Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


SWTP321 Field Education in Social Work 2 OR SWTP333 Social Work Field Education 1

Teaching organisation

Teaching and learning strategies for this unit will include lectures, workshops, small group discussions and LEO online activities.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Social work practice involves the purposeful use of knowledge to enable effective helping in a range of different fields of practice settings, and with different client groups. This final year unit extends students' ability to identify different sources of best practice knowledge with an emphasis on including client perspectives and consolidating understanding of the diversity of social work practice. The unit gives students the opportunity to develop and demonstrate knowledge of best practice and to articulate their own personal-professional practice framework in a chosen field of practice to enable readiness for future social work employment.

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.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Identify different sources of best practice knowledge used in social work, and assess the usefulness of information from these sources for applied social work interventions (GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO2 - Locate and evaluate practice evidence in a specific field of practice (GA4, GA8, GA9)

LO3 - Critically engage with service user and practitioner perspectives on the planning and delivery of social work services (GA1, GA4)

LO4 - Analyse current debates and challenges confronting social work service delivery and the application of practice evidence in the articulation of a personal-professional practice framework (GA4, GA5, GA7); 

LO5 - Evaluate the impact of various cultural and structural factors on the provision of best practice social work (GA4, GA5, GA8).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

AASW Graduate Attributes 

On successful completion of this unit, students should have developed an ability to:

GA1 - Demonstrate sense of identity as a professional social worker

GA2 - Sound understanding of and commitment to social work values and ethics to guide professional practice

GA3 - Ability to apply social work knowledge and interventions to respond effectively in meeting the needs of individuals, groups and communities in diverse settings, client groups and geographic locations

GA4 - Ability to apply knowledge of human behaviour and society, as well as the social, cultural, political, legal, economic and global contexts of practice to respond effectively within a human rights and social justice framework

GA5 - Ability to review, critically analyse and synthesise knowledge and values and apply reflective thinking skills to inform professional judgement and practice

GA6 - Ability to apply research knowledge and skills to understand, evaluate and use research to inform practice and to develop, execute and disseminate research informed by practice.

GA7 - Demonstration of effective communication and interpersonal skills

GA8 - Ability to work with diversity and demonstrate respect for cultural difference

AASW Practice Standards (2013)

The following table sets out the broad relationship between the Learning Outcomes, ACU Graduate Attributes, AASW Graduate Attributes and the AASW Practice Standards

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

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

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


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

5.3 Use a range of specific social work methods and techniques appropriate to area of practice.


1.2 Manage ethical dilemmas and issues arising in practice

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

5.4 Apply critical and reflective thinking to practice

6.2 Effectively communicate the details and nature of the service offered to people


1.2 Manage ethical dilemmas and issues arising in practice

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

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

5.1 Conduct an assessment and analysis of needs to inform the services being offered. 

5.2 Work collaborately with relevant people 

5.3 Use a range of specific social work methods and techniques appropriate to area of practice.

5.4 Apply critical and reflective thinking in practice.

3.1 Work respectfully and inclusively with cultural difference and diversity

3.2 Respective, strive to understand and promote the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their cultures



Topics will include:

Best practice in social work

  • Evidence based practice: history, critical perspectives and application to social work
  • Evidence based practice vs. evidence informed practice
  • Linear vs. developmental models
  • Sources of empirical evidence for ‘what works’: systematic reviews and scoping reviews, quasi-experimental trials, program and service evaluation; client and practitioner engaged research.
  • Theoretical approaches to the use of evidence in social work

Applying skills for researching best practice evidence to a field of practice

  • Developing a best practice question: converting your information need about a practice framework or intervention into an answerable question.
  • Tracking down the best evidence to answer the question
  • Critically appraise evidence for its validity and usefulness in specific practice setting and client group 
  • Knowledge translation: Critical and ethical appraisal with client's strengths, values circumstances.

Fields of Practice that students may choose from to demonstrate best practice research skills include:

  • Health and Ageing
  • Disability
  • Domestic and family violence
  • International social work
  • Working with LGBTQI groups
  • Community justice/ youth justice

Social Work Practice Frameworks and interventions

  • Case management
  • Crisis intervention
  • Family mediation
  • Prevention frameworks
  • Community based interventions
  • Consumer participation
  • Ethical decision making
  • Empowerment and advocacy

Developing a personal-professional practice framework

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit involves 150 hours of learning with a combination of face-to-face lectures and interactive skill-building tutorials. Students are encouraged to bring their own device to class to support skill development in sourcing best practice evidence. Interactive tutorials incorporate small group reflective and skills exercises to allow students to link social work knowledge and ethics with their emerging personal-professional practice framework. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

This unit takes an authentic assessment approach that will allow students to develop skills in researching best practice knowledge. The first assessment is an individual assignment requiring students to identify a field of followed by identification of a best practice question Assessment 2 (Annotated bibliography) will assess students’ competency to identify three different practice evidence sources for their chosen topic.   Assessment 3 (Reflective assignment- individual presentation) requires students to demonstrate their learning about identifying best practice evidence for their chosen field of practice topic, with requirement students critically reflect on the value of client perspectives, self and professional identity through the articulation of your personal-professional practice framework.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Individual Assignment: Brief assignment task requiring students to identify a field of practice of their interest followed by identification of particular practice question, and its significance for best practice.


LO1, LO2, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5 

 Annotated bibliography: research literature review task requiring identification and summary of three different evidence sources for chosen practice intervention topic/ field of practice.


LO3, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA8

Reflective assignment: In-class presentation enables students to synthesise their learning in the unit through the articulation of a personal-professional practice framework in the chosen topic area that incorporates critical reflection on self, client and practitioner perspectives, sources of knowledge and the relevance to best practice and critical reflection on self and professional identity. 


LO1, LO2, LO4, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA9

Representative texts and references

Alston, M., & McKinnon J. (2005). Social work fields of practice. Melbourne: Oxford University Press

Chenoweth, L., & McAuliffe, D. (2017). The Road to Social Work and Human Service Practice with Student Resource (5th ed.). South Melbourne: Cengage Australia.

Connolly, M., & Healy, K. (2017). Social Work Practice Theories and Frameworks. In Social Work Contexts and Practice (4th ed.). Sydney: Oxford University Press 

Fook, J & Aga Askeland, G., (2007), Challenges of Critical Reflection: ‘Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained’ Social Work Education, 2007, pp. 1–14

Fook, J. (2012). Social work: a critical approach to practice (Second edition. ed.): London: SAGE. Chapter 2 

Hatton, K. (2013). Social Pedagogy in the UK: theory and practice. Dorset: Russel House Publishing.

Mapps, S (2014) Human Rights and Social Justice in a Global perspective: An introduction to international social work(2nd edition). New York: Oxford University Press

Plath, D. (2017) Engaging Human Services with evidence-informed practice. NASW Press.

Shlonsky, A. and Ballan, M. (2011) Evidence-informed practice in child welfare: Definitions, challenges and strategies. Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal, No. 29: 25-42

Stephens, P. (2013). Social Pedagogy: Heart and Head. Volume 24 of Studies in comparative social pedagogies and international social work and social policy

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs