Over the course of the semester, students will develop and


Over the course of the semester, students will develop and investigate a research topic addressing a contemporary ethical issue or problem in the social work profession (e.g., court decision, proposed law or policy change, practice modality, etc.). Using course readings and activities, as well as a search of peer-reviewed, professional literature to guide you, write a research paper on a topic of your interest related to ethical practice and the social work profession. Your finished paper should be approximately 8 – 10 pages in length and include the following essential elements:

  • Background of the topic: Describe the issue/problem, including a summary of the issue/problem; the contextual setting; and key stakeholders involved or affected. Be sure to articulate the research question that guided your investigation and provide sufficient detail for readers to understand your topic’s ethical significance for social work practice. (Draft of topic idea and potential research question due Sunday of Week 2)

The purpose of this mini-assignment is to identify an ethical issue or problem worth investigating, create a guiding research question, provide a summary of the issue, and a rationale for investigating this topic using 3-4 supporting scholarly articles to inform the summary and rationale. APA writing style is expected along with a properly formatted reference list.


Questioning process

1. State the question at issue clearly and precisely.
2. Express the question in several ways to clarify its meaning.
3. Break the question into sub-questions.
4. Distinguish questions that have definitive answers from those that are a matter of opinion or that require multiple viewpoints.

Checklist (Rubric)

  • Issue is identified, contextualized, and described in a summary.
  • THE QUESTION is thorough and clearly stated.
  • One to three initial sub-questions are noted.
  • Reasons (rationale) for investigating are provided.
  • Reasons are supported by 3-4 scholarly articles cited.
  • Paper is well-written per APA conventions.
  • References are in APA format.
  • Due date was met.

All phases of developing the research paper should demonstrate graduate-level writing proficiency, knowledgeable citation of course readings and additional scholarly sources, and correct use of APA style guidelines.


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