Course convenor: Bob Sapey, Director of Study
For MA students dissertation study is from the summer of year one to the January of year two.
The dissertation will build on core learning across modules that comprise the MA Social Work and in particular on SWK433 The Research-Minded Practitioner. The curriculum will be delivered through one-to-one supervision tailored to the needs of individual students, hence, core themes are specified rather than a formal curriculum. The core themes are:
1. Designing a small-scale research project
2. Undertaking a review of the literature
3. Undertaking small-scale empirical work
4. Data Analysis
5. Interpretation and dissemination of findings
6. Refining skills in written presentation
On successful completion of this module students will be able to...
- define a clear purpose for the research relevant to social work together with, research questions, appropriate methods; and justification for the choice of topic, questions and methods
- undertake literature searches in an academic context, using academic libraries, online resources, or archives
- recognise the appropriate boundaries of the literature in a selected field and make judgements about what should be excluded, to produce a critical analysis of relevant literature
- demonstrate awareness of the conflicting methodological and theoretical frameworks that can be brought to bear on the topic in question
- collect and analyse data using the chosen method, and reflect on the process and the ethical issues involved
- present 'findings' in a clear and logical manner, demonstrating applied relevance
- construct and sustain an argument through the 15,000 word dissertation without resorting to excessive description
- write and understand the purpose of an introduction, a conclusion and an abstract for an academic document
- write clearly and imaginatively, and with a sense of authority
- use a referencing system (e.g. Harvard) with consistency and accuracy
- manage the pace and delivery of the project, be open to feedback from supervisors/peers
Aveyard, H. (2007) Doing a Literature Review in Health and Social Care: A Practical Guide. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Biggam, J. (2011) Succeeding with your Masters Dissertation: a step by step handbook. Maidenhead: Open University Press. [chapter on literature review and appendix B sample chapter outline]
Burnett, J. (2009) Doing your social science dissertation London: Sage [Chapter 12 Drawing Conclusions and Writing Up]
Carey, M. (2013) The Social Work Dissertation: Using Small-Scale Qualitative Methodology Maidenhead: Open University Press. Chapter 5: The literature review and literature based dissertations
Pawson, R., Boaz, A., Grayson, L., Long, A. and Barnes, C. (2003) Types and Quality of Knowledge in Social Care, London, SCIE.