MUSICOL 3001 - Methods in Music Research

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2024

This course covers a broad range of methods used in research by musicologists today. These include (1) ethnographic methods such as field observation (including participant-observation), field documentation and interviewing techniques; (2) music transcription and analytical methods as applied to a wide range of notated musical forms and oral performance practices; computer aided methods for data collection and analyses of music and musical instruments; and (3) historical methods and approaches to collect and interpret musical past.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code MUSICOL 3001
    Course Methods in Music Research
    Coordinating Unit Elder Conservatorium of Music
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Incompatible MUSICOL 3002
    Assumed Knowledge Basic proficiency with reading standard music notation is assumed, but experience or proficiency in musical performance is not required.
    Assessment Weekly Reading Summary and Discussion, Oral presentation, Ethnographic Report, Transcription/Analysis Report, Historical Report
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Emily Dollman

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1. To demonstrate critical evaluation of music scholarship as relevant to both the theoretical and practical aspects of music and music-making both in any cultural context
    2. To be able to conceptualise a problem in music or arising from music-making and identify appropriate methodologies to investigate it
    3. To have confidence in the communication of research outcomes, whether delivered through oral, written, performance, composition or other media, employing appropriate professional standards
    4. To understand the key theoretical and practical issues in music and apply them more broadly in professional life
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.

    1, 2, 3, 4

    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    1, 2, 3, 4

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.

    3, 4

    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.

    3, 4

    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.

    1, 2, 4

    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

    1, 2, 3, 4
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    The readings are available to purchase from the Copy Centre located in Hughes, Level 1.  
    Recommended Resources
    Music Online is a portal that enables searching in Grove Music Online and other Oxford reference content in the one location. Students can access Oxford Music Online which houses Grove Music Online through the link on the Elder Music Library website at:
    Online Learning
    Course documents, including the Course Profile and assignments will be available on MyUni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The major focus of this course is to gain a further understanding of the conceptual and practical components of different approaches to the study of music and music-making It provides training in essential skills for undertaking music research and communicating research outcomes .
    Seminars explore different theoretical and practical approaches to the study of music through a case studies method. The case studies are drawn from popular, classical western and traditional cultural practice. They incorporate different media including scores, audio-visual sources and printed resources. Workshops enable students to gain first-hand experience of these areas through problem-solving exercises and discussion.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    In addition to the 3 contact hours per week, It is anticipated that students would spend 6-8 hours per week in preparing for seminars, preparing assignments and undertaking required readings.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Seminars with mandated reading relating to methodologies and theoretical approaches to music and music-making in different contexts

    Workshops to understand the planning and development of research projects and the principles of ethical research.

    Student presentations for advancing skills in communicating knowledge about music

    Further details will be provided in the seminars at the start of the semester.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Students select and develop a Research project that draws on issues and methods from case studies to examine an area of personal musical interest. It may be based on analysis, fieldwork, library research or a combination of these methods. The topic should ask a question to allow analysis and critical assessment of materials with careful argument and interpretation rather than general description.

    Assignments 1 to 3 are formative, providing students with feedback and guidance on their research projects design, available resources and development early in the semester.

    Assignment 4 is the final essay for the research and is summative of the entire course. Students implement their Research project under the close supervision of the Coordinator that draws on issues and methods from case studies to examine an area of personal musical interest. It may be based on analysis, library research or a combination of these methods. 
    Assessment Task Due Value Learning Objectives

    Assignment 1 Weekly Tasks and Quizzes

    Week 5 20% 1, 2, 3
    Assignment 2
    Transcription/Analysis Exercise or Field Report
    Week 7 25% 2, 3
    Assignment 3 Oral Presentation Presentations in seminars in Weeks 10-12 20% 3
    Assignment 4 Case Study Essay Week 13 35% 1, 2, 3, 4
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Active and positive participation in 100% of seminars and workshops is expected.
    Students will need to seek approval from the Course Coordinator for any absences as per the Conservatorium Participation & Attendance Guidelines (see )
    Leave applications or medical certificates should be submitted to the Coordinator or a 5% penalty may apply.
    Assessment Detail
    Research Project: Topic Proposal
    The Proposal is intended as a formative document to provide constructive guidance in the development of your research project and for your final submission. The assignment requirements will be discussed in Week 1.

    Transcription/Analysis Exercise
    This assignment comprises a short transcription exercise (from a recording placed on reserve) plus a 1200-word description of the aural or aesthetic qualities of an assigned popular music recording.

    Research Project: Presentation
    Each student presents a formal report to the class on the approved Research Project topic. The presentation is intended to develop confidence in oral communication of research. The Coordinator will provide written feedback on the presentation in terms of content and manner of presentation. This constructive guidance will also in your final written submission for the project.

    Research Project: Essay
    This is the final written submission for the project and the culmination of the semester’s work.
    The assignments are to be submitted (signed in) at the Elder Conservatorium office, Hartley Building, by 12 noon on the due date.

    Late assignment policy:
    Extensions are only granted when supporting documentation can be provided and then, and only then, by arrangement with the course lecturer prior to the due date and time. Extensions will not be granted under any other circumstance. Assessed work that is submitted late (after the due date and time) will not be examined for assessment or feedback.
    In the case of illness this will require a medical certificate, and in the case of personal (non-medical) circumstances you will need a letter of support from a University Student Counsellor. For further information please refer to the following website:

    Students will receive feedback on their assessment tasks including comments when the assignment is returned usually in at the weekly seminar.

    The assignments must be submitted with the relevant cover sheet which will be provided. Your work may not be marked if the cover sheet is not completed and attached. All students must sign the declaration regarding plagiarism and collusion, and work cannot be assessed without this.

    For full details consult the University of Adelaide’s Statement and Definition of Plagiarism and Related Forms of Cheating << >>

    Plagiarism is the using of another person’s ideas, designs, words or works without appropriate acknowledgement.

    Collusion occurs when another person assists in the production of an assignment without the express requirement, knowledge or consent of the assessor.

    Consequences of plagiarism and collusion
    The penalties associated with plagiarism and collusion reflect the seriousness of the University of Adelaide’s commitment to academic integrity. Penalties may include the student being required to revise and resubmit the work in question, receiving a zero result for the work, failing the course, or expulsion from the course.  
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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