Social work, both in the UK and internationally, has been defined as a profession that ‘promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance social justice.’ Accordingly, social work takes a variety of forms and engages with a broad range of individuals, groups and communities. The scope of social work research is equally broad and requires researchers to be aware of, and able to engage with a variety of disciplines in a range of settings, often working alongside those with different ideas of what social work and social work research are and what each is intended to achieve.
Social work research, in other words, does not simply concern the work of social workers. It may also be concerned, for example, with programmes of community development in the context of poverty or interventions to tackle domestic violence and programmes for young offenders. It may focus on the needs of a particular group, for example children with disabilities or people with severe and long term mental illness, whether or not they receive social work services. It may draw on theories and research methods from any of the social sciences, including economics, law and philosophy.
This programme is designed to build on the links between research and practice in a range of settings in developing the particular skills and capacities needed by practice-based professionals and postgraduate students interested in carrying out social work and social care research.
The programme is delivered through a combination of intensive block teaching and weekly delivery so as to be most accessible to postgraduate students, busy policy professionals and practitioners. The delivery of units on the programme is designed to allow students to accumulate credits flexibly and organise the patterns of attendance to suit their own needs and circumstances.
The structure for the MSc and Postgraduate Diploma consists of four core and two optional units. A dissertation of 10-15,000 words is required for the MSc. The Postgraduate Certificate is awarded for the successful completion of three units (two of which must be core units).
Core units -Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences -Philosophy and Research Design in the Social Sciences -Further Qualitative Methods
Optional units - You then choose two of the following units which allow you to develop specialist knowledge of the application of research methods to key areas of social work and social policy. -Further Quantitative Methods -Domestic Violence: Research, Policy and Activism* -Researching Poverty, Inequality and Social Exclusion* -Health and Social Care Research* -Researching Child and Family Welfare* -Economics of Public Policy -Global Contexts of Rights and Disability -Disabled Childhoods
The programme stresses the development of social work and social research and analysis methods, as well as substantive knowledge. In addition to careers in academia, this programme prepares students for careers as social work and care researchers and analysts, research commissioners and managers in public or private agencies or organisations, both in the UK and internationally.