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HCS406 Research Skills Guide: Assessment Task 2: Report

What are you being asked to do?

In this assignment, you are being asked to demonstrate that you:

  • have an understanding of human rights instrumentalities, human rights activists and human rights movements in an international context;
  • are able to demonstrate that you understand the concepts of anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practice;
  • can explain and apply human rights principles to social work practice; and
  • can demonstrate an understanding of the implications of human rights for social work.

To do this, you are going to write a report. The report has been divided into six parts, which will make it easier for you to complete.

  1. An introduction that identifies a human rights issue that is currently in the media and is personally relevant to you.
  2. Describe how the issue is being portrayed in your local, or the national media during this session.
  3. Discuss the most relevant human rights instrument (e.g. covenant, treaty or convention) under which this issue falls.
  4. Discuss why your chosen human rights issue is important to you and to Australian society in general.
  5. Describe what action/s you have taken during the current session of study to become involved in this issue.
  6. Critically assess your own action on the issue as measured against a social work/social welfare human rights based practice position.

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?

You will find this assignment easier if you tackle each step separately. 

Part 1: Identify an area of need or interest
  • HCS406 Interact 2 modules and readings are a good place to start brainstorming your research topic.
  • Newspapers, television, and other media may offer ideas for topical issues in Social Work/Social Services and can be found using the Library's News & Current Affairs databases.
  • Government or association websites could assist you in finding a topic. 


Part 2: Portrayal in local or national media
  • Search the Library's News & Current Affairs databases for articles on your topic. 
  • Use the limiter options in the databases to refine the search results to articles published during the session.


Part 3: Human rights covenant, treaty or convention
  • HCS406 Interact 2 modules and readings provide you with information pertaining to this area. 
  • Government, human rights organisations, and educational websites can be used to locate information about human rights covenants, treaties and conventions.
Part 4: Relevance of issue to you and Australian society
  • Books and eBooks may offer an overview of how the issue applies to Australian society. You can find these using Primo Search.
  • Online journal articles might provide you with some specific examples of how this issue is experienced within an Australian context. You can find these in Journal Databases, Google Scholar, and Primo Search. 
Part 5: Your current action
  • Online journal articles will provide you with specific examples of when and how social workers may take action on an issue.
  • Newspapers, television, and other media may offer you some additional examples, though it must be noted that these are not scholarly resources and should not be relied upon as your only source type in this step.
Part 6: Assessing your action
  • Books and eBooks may assist you with identifying the key attributes of social work/social welfare practice that is centred on human rights.
  • Online journal articles will provide you with specific examples of social work/social welfare human rights based practice against which you can assess your own practice. 

What is the information cycle?

The information cycle is the progression of media coverage of a particular, newsworthy event. Understanding the information cycle will help you to better know what information is available on your topic and better evaluate information sources covering that topic.


The day of the event...
  • Television: CNN, ABC, BBC, Sky News
  • Social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube
  • General web: blogs, news media websites, podcasts & streamed radio, Google News
The week of...
The week after...
Months after...
A year after & later
  • Books, government publications & reference collections
  • Popular titles, encyclopaedias, government reports etc.

Adapted from The Information Cycle by Undergraduate Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.