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Unit of study_

SCWK4008: Social Work Research Dissertation

Semester 2, 2021 [Normal day] - Remote

In this unit students participate in a social work research project under the supervision of an academic staff member. Students will become familiar with the process of developing a research proposal and obtaining ethical approval for a study. Students will apply data collection processes as appropriate to the project and undertake analysis of this data. They develop the skills required to present the findings of their research project both orally and through a research dissertation. Ethical issues and critical debates in social work research will also be examined.

Unit details and rules

Unit code SCWK4008
Academic unit Social Work
Credit points 6
SCWK3009 and SCWK3010 and SCWK4003 and SCWK4005
SCWK4004 and SCWK4002
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Ruth Phillips,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Honours thesis Research report/dissertation
Honours dissertation
70% Formal exam period
Due date: 25 Nov 2021 at 23:59

Closing date: 10 Oct 2021
5000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO5 LO6
Presentation Research Outcomes Presentation
Oral presentation
30% Week 13
Due date: 11 Nov 2021 at 09:00

Closing date: 11 Nov 2021
20 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO5 LO3 LO2

Assessment summary

  • Oral presentation of research outcomes: Each student will give an oral presentation on the research learning outcomes and findings of the research they have conducted as part of a research project under the supervison of their research supervisor.
  • Research report: This assessment will be a detailed report on the research project that you have been engaged in and a written analysis of the findings of the research you conducted under the supervison of your research supervisor. The paper will have a major focus on the findings derived from your research but will also include a summary of the aims and inquiry of the research, an explanation of the theoretical basis of the research, and a discussion of how the literature review contributed to the development and analysis of the project.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 04 Assessment preparation seminar Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 07 Presentation and report workshop Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 12 Final Preparation for Presentation and dissertation write-up Seminar (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 13 Individual student presentations Seminar (5.5 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance: The Sydney School of Education and Social Work requires attendance of at least 90 percent of all seminars, workshops or lectures. Where a student is unable to attend at the required rate evidence of illness or misadventure may be required and the student may be required to undertake extra work. Students should discuss the circumstances of their absence(s) with the co-ordinator of the unit of study. Further details are provided in the School canvas site:

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Check Canvas Modules for required readings for each seminar.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. select, justify and apply quantitative and/or qualitative research methods most appropriate to answering a specific research question in social work practice
  • LO2. demonstrate project management and time management skills
  • LO3. further develop competence in identifying and appropriately responding to ethical issues encountered in social work research
  • LO4. develop writing, editing and drafting skills for the purpose of producing a research report
  • LO5. present and defend the findings of a research project
  • LO6. contribute to debates on social, political, ethical, technical and practical issues surrounding social work research.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

As this unit is now online and is not being held in conjunction with other on campus units the students will not face the same issues raised in the student survey. The other issue raise will be addressed through spending more time on developing a good dissertation.

Thes submission date for the dissertation will be extended, as yet that date has not bee finalised.

Work, health and safety

The unit will be delivered online except for the studetn presetnation if it is allowable for students to be back on campus in week 14.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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