|Outcomes Assessed||1,2 and 3|
|Task Description||Research proposal to be submitted during Semester 2. The proposal will be a means of assessing your learning throughout the module and address Learning Outcomes 1, 2 and 3.|
|Upon successful completion of this module, you will be able to demonstrate achievement of the following learning outcomes.|
|1||a) demonstrate your knowledge about research methods for social work;
b) demonstrate your ability to critically review literature;
c) demonstrate your ability to select a project, determine the most suitable methods and consider the ethical issues;
d) demonstrate your ability to communicate the purpose of the study and what will be involved to participants to ensure informed consent.
|2||a) demonstrate awareness of epistemological, theoretical and ethical issues underpinning research;
b) demonstrate awareness of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods designs and their strengths and limitations;
c) more specifically, demonstrate your ability to carry out a short literature review; develop research questions; design a practice-based study; consider sampling and access issues; select the most appropriate methods to answer your questions; consider the ethical issues; provide participant information sheets and consent forms appropriate to your study and subjects.
|3||a) demonstrate your knowledge of research methods for Social Work;
b) design a research project proposal relevant to Social Work practice.
|Specific Support for the Module|
|The assignment – developing a research proposal – may be an unfamiliar piece of work. Taking a systematic approach is advised. Please note, we expect all parts of the assessment, including the appendices, to be your own original work and not derived from texts that you may have consulted. The following suggestions may help.
The introduction should explain the proposed topic of research and why it is important. This sets up the project– both for you and the reader. It is a short, but vital section. The introduction should not include presentation of substantive material. That comes later in the substantive sections.
The introduction should do two things:
a. A) Briefly outline the research area, and your particular topic, and why this is important in
b. theoretical, empirical, policy, or practice terms. Compelling statistics may be used to set the context.
c. B) Set out the plan of the proposal, and refer to sections as appropriate
2. Literature review
The literature review essentially explores what others have done and, in the light of this, what you are proposing to do now. In the review, structure your findings and guide the reader through the research on this topic, and show that you know the area. You will want to capture the reader’s interest immediately and strongly. You could organize the literature and existing research by themes Remember, the literature review is not just a summary of the research articles but a critique of empirical studies that pertain to your own proposed study. Do not use direct quotes from the articles but instead organize and synthesize the findings or ideas yourself. Write this in clear statements that indicate your understanding of the studies. Use your own words. Conclude with what the gaps in knowledge are and how that relates to your proposed study. Outline your research aims and questions. It is important that you clearly define your research aim and research questions which are an important component of the assignment.
3. Methodology and Research Design
The methodology and research design element should demonstrate how you would undertake the research Remember to keep your discussion relevant to the topic. The section should be focussed around your research, not research in general. Using subsections such as the following may be helpful.
Detail the epistemological approach and the methods to be employed. Justify your decisions in relation to the aim and research questions you are trying to answer.
How are you going to access information or participants to take part in your research?
How are you going to locate your data? For example will it be through a survey, individual and/or focus group interviews?
Detail how you will analyse your collected data.
You might propose to pilot the research – for example, to test out interview schedules or establish some indicative data to inform the research process. Not all research projects require piloting so this section may not be required for the assignment.
Ethical concerns should address informed consent, confidentiality and its limitations, dealing with sensitive topics and research with vulnerable subjects as necessary. Please consider both procedural ethics as well as ethics in practice. Please also refer to the Participant Information Sheet and Consent Form included in your Appendices as necessary.
Detail how you would plan to disseminate the findings to influence policy and practice.
Indicate any problems that you anticipate and how you would attempt to overcome them. For example, you might have knowledge about good and bad times of the day/week/year during which an organization could facilitate your research. If your sampling method did not yield good returns, what steps would you take to increase the sample? You may, if you wish, include information which evaluates the likely effect of your own presence in the research process.
This should just be a brief summary of the above.
You should include three appendices (not included in the word count):
Appendix 1: Literature Search Strategy
Include a document that records your literature search strategy. Begin with a few paragraphs on the literature search strategy you employed. Provide the criteria for inclusion which should include the time period covered, the type of literature included and the selected language. The databases used and keywords employed plus the journals consulted should also be added. You can use a table format to record your search strategy. It is critical that your literature searches are completed and documented early on in the semester.
Appendix 2: Participant Information Sheet
This should present information about the proposal to your potential research participants. These sheets should always indicate at the top the funder, the research title and aim as well as the researcher’s name and contact details (use pseudonyms and mock details for the latter).
It should also answer the following questions:
· What is the research about? What is its purpose?
· Why have I been asked to participate?
· What will it involve?
· What are the benefits and risks of being involved?
· What happens to the information I provide?
· What happens if I change my mind?
· If I have any questions, who should I ask?
Remember that if you have different sets of participants such as social workers and parents , then you will need to devise sheets appropriate for each group in terms of explanation and language.
Appendix 3: Consent Form
The consent form is for potential participants. This should include asking for specific consent for participating in the research, confirmation that the participant has read and understood the information sheet, agrees to the recording of the interview (if appropriate), agrees to the use of material, understands that s/he can withdraw at any time and any other things specific to your research.
Whilst appendices are not included in the word count, they are significant components of the proposal. The appendices will be instrumental when judging the proposal and in awarding the overall mark.
Word length – a guide regarding structure
Broadly speaking, you need to demonstrate your skills in reviewing the literature and designing an appropriate study. These two areas should be the central focus of your assignment and of a similar length.
References and appendices are not included in the word length. The following offers a suggestion in terms of the overall structure of your writing:
· Introduction: 250 words
· Literature Review: 1250 words
· Methodology: 1250 words
· Conclusion: 250 words
It is very important that you read through your assignment carefully before submission as students lose marks due to inadequate referencing, poor punctuation, missing words and careless presentation.