SOWK 320 (3 cr): Introduction to Social Work Research

SOWK 320 - Intro to Social Work Research

Course Description

This course is an introduction to theory and conduct of social research as applied to social welfare and social work practice. The course focuses on ways of generating new knowledge, and provides an overview of research ethics, measurement, sampling, causation, and various quantitative and qualitative research methods. There is an emphasis on understanding the logic of different research designs, and on understanding strengths and limitations of various research approaches.

Intended Students

Enrolment is generally limited to students in the B.S.W. program, but with permission of the instructor it may be taken by students seeking admission to the MSW Foundations program.

Course Objectives

As a result of taking this course, students will be able to:

  1. Define and appropriately apply to practice basic terms, concepts, and processes of both quantitative and qualitative research.
  2. Define and argue the logic of various research methods, and describe the strengths and limitations of each method.
  3. Demonstrate the ways in which research can inform social work practice.
  4. Critically evaluate research methodologies, analysis, and interpretation.

Course Requirements

Assessment will be based on the following:

  • Midterm (invigilated) (30%)
  • Final exam (invigilated) (30%)
  • Two research article critiques (15% each)
  • Participation in web discussions that address the application of course concepts to social work practice (10%)

Note that the midterm exam and the two article critiques will be done in scheduled classroom sessions.

Course Components

The course components include:

  • A required textbook:
    • Engle, Rafael .J. and Schutt, Russell.K. The Practice of Research in Social Work, Third Edition. Sage Publication Inc. 2012.
  • Readings available online through the UBC Library
  • Online course notes for each module
  • Readings and activities available via direct internet links
  • Student Study Site:

SOWK320 Textbook Order Form