SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 60.00
ECTS Credit Points 30.00
Module Code MML522784
Module Leader Naomi Cochrane
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Social Work
  • A (September start)-B (January start)

Summary of Content

The 'Practising Research Mindedness' module requires independent work on an original research study related to social work. In recent years there have been moves to embed 'research mindedness' and 'research literacy' into social work research governance, education, training and practice. The constituent elements of research mindedness are:- -360b7 a faculty for critical reflection informed by knowledge and research; -360b7 an ability to use research to inform practice which counters unfair discrimination, racism, poverty, disadvantage and injustice, consistent with core social work values; b7 an understanding of the process of research and the use of research to theorise practice. (Harrison, C. and Humphreys, C., 1997). Practising Research Mindedness will enhance analytical, problem solving and critical writing skills and will provide the opportunity to apply the principles of research in order to make a contribution to the existing body of knowledge in the chosen area of interest. Whilst allowing students to demonstrate a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used, the dissertation aims to enable students to develop creativity and originality in the application of knowledge and theory. Students are required to explore an aspect of professional social work as directed by, and mutually agreed with, the dissertation Module Leader. This can be done by one of three approaches:- (i) traditional methods of data collection and empirical analysis (ii) meta-analysis of the existing research (iii) critical review a defined field of research to identify contestable issues and debates Students will focus their research on a particular issue or theme, such as a type of intervention, service users, carers, service providers, professional identity, organisational or inter-agency context, poverty, gender differences. It is expected that students will carry out a systematic investigation or review, employing a design consistent with the study under focus. As indicated, this may involve a critical appraisal of 'desktop' information, including literature, research studies, and policy documents and, where appropriate, providing an analysis of empirical data obtained from key participants such as service users, carers, managers and frontline workers. Students will be required to integrate levels of enquiry and to draw out the implications for social work issues, service delivery and practice. The dissertation module builds upon the teaching and assessment employed in previous modules and in particular that of Researching in Social Work


Initial workshops will be used to explore and review the following themes: -360b7 The place of theorising in developing research design -360b7 The research context, process and research design b7 Systematic literature reviews and their role in research b7 Managing, analysing and critically interpreting data These sessions will be used to set the context of the dissertation and will be complemented by a further four sessions where the students have the opportunity to present their work in progress and enter into discussions related to the research process. Practising in a research minded way means that students will consider issues such as surmounting obstacles in the research process or ethical issues related to their area of study. A dissertation supervisor will ensure appropriate direction towards independent study but will highlight areas for further study or investigation that would be beneficial

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students should be able to:1. Systematically identify and critically appraise the relevant literature related to the area of interest2. Critically utilize a range of search and storage strategies3. Prepare a concise statement defining the nature and parameters of their research4. Demonstrate and describe the implementation of their research study or critical review in a logical and organised manner5. Identify and resolve any procedural problems associated with their research study or review6. Produce, in standard format, a comprehensive, focused dissertation study demonstrating an objective evaluation of their research or report7. Produce work of a standard that would be considered a suitable draft for publication8. Evaluate the significance of their research or review and assess its potential contribution, with reference to the existing body of knowledge in the relevant area9. Identify appropriate areas for dissemination and further study.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Using a series of seminars/ workshops, and individual tutorials students will receive appropriate guidance to undertake this process. Using individual and group presentations students will be facilitated in the progress of their work and receive peer and Tutor feedback. The emphasis will however be on the student's independent approach to the dissertation.

Indicative Reading

Indicative Reading Core Reading Carey, M., (2013). The Social Work Dissertation 2nd ed . Maidenhead: Open University Press. Gray, M. & Webb, S.A. (2013) Social Work Theories and Methods, 2nd ed. Palgrave, London Allaine, C. and Malkki. L. (2007). Improvising Theory: Process and Temporality in Ethnographic Fieldwork . The University of Chicago Press. This text is useful as it tracks the fieldwork conversations between a doctoral student and her supervisor. Supplementary Reading Aveyard, H., (2007). Doing a Literature Review in health and Social Care: A Practical Guide . Maidenhead: Open University Press Bell, J., (2005). Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First Time Researchers in Education and Social Science . 4th ed. Buckingham: Open University Press Biggam, J., (2011). Succeeding with your Master's Dissertation , 2nd ed. Maidenhead: Open University Press Brett Davies, M., (2007) Doing a Successful Research Project: Using Qualitative or Quantitative Methods . Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan Bryman, A., (2004) Social Research Methods .2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press Flick, U., (2006). An Introduction to qualitative research 3rd ed. London: Sage Gilbert, N., (2008) Researching Social Life 3rd ed. London: Sage McLaughlin, H., (2007). Understanding Social Work Research . London: Sage Smith, R., (2009). Doing Social Work Research . Maidenhead: Open University Press Whittaker, A., (2009). Research Skills for Social Work . Exeter: Learning Matters

Transferrable Skills

Analytical, argumentative and interpretive skills Capacity to think critically and divergently Problem solving, decision making and negotiating skills Time and workload management Organisational and presentation skills Communication and report writing Using information technology Research design and application Independent study

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Seminars (FT) 10.00
Independent Learning (FT) 540.00
Assessment (FT) 50.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 100.00 50% Dissertation 12000 words