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  • Term Mode
  • ACU Term 4Online Unscheduled


(SWTP620 Social Work Theories, Context and Fields of Practice AND SWTP622 Social Work with Individuals AND SWTP624 Social Work with Children, Youth and Family AND SWTP625 Field Practicum 1 AND SWTP632 Social Policy, Contemporary Issues and Social Work AND SWTP633 Social Work, Mental Health and Wellbeing )


(SWTP625 Field Practicum 1 AND SWTP627 Social Work with Communities )

Teaching organisation

150 hours of study

Unit rationale, description and aim

Social Workers assess and respond sensitively and analytically to complex human problems within a social context.  

In order to work effectively to enhance individual and community wellbeing and to achieve social justice and change, social workers must integrate theory, evidence and ethics to assess and design interventions in response to complex presenting circumstances. In this unit, students draw on knowledge from prior units in the examination and critical response to key social work practice questions. Building on prior learning, students locate practice evidence and apply ethical decision-making models to inform understanding of effective practice in response to practice questions. Students also choose a practice question that they find important, interesting and challenging as the focus for an in-depth analysis. Informed by evidence, theory and ethical decision-making, students develop, present and defend their position on effective practice in response to the chosen practice question. This scholarship and critically reflective work prepare students for ethical and evidence-informed decision-making for effective professional practice. Taken alongside the final placement, the aim of this unit is to demonstrate the integration of knowledge, theory and ethics as an entry-level social work practitioner.  

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Locate, critically evaluate and interpret research and scholarly literature in selected practice areas, integrating policy and practice dimensionsGC3, GC8
LO2Apply social work ethics and values to social work practice questions, including the promotion of dignity of the human person, social justice, respect for human rights, and non-sexist, culturally responsive, and anti-oppressive practiceGC1, GC7, GC9
LO3Apply research-informed, theoretically grounded, culturally inclusive and ethically reasoned responses to social work practice questionsGC2, GC5, GC6, GC11

AASW Practice Standards

This Unit has been mapped to the ACU Graduate Attributes and the AASW Profession-Specific Graduate Attributes. The following table sets out the broad relationship between the Learning Outcomes, Graduate Attributes and the AASW Profession-Specific Graduate Attributes provided in the Australian Social Work Education and Accreditation Standards:  

1.Values and ethics


3.Culturally responsive and inclusive practice

4.Knowledge for practice

5.Applying knowledge to practice

6.Communication and Interpersonal skills

7.Information recording and sharing

8.Professional development and supervision

ASWEAS Profession-Specific Graduate Attributes

This Unit has been mapped to the ACU Graduate Attributes and the AASW Profession-Specific Graduate Attributes. The following table sets out the broad relationship between the Learning Outcomes, Graduate Attributes and the AASW Profession-Specific Graduate Attributes provided in the Australian Social Work Education and Accreditation Standards:  

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

4.1 Understand higher level systemic influences on people with respect to areas of practice 

4.3 Understand the role of research and evaluation in obtaining and generating new knowledge for practice 

7.1 Record and manage information appropriately 


1.2 Manage ethical dilemmas and issues arising in practice 

5.4 Apply critical and reflective thinking to practice 


4.2 Understand and articulate social work and other relevant theories and concepts 

4.4. Understand and articulate how and when theories, knowledge bases and knowledge sources inform practice. 

5.4 Apply critical and reflective thinking to practice 

6.1 Effectively communicate with a diverse range of people 

8.3 Contribute to the professional development of others 



This unit takes a case scenario approach to the identification, analysis and response to social work practice questions. The case studies and intervention responses include social work practice at individual, family, group, organizational and societal levels. Practice scenarios will be analysed in class and students will be guidance through the evidence-gathering and analysis process as they examine social work practice questions of their own choice. 

 The analysis of practice scenarios and questions entails:  

  • Application of Social work theories that inform understanding of the practice area  
  • Examination of the social work values and ethics that inform practice questions and application of theories and frameworks that assist in navigating ethical decision-making in this practice area 
  • Gathering contextual knowledge, research and evidence that informs practice decision-making in the area of practice.  
  • Formulating, presenting and defending a position on effective practice in response to a practice question that is argued from theoretical, ethical and evidence perspectives. 

Drawing on learning throughout the degree program, practice questions examined in this unit are drawn from the broad scope of social work practice. The population groups may include older people; children and young people, culturally and linguistically diverse populations; LGBTQI+; people experiencing homelessness; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and communities; people with illness and/or disability, people with mental health issues, families. Practice contexts may include any field of practice such as health, corrections, disaster recovery, domestic and family violence; international social work, practice in rural and remote communities, loss and bereavement. Specific issues may include Catholic Social Teaching and social work, spirituality and social work or human rights and social work. Students may draw on practice questions that have presenting in their field placement unit/s. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Teaching and learning strategies include online lecture material, discussion forums and interactive tasks and exercises, focusing on practice questions and practice scenarios that facilitate the application and integration of theories, knowledge and ethical principles in practice decision-making. Students are expected to engage in independent research to locate relevant research evidence to apply to practice questions. A major strategy is students’ engagement with the literature regarding their selected topic. Individual consultation sessions will be available with the lecturer in charge of the unit for the development of Assessment 3. These strategies reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their individual topics and to participate actively within online activities and forums.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks in this unit are designed to support the development of students’ capacity to integrate theory, ethics and evidence in practice decision-making.

The assessment 1 task builds on prior knowledge of social work ethics, elevating the level of critical analysis in relation to the identification and response to ethical dilemmas and the application of ethical decision-making frameworks in navigating complex practice situations.

Assessment task 2, requires students integrate theory, ethics, knowledge and research evidence in arguing the case for a social work intervention plan in response to a practice scenario.

Assessment 3 is a 15-minute recorded e-presentation, assesses students' formulation and presentation of a research-informed, theoretically grounded and ethically reasoned practice response to a chosen social work practice question. Students are expected to demonstrate advanced oral and presentation skills. The audience, fellow students enrolled in the unit, will be encouraged to provide peer feedback via an online discussion forum, enabled interaction, debate, and discussion on each presentation. This final assignment also provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding and application of essential role of values in the practice of social work, with a particular focus on their chosen practice context.  

In order to pass this unit students must demonstrate achievement of every unit learning outcome, pass hurdle tasks, and obtain a minimum mark of 50% in graded units. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Capabilities

Case Analysis 1: Demonstrates ethical reasoning and the application on ethical decision-making models to the assessment and proposed interventions in response to a social work practice scenario.


LO1, LO2, LO3GC4, GC5, GC7, GC8, GC9

Case Analysis 2: Demonstrates the integration of theory, evidence and ethical reasoning in the assessment and intervention plan in response to a social work practice scenario.


LO3GC4, GC5, GC7, GC8, GC9

Multimedia e-Presentation: Students are required to develop an online recorded presentation (plus reference list) providing a succinct argument for effective practice in response to their chosen social work practice question. 

Students are expected to integrate theories, evidence and ethical reasoning into their presentation. Students demonstrate deep understanding by responding to peer feedback via an online forum,


LO1, LO2, LO3GC4, GC5, GC7, GC8, GC9

Representative texts and references

Aveyard, H. (2010). Doing a literature review in health and social care: A practical guide (2nd ed.). UK: Open University Press. 

Banks, S. (2012). Ethics and Values in Social Work (4th Edition). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Connolly, M. & Ward, T. (2008). Morals, Rights and Practice in the Human Services. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. 

Gray, M. & Webb, S. (Eds) (2013). Social Work Theories and Methods (2nd Edition). London: Sage. 

Harms, L. & Connolly (2019). Social Work: From Theory to Practice (3rd Edition). New York: Cambridge University Press. 

Healy, K. (2014). Social Work theories in context: Creating frameworks for practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 

McInnis-Dittrich, K. (2005).  Social work with elders a biopsychosocial approach to Assessment and intervention (2nd ed.). California: Pearson Education. 

Pack, M & Cargill, J. (2015). (Eds) Evidence discovery and assessment in social work practice Hershey, PA : Information Science Reference 

Plath, D. (2017). Engaging Human Services with Evidence-Informed Practice. Washington: NASW Press. 

Vaughn, M., Howard, M., & Thyer, B. (2009). Readings in evidence-based social work. Newbury Park, California; Sage. 

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