Practice–Based Research Paper

The Practice-based Research paper provides the opportunity for critical and analytic reflection on a topic/issue/problem related to the student's practice experience.

  • Expected length: approximately 50 pages

Elements of the Paper:

  • Builds on discussions, assignments and proposal undertaken in the Graduate Research Seminar (SOWK 5250 3.0) and Practice-based Research Paper Seminar (SOWK 5450 3.0) course;
  • May involve the collection of empirical and/or secondary data;
  • Must develop a theoretical perspective;
  • The paper should include an abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, findings, discussions, and conclusions. Findings and conclusions should be explored in relation to the advancement of social work theory, social work practice, and future research.


  • Supervised and evaluated by the Practice-based Research Paper Seminar (PRS) professor;
  • Graded on a Pass/Fail basis.


  • Students are to hand in one final copy to their PRS instructor;
  • Copyright, Title, and Release forms (if applicable) must be included in this final copy;
  • The Graduate Program Assistant will return one final copy to the student upon final approval; the second copy is kept in the Graduate Program Office (if no release form) or the Resource Centre (if release form signed).

Human Participants Research Procedures:

If you involve humans in research associated with your completion of the MSW, you are required to complete the following forms. Complete them in consultation with your course director.

Graduate Program in Social Work Process for Human Participants Research Form

  • Complete the forms and make a copy (2 copies total). Ensure the title for your proposal is indicated on the form.
  • Give the forms to your Graduate Research Seminar (GRS) instructor for signature. The GRS instructor will then give the forms to the ERC (Ethics Review Committee) within the School for signature. Research involving Indigenous/Aboriginal Peoples will be required to go through the Aboriginal Research Ethics Advisory Group (AREAG) and the Human Participants Review Committee (HPRC) at the York Office of Research Ethics.
  • Once signatures are obtained, the Graduate Program Assistant will return the original Human Participants Research Form. The original forms must be included in your PRP. A copy of your forms will be kept in the Graduate Program Office.

The normal turn-around time for the internal Ethics Review process is approximately 2 weeks.

All students are required to complete the tutorial, print off the completion certificate, and submit it to the Graduate Program Assistant for inclusion in your student file, prior to completing any ethics forms.