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SOWK406 Social Problems: Policies and Practice Models

Methods and theories of social, personal and organisational change in response to social problems. These are developed in relation to applied practice outcomes in social work.

This paper is for those who want to go beyond a basic understanding of social problems. It is about troubling one's analytical lens, self and practice as it is about figuring out ways to engage. A critical appreciation of social problems contributes to effective social work practice and is a valued skill in social service organisations.

Paper title Social Problems: Policies and Practice Models
Paper code SOWK406
Subject Social Work
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (Distance learning)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,442.12
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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126 300-level SOWK or SOWX points
SOWK 318, SOWX 318, SOWX 406
Limited to
This is an optional paper for students enrolled in the Bachelor of Social Work programme.

Teaching staff

Coordinator and Lecturer: Dr Patrick Vakaoti

Paper Structure
The paper covers these key areas:
  • An examination of social problems from a social work perspective
  • The use of critical theory to examine forms of oppression
  • The use of 'self' in social work practice
Teaching Arrangements

The paper content is taught over the first six weeks of the semester. Two 3-hour sessions per week.

A two-day compulsory workshop is held at the end of the semester.

There is no prescribed text. Assigned readings are made available online.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

In this paper students will:

  • Engage in structural analysis of social problems
  • Exhibit critical skills in the practice context
  • Demonstrate reflective practice
  • Gain practice knowledge of how to reduce the oppressive nature of social structures and the social work profession

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Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system