RSCH08009 2016 Practice, Policy and Evidence

General Details

Full Title
Practice, Policy and Evidence
Transcript Title
Practice, Policy and Evidence
N/A %
Subject Area
RSCH - Research
SOCS - Social Sciences
08 - NFQ Level 8
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2016 - Full Academic Year 2016-17
End Term
2022 - Full Academic Year 2022-23
Perry Share, Susan Flynn, Martha Doyle, Breda McTaggart
Programme Membership
SG_WSOCI_H08 201600 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Social Care Practice SG_HSOCI_H08 201600 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Social Care Practice SG_HJOIN_H08 201700 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities in Joint Majors: Sociology and Politics SG_HEARL_H08 201700 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities in Early Childhood Care and Educ SG_HSOCI_H08 201700 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Social Care Practice SG_HJOIN_H08 201800 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities in Joint Majors: Sociology and Politics SG_WSOCI_H08 201800 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Social Care Practice SG_SOSCSOCI_H08 201800 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Social Sciences in Social Care Practice SG_SOSCSOCI_H08 999999 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Social Care Practice SG_HEARL_H08 201800 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Early Childhood Care and Educ SG_SOSCSOCI_H08 999999 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Social Sciences in Social Care Practice SG_HSOCI_H08 201900 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Social Sciences in Social Care Practice SG_HJOIN_H08 201900 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities in Joint Majors: Sociology and Politics SG_HJOIN_H08 202100 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities in Joint Majors: Sociology and Politics SG_HEARM_H08 202300 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Early Childhood Care and Education

Within contemporary knowledge society, the field of the social professions is experiencing an unprecedented flow of information. Increasingly policy and practice are positioned within this flow, and there has been an emphasis on the potential value of moving towards evidence-based practice and evidence-based policymaking. This trend is complex, and there are many debates and issues in relation to how policy, practice, and evidence intertwine and inform (or do not inform) each other. This module explores these issues.

Students who successfully complete this module will have developed a critical understanding of the politics of social research; of the impact of mass and social media, practitioners, advocacy and lobby groups on the construction of evidence; and of the links between evidence and practice. They will also adopt a proactive and critical stance in relation to evidence-based and evidence-informed practice, drawing on their own prior experience and research to actively intervene in policy and practice debates.

Students will be encouraged to critically access multiple information sources and to explore the potential of new media technologies and formats. They will develop skills in critically assessing such information sources and, through active production of their own research-based products and artefacts, will intervene in relevant practice and policy debates, thus developing a key aspect of professional competence and identity.

This module maps to the CORU Standards of Proficiency below:

• Domain 1: Professional Autonomy and Accountability

• Domain 2: Communication, Collaborative Practice and Team working

• Domain 3: Safety & Quality

• Domain 4: Professional Development

• Domain 5: Professional Knowledge and Skills

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Review and critically evaluate the place of research and policy-making within the role of social professional (Domain 1.9, 1.17, 1.19, 2.8, 3.1, 3.3, 3.4, 3.6, 3.8,3.9, 3.10, 3.11, 4.1,5.2, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 5.14, 5.17)   


Demonstrate a capacity to strategically identify, source, evaluate, interpret and deploy research data and other information. (Domain 1.17,1.19, 2.6, 3.1, 3.3,3.6, 3.8, 3.9, 3.10, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6,5.17


Select and use social media and other techniques to disseminate research knowledge. (Domain 2.6, 2.7, 3.6, 5.6, 5.15,5.17)  


Demonstrate a knowledge of the relationship between professionalisation and strategies of knowledge production and consumption. (Domain 1.19, 2.3, 2.8, 3.4, 3.6, 3.11, 4.1, 5.1, 5.6)  


Demonstrate a knowledge of contemporary techniques of behaviour change and programme implementation. (Domain 2.10, 3.6, 3.8, 5.5, 5.6, 5.14, 5.17)


Develop skills to repurpose research and other data for specific audiences and situations. (Domain 1.17,1.19, 2.2, 2.4, 2.6, 2.7, 2.9, 3.1, 3.3, 3.6, 3.8, 3.9, 3.10, 4.1,4.3, 5.2, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6)

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching is through 2-hour interactive lectures and 1-hour structured tutorials/workshops. Students will be expected to read suggested materials prior to lectures/tutorials; to engage actively in discussion and debate, and to regularly reflect on their learning. As this is a capstone module, a student will be required to integrate learning from prior modules and experience.

Module Assessment Strategies

The module is assessed through student-centred tasks that seek to authentically assess the relevant range of skills and knowledge, in an integrative manner. There are 3 assessment tasks - each of which is linked to one part of the module. Both individual and group assessment strategies are adopted. Specific links are made with work produced for other modules where appropriate, specifically the research dissertation/product and professional placement modules. The assessment tasks require students to take an active, rather than passive, role in knowledge production and necessitate attention to issues of audience, genre, and diversity.

This modules assessment allows for assessment of CORU Standards of Proficiency as follows:

Profile of a think tank or advocacy organization (Domain 1.9, 1.17; 1.19; 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8, 2.9; 3.1, 3.3, 3.4, 3.6, 3.8, 3.9, 3.10, 3.11; 4.1, 4.3; 5.1, 5.2, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 5.14, 5.15, 5.17) 

Reflection on a case study (Domain 1.9, 1.17, 1.19; 2.6; 3.1; 3.3, 3.4, 3.6, 3.8, 3.9, 3.10; 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 5.17)

Development of information/advocacy product (Domain 1.9, 2.6, 2.7, 2.10; 3.6, 3.8; 5.5, 5.6, 5.14, 5.15, 5.17)

Repeat Assessments

Students who are required to repeat assessments will be provided with relevant individual coursework projects, to be completed during June- August.

Indicative Syllabus

Part 1: The politics of social research (4 weeks)

1.1 Professionalisation, professionalisation strategies and evidence-based practice

1.2 The social research environment: historical, political, economic and ideological dimensions

1.3 Audit culture, accountability, evaluation and monitoring

1.4 The hierarchy of knowledge: systematic reviews and RCTs

Part 2 Case studies (4 weeks)

These will vary from year to year but may include topics such as:

  • childhood obesity
  • sexualisation of children
  • youth and crime
  • children and social media
  • care and technology: social robotics
  • breast cancer screening
  • suicide and suicide prevention
  • epigenetics, neuroscience and child development

Part 3: Media, politics and behavioural change (4 weeks)

3.1 The media and research: social representation and other theories

3.2 Social media

3.3 'Nudging', knowledge and behaviour change

3.4 Issues in implementation

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
100 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Profile of 'think tank' or advocacy organisation Coursework Assessment Written Report/Essay 20 % Week 4 1,4,6
2 Reflection on case study Coursework Assessment Written Report/Essay 20 % Week 8 2
3 Development of information/advocacy product Project Project 60 % Week 12 3,5

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Lecture Theatre Weekly lecture 2 Weekly 2.00
Workshop / Seminar Flat Classroom Weekly student-led project workshops 1 Weekly 1.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 3.00 Hours

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

Abelson, D. (2009) Do think tanks matter? Assessing the impact of public policy institutions. Ontario: McGill-Queens University Press.

Aveyard, H. :-:-amp:::: P. Sharp (2009) A beginners guide to evidence based practice in health and social care. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Becker, S. :-:-amp:::: A. Bryman (2004) Understanding research for social policy and practice: Themes, methods and approaches. Bristol: Policy Press.

Bishop, G. :-:-amp:::: T. Mockabee (2011) Taking the pulse of public opinion: Leading and misleading indicators of the state on the nation. Springer.

Boaz, A. :-:-amp:::: R. Pawson (2005) 'The perilous road from evidence to policy: Five journeys compared'. Journal of Social Policy 34 (2) pp. 175-194.

Boaz, A., L. Grayson, R. Levitt :-:-amp:::: W. Solesbury (2008) 'Does evidence-based policy work? Learning from the UK experience'. Evidence and Policy 4 (2), pp. 233-53.

Boaz, A., S. Fitzpatrick :-:-amp:::: B. Shaw (2009) 'Assessing the impact of research on policy: a literature review'. Science and Public Policy 36(4), pp. 255-270.

Boddy J., A. Boaz, C. Lupton :-:-amp:::: J. Pahl (2006) 'What counts as research? The implications for research governance in social care'. International Journal of Social Research Methodology 9 (4), pp. 1364-5579.

Cairney, P. (2016) The politics of evidence-based policy making. London: Palgrave

Farrelly, T. (2013) 'Evidence-based practice in social care'. In K. Lalor :-:-amp:::: P. Share (eds) Applied social care: An introduction for students in Ireland. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan.

Fitzpatrick, J., J. Sanders :-:-amp:::: B. Worthen (eds) (2012) Program evaluation: Alternative approaches and practical guidelines. Harlow: Pearson.

Freeman, R., S. Griggs :-:-amp:::: A. Boaz (2011) 'The practice of policy making'. Evidence :-:-amp:::: Policy, 7 (2), pp. 127-136.

Glasby, J. (2011) Evidence, policy and practice: Critical perspectives in health and social care. Bristol: Policy Press.

Haynes L., O. Service, B. Goldacre :-:-amp:::: D. Torgerson (2012) Test, learn, adapt: Developing public policy with randomised controlled trials. London: Cabinet Office Behavioural Insights Team. []

Hearn, G., J. Tacchi :-:-amp:::: M. Foth (2009) Action research and the new media. Hampton Press.

Hudson, J. :-:-amp:::: S. Love (2009) Understanding the policy process: Analysing welfare policy and practice. Bristol: Policy Press.

Hutchinson, D. :-:-amp:::: B. Styles (2010) A guide to running randomised controlled trials for educational researchers. Slough: National Foundation for Educational Research. []

Lindsay, B. (2007) Understanding research and evidence-based practice. Exeter: Reflect Press.

Locock, L. and A. Boaz (2004) :-:-#8216::::Research, policy and practice-worlds apart?:-:-#8217:::: Journal of Society and Social Policy 3 (4) pp. 375-84.

Lunn, P. :-:-amp:::: F. Ruane (eds) (2013) Using evidence to inform policy. Dublin: Economic and Social Research Institute.

McGilloway, S., T. Bywater, G. N:-:-#237:::: Mh:-:-#225::::ille, M. Furlong, D. O'Neill, C. Comiskey, Y. Leckey, P. Kelly, :-:-amp:::: M. Donnelly (2009) Proving the power of positive parenting: A randomised controlled trial to investigate the effectiveness of the Incredible Years BASIC parent training programme in an Irish context (short-term outcomes). NUI Maynooth/Archways. []

McNiff, J. :-:-amp:::: A. Whitehead (2011) All you need to know about action research. London: Sage.

Moule, P. (2011) Making sense of research: An introduction for health and social care practitioners. London: Sage.

Nutley, S., S. Morton, T. Jung :-:-amp:::: A. Boaz (2010) 'Evidence and policy in six European countries: diverse approaches and common challenges'. Evidence :-:-amp:::: Policy 6.

O'Hare, L., K. Kerr, A. Biggart :-:-amp:::: P. Connolly (2012) Evaluation of the effectiveness of the Childhood Development Initiative's Mate-Tricks pro-social behaviour after-school programme. Belfast: Centre for Effective Education, School of Education, Queen's University Belfast. [,347916,en.pdf]

Owen J. :-:-amp:::: M. Alkin (2006) Program evaluation: Forms and approaches. New York: Guilford.

Pawson, R. :-:-amp:::: N. Tilley (1997) Realistic evaluation. London: Sage.

Share, P., M. Corcoran :-:-amp:::: B. Conway (2012) 'Irish sociology'. In Sociology of Ireland. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan.

Spicker, P. (2006) Policy analysis for practice: Applying social policy. Oxford. Polity.

Stoker, G. :-:-amp:::: M. Evans (2016) Evidence-based policy making in the social sciences: Methods that matter. Bristol: Policy Press.

Wadsworth, Y. (1998). Everyday evaluation on the run. Sydney: Allen :-:-amp:::: Unwin.

Wadsworth, Y. (2010). Building in research and evaluation: Human inquiry for living systems. Walnut Creek [CA]: Left Coast Press.

Welner, K., P. Hinchey, A. Molner :-:-amp:::: D. Weitzman (eds) (2010) Think tank research quality: Lessons for policy makers, the media and the public. Charlotte [NC]: Information Age Publishing.

Wodorski, J. :-:-amp:::: L. Hopson (2011) Research methods for evidence-based practice. London: Sage.

Zetter, L. (2011) Lobbying: The art of political persuasion. London: Harriman Home Publishing.


URL Resources

Campbell collaboration []

Center on the Developing Child []

Chapin Hall []

Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy []

Cochrane collaboration []

EPPI Centre []

Health Well []

Mathematica Policy Research []

National Institute for Clinical Excellence []

Practice and Research Together (PART) []

Research Connections []

Research in Practice (Dartington Hall) []

Social Care Institute for Excellence []

Other Resources


Additional Information