students will explore the importance of self-awareness and the ability to critically reflect on practice to facilitate learning and professional development. Students will be encouraged to self-explore using a reflective practice approach, considering Rolfe’s, Gibbs and Kolb’s Models of Reflective Practice. This learning is closely linked to the preparation for placement module.

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
40 %
End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
60 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Assignment Continuous Assessment Assignment 40 % Week 6 1,2,3

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Exam Final Exam Closed Book Exam 60 % End of Semester 1,2,3,4,5

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Group Learning Flat Classroom Lecture and Seminar 3 Weekly 3.00
Independent Learning Not Specified Independent Learning 4.5 Weekly 4.50
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 3.00 Hours

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

Adams, R., Dominelli, L. & Payne, M. (Eds.) (2002) Social Work: themes, issues and critical debate. 2nd Edition. Hampshire: Palgrave.

Christie, A., Featherstone, B., Quin, S. and Walsh, T. (2015) Social Work in Ireland: Change and Continuities. Palgrave

Corey, G. (2005) Theory and Practice of Counselling and Psychotherapy. 7th Edition. Belmont. CA: Brooks/Coleā€Thompson Learning.

Coulshed, V. & Orme, J. (2012) Social Work Practice: An Introduction. 5th ed. Palgrave.

Davies, M. (ed) (2002) The Blackwell Companion to Social Work. 2nd edition. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Dominelli, L. (2002) Anti-Oppressive Social Work theory and Practice, 1st Edition, Palgrave macmillan

Forde, C. and Lynch, L. (2015) Social Work and Community Development, Palgrave macmillan

Milner, J., O’Byrne, P. (2002) Assessment in Social Work. 2nd Edition. Hampshire: Palgrave

Skehill, C. (2011) History of Social Work in the Republic of Ireland. OUP.

Trotter, C. (2006) Working with Involuntary Clients, London, Sage.

Journal Resources


URL Resources


Other Resources


Additional Information