SWK401 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Problem Solving, Information Literacy, Discourse Analysis
DepartmentSocial Work Discipline
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Title: Critical Social Policy Analysis
Faculty of Arts, Business and Law
School of Social Sciences
Teaching Session: Semester 1
Course Coordinator: Dr Athena (Tina) Lathouras
Telephone: (07) 5456 5941
1. What is this course about?
1.1 Course description
Social work and human services practice is shaped by social policy as it impacts the welfare of a nation’s
citizens. Comprising mechanisms for distributing society’s resources, social policy is underpinned by values,
driven by political objectives and maintained by discursive practices. This course provides a critical
theoretical framework for evaluating historical and recent trends in social policy and its impact on people.
You will critically analyse at least one specific social policy within its historical, political and welfare context
and apply it to their professional practice.
1.2 Course content
• The scope of social policy
• Social policy as contested terrain: approaches to theoretically analysing policy
• Professional human services and social work practice in the social policy arena
• A critical approach to social policy analysis and development
• The effects of social policies on individuals, families, groups and communities.
• Application of analysis and development on social policy in fields such as (but not limited to): child
protection, human rights, youth work, family work, disability support and community development.
2. Unit value
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Course Outline: SWK401 Critical Social Policy Analysis
3. How does this course contribute to my learning?
Specific Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of
this course you should be able
You will be assessed on the
learning outcome in task/s:
Completing these tasks successfully
will contribute to you becoming:
Understand how social policy
influences inequality, the
structure of Australian society
and the well-being of citizens.
1, 2 and 3
Identify central issues in social
policy development and
1 and 2
Apply a critical framework to
analyse at least one area of
2 and 3
Creative and critical thinkers.
Articulate through written and
verbal communication the
relationship between social
policy and the pursuit of social
2 and 3
Develop a sense of personal
agency in ethically responding
to personal powerlessness
resulting from the effects of
social policy initiatives.
1 and 3
4. Am I eligible to enrol in this course?
Refer to the Coursework Programs and Awards - Academic Policy for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-
requisites and anti-requisites”
4.1 Enrolment restrictions
16 courses or enrolled in AR707
Note, for Bachelor of Social Work students, this must include:
Note, while this course is designed within the context of human services and social work practice, its
relevance for a wide range of disciplines is clear. Students taking programs other than social work and
human services will therefore find the course useful within the context of their own studies, while
contextualising it within their own disciplinary framework.
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