SOCWK490-19C (TGA)

Social Work Decision Making Research Project

45 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences
Social Work


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Paper Description

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SOCWK490 students plan, undertake, and report on a supervised research project on social work decision making. Students critically consider the place of evidence in making choices about appropriate and effective decisions in social work practice.

Students also attend SOCWK401 lectures to attain a research-based approach to support social work decision making in practice. The teaching and learning intention is to increase understanding of current research and examine, evaluate and disseminate “evidence” for its socio-economic and cultural context and, ultimately, to transfer learning from published material to daily social work practice.

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Paper Structure

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SOCWK490 is a self-directed, supervised course of study. Each student is allocated a supervisor with whom they meet regularly throughout their project. Three workshops are arranged at the beginning of the paper to introduce students to the paper content and expectations, refresh students on research methodologies and learn about the School of Social Sciences process for ethics approval for research projects. Dates for these workshops are negotiated with the students and workshop presenters.

In addition SOCWK490 students attend SOCWK401 classes which are taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and guest lectures. SOCWK401 and SOCWK490 papers are supported through separate Moodle pages and students need to engage with both Moodle pages to access readings, participate in discussion forums, access lectures and submit their assignments. The four hours each week will normally begin with karakia and panui, followed by lecture and tutorial.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Design and undertake a supervised research project, taking into account research methodology and contemporary theory
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  • Critically review literature, including any relevant meta-analyses, for evidence cognisant with social work values, to support and guide social work decision making to benefit clients in a field or scope of social or community work practice
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  • Critically analyse, synthesise, and report findings with appropriate reference to the literature and theory
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  • Generate and evaluate ideas, and develop and support their own logical arguments
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  • Effectively share and disseminate knowledge
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  • Demonstrate an increased theoretical understanding of the importance of research findings and the innovative ways these can be incorporated into social work intervention strategies
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  • Demonstrate increased confidence to undertake and apply evidence-based research findings to social work decision making and practice
    Linked to the following assessments:
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  • Students are required to complete and submit two pieces of internal assessment for this paper and may also take the quiz which is worth 10%.
  • The quiz will be taken at the start of SOCWK401 lecture 3 in class time.
  • All assessments are structured to assess the learning outcomes and are designed to determine your ability to apply social work concepts and theoretical frameworks, as well as, to develop critical thinking and knowledge retention through a research proposal, a piece of research and a quiz.
  • The three assessments build on one another, and the two written assessments must be submitted. Students who fail to submit the compulsory assessments, and if no other provisions have been made under the policy on special consideration for missed assessment, will receive an IC grade.
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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Assessment 1: Quiz
15 Mar 2019
9:00 AM
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
2. Assessment 2: Research proposal (3000 words)
6 May 2019
No set time
  • Email: Lecturer
3. Assessment 3: Research report (12000 words)
12 Jul 2019
No set time
  • Email: Lecturer
  • Hand-in: Department Office
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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There are two required texts for this paper. The required texts are available in the library as a desk copy and also as Ebrary texts so can be accessed on-line through the Waikato catalogue or Waikato Library Search.

  1. Gray, M., Plath, D., & Webb, S. (2009). Evidence-based social work. A critical stance. New York, NY: Routledge.
  2. Pack, M., & Cargill, J. (2015). Evidence discovery and assessment in social work practice. Hershey, PA: IGI Global

Additional texts and readings are also listed later in this document. Many readings or a link to the reading sources will be available on Moodle on a weekly basis corresponding to each lecture topic.

Students are expected to read the prescribed readings listed on Moodle before each class to prepare for the lecture.

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Recommended Readings

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Required readings will be listed weekly on the SOCWK401 Moodle page to which SOCWK490 students will be given access.
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Online Support

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Moodle online support

Moodle will be used as an online learning platform for this paper. Moodle can be accessed from All course related information will be managed through Moodle. Students can contact the Lecturer via email or by using the ‘ask your lecturer’ forum available on Moodle if you think that your enquiry will be useful for other students as well.

Lecture notes may not be available on Moodle before lectures; however students can usually download lecture notes from Moodle within 24 hours of the lecture. Students are advised that reading these notes is not a substitute for attending the lectures and taking one’s own notes. The provision of material from guest speaker presentations is at the discretion of the speaker.

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  • The workload for this paper is 450 hours (45 points). This paper has 48 hours of class contact time.
  • The four hours each week will normally begin with karakia and panui, followed by a lecture and tutorial. Breaks and activities will be dispersed throughout with approximately two hours of tutorial.
  • Successful completion of the course will require approximately 400 hours for study and assignment preparation, supervision, and attending specific research workshops.
  • Students will attend regular supervision with their lecturer or by negotiation with another suitable academic as they develop their research proposal and carry out their research
  • Students are required to attend an introductory workshop, date negotiable with the students
  • Students will also be required to attend workshops on the research process and ethics approval process, date negotiable with the students
  • Students are expected to attend all SOCWK401 lectures/tutorials
  • Students are expected to actively participate in SOCWK401 and SOCWK490 class activities
  • Students are expected to complete the SOCWK401 weekly readings in order to come prepared for class discussion on the readings
  • Students are expected to attend the SOCWK401 oral presentations on the final day of lectures and additional time to complete the presentations will be required due to student numbers
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Linkages to Other Papers

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Students enrolled in SOCWK490 will also attend the SOCWK401 lectures.

Candidates who have completed 480 points towards the degree of Bachelor of Social Work, including all compulsory papers at 100, 200, 300 and 400 levels, and including paper SOCWK490, are eligible for consideration for the award of honours. The degree of Bachelor of Social Work may be awarded with First Class Honours, or Second Class Honours (first division), or Second Class Honours (second division) or without Honours. If awarded, the level of honours will be determined on the basis of candidates’ grades in 400 level papers. Students wishing to be considered for the award of Honours must include SOCWK490 in their programme of study.

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Prerequisite papers: Completion of Years 1, 2 and 3 of the BSW specified programme with a minimum A grade point average in five of the 200 and 300 level papers, including at least three SOCWK or SOCW-coded papers and SSRP202 or SSRES200.




Restricted papers: SOCW301, SOCW401, SOCWK401 and SOCW490

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