SOWK 351

Social Research

2-4 Undergraduate credits
Effective August 1, 1998 – Present

Graduation requirements this course fulfills

The social work program research curriculum emphasizes applying research findings to social work interventions, assessing the effectiveness of programs and policies, and assessing one's own practice at all levels. Special attention is paid to students' developing competence in comparative racial/ethnic analysis and in gender and class awareness. Social Research is the first of a two-course research sequence in the Social Work program curriculum and is taken at the end of the first year of the program. Students learn a range of social research theories and methods and then have the opportunity to apply them to social work practice. They apply research findings to a real-world situation either by implementing a single system research design or by conducting a program or policy evaluation. Prerequisite: Admission to social work major.

Special information

Prerequisite: Admission to Social Work program. Note: SOWK 351 to be taken concurrently with SOWK 381 and SOWK 391.

Learning outcomes


  • Apply appropriate research methods to the agency-based project with the special focus of performing practice evaluation and/or program evaluation
  • Apply appropriate research methods to the agency-based project.
  • Assess the appropriateness of different research methods for communities of color and other populations-at-risk
  • Critically assess research decisions from an ethical framework.
  • Critically assess research studies for their application to generalist social work practice.
  • Critically assess the literature to identify evidence-based research studies for their application to generalist social work issues/topics/problems.
  • Critically use social science findings in the problem-solving stages of generalist social work practice.
  • Identify an appropriate student research question that is acceptable to the field agency.
  • In consultation with the research instructor, field instructor, and agency personnel, design a "do-able" research project.
  • Present the findings and recommendations of the study to agency staff.
  • Understand the basic assumptions, methods and usefulness of social science research with emphasis on single-subject, field and survey methods
  • Write a usable research study with applications for use at the agency level.