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HCS519 Research Skills Guide: Understand the task

Your assessment task

It is important to break down the requirements of your assessment task before you start searching for information so that you can plan your approach.

Let's pull out some of the key details from Assessment 1:

  • Choose one recent journal article for each of the two given topics:
  • Topic 1 – Practice skills in working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Topic 2 – Practice skills in child welfare and protection
  • Write a discussion piece for each topic. In your discussion pieces, describe why you chose each journal article and how each article could be useful to you in social work practice, especially in relation to skills for practice.

The assessment task continues with some specific requirements:

  • Each journal article should focus on a current social work practice issue relevant to the topic and with an emphasis on practice skills
  • The journal articles must be from peer-reviewed social work, welfare, community work, human services journals - Australian or international.
  • The journal articles must have been published between 2017-2021. Older publication dates are not acceptable.

Please note - the information here does not replace your Subject Outline. It is important to carefully read over and be familiar with all sections of the assessment details including task description, rationale and marking rubric.

Plan your approach

1. Write a list

One of the first things to do is write down a list of everything that is required:

  • 2x journal articles
  • Current social work practice issue relevant to the topic and with an emphasis on practice skills
  • Peer-reviewed
  • Social work, welfare, community work, human services journals (Australian or international)
  • Published between 2017-2021
     
2. Order the list

Next, try to think about which order you might try to address each aspect of the list.

A common approach would be to search for information in this order:

  • Brainstorm the specific social work practice issue relevant to the topics;
  • Select keywords;
  • Search for information;
  • Limit results to date range; and
  • Check if journal is both peer reviewed and a social work journal

However, if you were to follow the order above, you may find that by the time you have searched and limited your results to show only peer reviewed articles published between 2017 and 2021, that you don't have any results left that are relevant to both the topic and your selected issue.

In this case, it might be a better idea to start by searching for the topics rather than a specific social work practice issue. This would mean you might prioritise your list like this:

  • Search for each topic;
  • Narrow search results to show only articles published from 2017-2021
  • Read and review results lists to identify an issue relevant to each topic
  • Locate 2x articles that relate to the same social work practice issue; and
  • Check if the selected articles are peer-reviewed and from social work, welfare, community work or human services journals.