Research Perspectives

The details
Health and Social Care (School of)
Southend Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 13 December 2024
16 February 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA L500 Social Work,
BA L500CO Social Work,
BA L550 Social Care,
BA L550CO Social Care

Module description

This module prepares the student for independent study by consolidating and extending the knowledge and skills developed in the second year module on methodologies

Module aims

This module prepares the student for independent study by consolidating and extending the knowledge and skills developed in the second year module on methodologies.

The module presents an overview of the range of perspectives in contemporary research in the social sciences. This will allow students to locate research objectives and methodologies within wider contexts enabling them to reflect upon and identify assumptions that might otherwise remain tacit and unexplored in their own developing research interests.

Module learning outcomes

1. Systematically sample and review research literature evaluating its relevance to a specific element of contemporary social work practice.
2. Propose valid research objectives and reliable methodologies for investigating a specific element of contemporary social work practice.
3. Locate research projects within wider perspectives and paradigms in order to critically examine tacit assumptions.

Module information

The module will explore contemporary debates about perspective and paradigm in social science research that relate to social work practice. It will provide an overview of: positivism and post-positivism, interpretive/constructivist approaches, realism and relativism. These will be explored within the context on contemporary social work practice and social work related research.

Learning activities will include tutor led presentations and group discussions of the perspectives. These will be extended in workshops exploring "classic" pieces of research into topics of relevance to social work practice, e.g. group dynamics and inequality, prejudice and discrimination, conformity and obedience, etc.

The perspectives will be analysed in terms of the biases, limitations and opportunities that can be traced to the perspective adopted in the design of the research.

Issues to be covered will include the impact of the researcher on the behaviour of research participants, the artificiality of research procedures, ethical issues of deception, risk of harm and bringing practice into disrepute.

Classic and current research relating to Social Work practice will be critically explored. Models of Evidence-Based Social Work practice will be examined in the context of contributing to best practice and supporting practice in the workplace.

Learning and teaching methods

Overview: The module will combine a number of different teaching approaches, incorporating lectures, group work, computer skill based sessions and student led session to introduce key concepts in social work practice while relating it to everyday practice. Lectures: Lectures by module lead, Experts by Experience and colleagues. Independent: Small/ PBL group work and independent work on searching the literature and any research related activities. Practice and presentations to be discussed on sphere of practice. Online: Online resources will be made available on Moodle. Tutorials: It is the student's responsibility to attend group tutorials and to arrange any personal tutorials with the module lead. Skills: As part of their independent learning the student will be expected to engage in a range of research related activities: searching the literature, visiting the library, attending seminars and participating in conferences (where appropriate).


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Literature Review    60% 
Coursework   Proposal    40% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Aaron Wyllie, email: a.wyllie@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Aaron Wyllie
Sarah Wiblin T: 01702328229 E: ugsocialworkqueries@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Mr Richard Ashiagbor
London South Bank University
MA Course Lead
Available via Moodle
Of 53 hours, 37 (69.8%) hours available to students:
13 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
3 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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