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MSc/ Diploma in Social Science Research Methods (Social Work)

Social Work Pathway Information

Postgraduate social work students are supervised by academic staff that have extensive experience of funded research for research councils, local and national government and voluntary sector bodies, as well as experience of research collaboration with local and national social welfare organisations and excellent links with local and national policy-makers and practitioners. These staff members are actively involved in disseminating social work research via publications in books, academic and practitioner journals and presentations to conferences.

The social work pathway through the SSRM is suitable for two groups of people:

  • Those people, especially social work practitioners, who want to develop their understanding of and skills in social work research
  • Those planning to undertake a PhD on a social work topic

Course Description

Students will be expected to join one or more of the research groups in the School according to their research interests (childhood; crime and justice; health and society; risk, interaction and organisation; and sexualities and gender). This provides the opportunity to make connections with academics and other post graduate research students. Students will also be invited to attend the social work guest lecture series and occasional social work seminars and conferences offered by the School.

For the taught component, students will be required to complete six 20-credit modules (5 core research modules and 1 pathway module). 

In all modules students have the opportunity to engage with literature and research relevant to their Pathway (Social Work).

Social Work Module

Advanced Social Work Practice 1 or 2

Autumn term (weekend module):

Foundations in Social ResearchAutumn term: The module introduces philosophical/theoretical concepts alongside practical issues of research method choice and design. 
Qualitative Research MethodsAutumn & Spring: This main aim of the module is to provide knowledge, training and practice in the collection, analysis and representation of qualitative data.
Quantitative Research MethodsAutumn & Spring: This module introduces students to the systematic collection and analysis of quantitative data, including a broad range of commonly used statistical techniques.
Research ApplicationsSpring term: This module critically explores the various applications of research to different settings. Students tailor their learning by selecting from a menu of options.
Core Competencies for Postgraduate Social ScientistsAutumn & Spring: This module introduces students to essential postgraduate social science survival skills. The module ends with an end-of-year Student Conference.

On successful completion of the taught component, students prepare a dissertation (of a maximum 20,000 words) to be submitted by mid-September. The 60-credit dissertation component requires independent study. Dissertation topics are chosen by the students in agreement with their supervisors. 

Recent SSRM Social Work thesis titles include: 

  • The co-ordination of multi-agency resettlement strategies For young people leaving secure accommodation 
  • Getting the measure of children and young people’s participation 
  • Constructing Resilience: How looked after children make sense of their personal resilience
  •  Emergence of the trans-racial adoptive subject in contemporary social work discourse 
  • A critical exploration of different models of disability and their implications for social work research 
  • Perception of safety in the home environment
Student Testimonial
  • Social Work Quote