The University of Newcastle, Australia
Not currently offered
Course code



20 units


4000 level

Course handbook


This course develops a student's skills and competencies in the development and communication of research findings. The course is conducted under the direct supervision of one or more academic staff members, who act as the student's honours research supervisor or supervisors. The course operates in conjunction with SPSW4030 (the preceding course which is concerned with data collection and preliminary analysis).

SPSW4040 involves the conclusion of data analysis and literature review and the completion of drafts of chapters for review by a supervisor or supervisors and the submission of a completed thesis.



    Multi-term sequence

    This course is part of a multi-term sequence. Both Part A and Part B must be completed to meet the requirements of the sequence. Part A and Part B must be completed in consecutive terms. Students must complete Part A before completing Part B. Students must complete the sequence within a twelve month period. If students complete Part A but are unable to complete Part B within the timeframe, they must re-enrol in Part A.

    Learning outcomes

    On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

    1. Demonstrate a grounded knowledge of Social policy as a domain of social science theory, practice and inquiry.

    2. Demonstrate a capacity to comprehend key intellectual issues, debates and problematics in social policy studies.

    3. Demonstrate an ability to comprehend and apply techniques of evaluating, analysing and synthesising complex academic and social phenomena.

    4. Display and apply skills necessary to posit, interrogate and answer a significant research question through the sophisticated use of appropriate theory and method.

    5. Demonstrate appropriate skills required to produce and present an insightful and critically reflective thesis in Social Policy Studies after devising and executing a program of study and research to the required Honours standard.

    6. Display core competencies in the writing of an extensive and sophisticated text deriving from the developed capacity to apply, systemically and rigorously, the principles of critical scholarship within a broad social policy framework.


    Supervision of students in:

    • Structuring a thesis text to communicate logically the outcomes of a student's research project
    • Developing logical and coherent arguments and conclusions within a text that are adequately supported by appropriate evidence
    • Use of techniques involving selection of multiple drafting, editing and use of appropriate analytical language to communicate findings to an academic audience
    • Engagement in processes of relating specific findings to the overall concerns of Social Policy and Administration studies research
    • Encouragement and support of students to achieve a high level of analytical competence and strongest opportunity to pursue further research and study.


    This course is only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Social Science (Honours) program.

    Assumed knowledge

    SPSW4010, SPSW4020 and SPSW4030

    Assessment items

    Thesis: Thesis

    Contact hours


    Individual Supervision

    Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

    Contact Hours by arrangement with Supervisor

    Self-Directed Learning

    Self-Directed 18 hour(s) per Week for Full Term