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HCS406 Research Skills Guide: Assessment Task 1: Essay

What are you being asked to do?

This assessment task asks you to critically discuss how human rights have developed over time to where they are now and how they are promoted and protected.

Australia Association of Social Work (AASW), in defining social work, states: "Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work"(AASW).

Include the following in your discussion:

  • the three generations of human rights including the strengths, limitations and implications of Vasak’s framework in understanding human rights
  • human rights theories
  • anti-oppressive social work theories.

Please refer to your Subject Outline for more comprehensive instructions. Be sure to read your Subject Outline carefully, as well as any information about the assignment provided by your Subject Coordinator.

Where should you start?

Sources of information

  • HCS406 Interact 2 modules and readings will give you an overview of human rights theories, the implications for social work/welfare practice, and human rights-based approaches to social work/welfare practice.
  • Books and eBooks will provide you with an overview of these topics and can be located by searching within Primo Search or the Library's eBook collections.
  • Journal articles will offer you insight into a specific aspect of the assessment task topic and can be found by searching in Primo Search or within the Library's A-Z Databases page, particularly the Humanities, Social Work & Human Services databases page.

You've also been asked to refer to scholarly sources in your essay. The Evaluate tab in this guide will help you locate and identify scholarly resources.

Topic Analysis

A topic analysis will help you to clarify and understand what your assessment question is asking you to do.

You will generally be given three key pieces of information:

  1. The key topic or concept words direct you in what to research.
  2. The limits or qualifiers tell you the specific focus of the topic or concept.
  3. The task or instruction terms tell how you are to deal with the content. Charles Sturt University has a list of explanations for common instruction words.

Assessment Item 1 for HCS406 is:

Australia Association of Social Work (AASW), in defining social work, states: "Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work "(AASW).

Critically discuss how human rights have developed over time to where they are now and how they are promoted and protected.

Instruction words Critically discuss
Qualifying words & phrases developed, social work
Key concepts human rights, social justice

Activity: Topic Analysis & Keywords

Write down the key concepts from your topic and have a go at brainstorming as many alternative keywords and phrases as possible.

Thinking about your topic in this way forces you to describe your topic in "other words", which will provide you with some useful keyword alternatives as well as help you to cement your understanding of the topic.

Brainstorming keywords

The next step is to have a go at brainstorming as many alternative keywords and phrases as possible, to use while searching. 

Thinking about your topic in this way forces you to describe your topic in 'other words', which will provide you with some useful keyword alternatives as well as help you to cement your understanding of the topic.

Using the same example as above:

Qualifying words
& phrases

developed

social work

evolve, progress,advance, emerge, result

social work, social welfare, practice
Key concepts human rights

social justice
civil rights, freedoms, privilege

equity, fairness, equitable, social injustice

You will combine these keywords in a variety of ways and use these combinations to search for information.