Week 2: Selecting a research topic (ONLINE)
The objective for this week is to enable you to understand what research topics are and what selecting a topic means and feels like. The desired outcome is to get you
started thinking about your research topic which you will be working on for Assignment 3.
Since Monday, 9 March 2015, is a holiday, we will not have face-to-face classes BUT we’ve lined up a set of online activities for you: (1) individual activity to gain
theoretical input on the topic, (2) individual exercise on identifying topics in your discipline and (2) an online tutorial interaction (see link at the bottom). For
theoretical input, we suggest you view these online videos on or before the designated lecture time for Week 2 (that is, 9 March 2015, 10:00 to 11:00 AM):
* Please see: 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYKerIsII3c
Kansas State University Libraries
Apart from the two videos above, have a look at Expansion Box 2 – ‘Sources of topics’ in Chapter 6 (page 173) of our course textbook.
After viewing the videos above AND/OR gaining equivalent theoretical input on the topic ‘Selecting a Research Topic’ from alternative sources, spend half an hour or so
scanning the contents of the last three issues of the top journal in your discipline. For social work in Australia, there would be argument for Australian Social Work
(circulation: 6,500+/-) but there would also be argument for Social Work of the US National Association of Social Workers (circulation: 150,000+/-). For psychology and
social science, what would those journals be? Identify recurrent topics and themes that you observe. What topics are often talked about?
Then think about what topic(s) you would be interested to work on in Assignment 3. As important as the ‘what’ is the ‘why’. Why the topic?
Be prepared to share your thoughts/answers to these questions in the online forums to be facilitated by your respective tutors. The discussion will be asynchronous –
that is to say that responses from tutors will not be immediate. Tutors are expected to open the tutorial forums no later than midday Tuesday, March 10. You are
welcome to post more than once, twice or thrice and even respond to the posts of others. But as in the real classroom, everyone will be expected to be respectful and
considerate. Your tutors will view and respond to posts in the forums at least twice before they will be closed on 5PM, Friday, Mar 13. Please do not expect a response
or comment from your tutor after that.
In summary, here are the main things you need to do for Week 2:
1, Watch the videos above OR refer to an equivalent resource on selecting a topic;
2. Study Expansion Box 2 – ‘Sources of topics’ in Chapter 6 (page 173) of the course textbook – click on link above;
3. Scan the last three issues of the top journal in your discipline to see recurring topics and themes;
4. Think about what topic(s) you might want to work on for Assignment 3 and be prepared to explain why; then
5. Join the online tutorial forum (just click on the link below) – post your thoughts/ideas. Then check out comments/responses from your tutor and classmates.
Assignment 3 info (not need and just see the video above and do the above task)
Weekly participation in the course has provided you with the skills and resources to develop a research proposal. A research proposal is a document written by a
researcher who seeks approval or funding to conduct a research project. The research proposal assignment should have sufficient information to convince your reader
that you have considered a suitable social research focus, that you have a good grasp of the relevant literature and the major issues, and that your research design is
sound.The quality of a research proposal depends not only on the quality of the proposed project, but also on the quality of the proposal writing. Your proposal
writing must be coherent, clear and compelling.
Choose one of the following research topics from which to develop a research focus and proposed project design:
1. Impacts of detention experienced by refugees in Australia
2. Gender and violence
3. Alcohol consumption amongst youth
4. Experiences of ‘home’ in aged care
Social Enquiry Methods is a course designed to introduce students to research in social work and the human services. As a philosophical foundation, the course seeks to
provide students with an appreciation of the value of research and a critical understanding of knowledge and meanings in the human services. Students will learn how
research can be used to achieve professional aims by enabling the analysis of social issues, the examination of social policies and programs and the critical
interrogation of practice. Then, the course quickly moves on to the ‘how’ of research including an overview of the research process, formulating the research question
and aims, the use of and engagement with literature, research design, sampling methods, ethics, introduction to methods of data collection and analysis and the writing
of research proposals. You will not be expected to conduct research in this course. The course requirements end with the submission of a research proposal.
Your participation all throughout the study period will be essential to your successful completion of the course. In preparing a research proposal, you would need
strong skills in conceptualising research problems, engaging with the literature, research design and academic writing. In this course, we hope to further enhance
these skills which, we trust, you have started to build in your previous courses. Please study this course outline in its entirety. You will also need continual access
to the course textbook to complete this course.
The students will develop ability to conceptualise meanings of knowledge, overview of the research process; research as practice with examples from social research as
activism, social policy development, community development, submissions for funding for organisations and programs and evidence based daily practice; formulating the
research question and aims; the use and engagement of literature in research; research design including theoretical orientations; sampling methods; ethics, equity and
diversity; introduction to examples of qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection and analysis; and writing research proposals.
You will need continual access to the following text(s) to complete this course. The library does not hold multiple copies of the nominated text books. It is strongly
recommended that you purchase the book(s).
Neuman, WL 2011, Social research methods: qualitative and quantitative approaches, 7th edn, Pearson, Boston.