Skip to main content

Unit information: Social Work Dissertation in 2021/22

Unit name Social Work Dissertation
Unit code SPOLM0036
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Symonds
Open unit status Not open

Research Methods



School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The dissertation is based on the design and conduct of an empirical research project of relevance to policy and practice in social work and social care. It may involve qualitative and/or quantitative social research methods. Secondary analyses of research data and systematic reviews of the research literature may also employed.

Intended learning outcomes

The dissertation project aims to support students in developing knowledge and skills required to carry out independent empirical research of relevance to practice and policy in social work and social care.

On successful completion of the Unit students will be able to

i) Carry out a systematic search of relevant literature and critically evaluate and synthesise research that others have done.

ii) Integrate theoretical perspectives alongside empirical research findings

iii) Formulate research questions relevant to a topic of concern to practice and policy in social work and social care

iv) Select and justify the use appropriate research methods

v) Demonstrate an awareness of ethical issues and can work within ethical constraints

vi) Secure access to research opportunities and collect and analyse data using appropriate methods

vii) Communicate research results clearly and effectively

viii) Discuss the findings using a logical and consistent argument and examining them in relation to the theoretical frameworks and previous research

ix) Appreciate the limitations of whatever research methodology is adopted

x) Identify learning about the reasons for success and/or failure in completing the project and lessons for future research on the topic.

xi) Identify the policy and practice implications of the research.

Teaching details

Online materials including guidance, examples, and ethics materials, will be provided on Blackboard to prepare students for completing a dissertation project. Individual supervision by an expert supervisor in person or by email/phone/Skype (notional 8 hours).

Discussion Board on Blackboard.

Assessment Details

Dissertation (10,000 to 15,000 words) with a plain English summary for dissemination to agencies and research participants.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. SPOLM0036).