COMMERCE 4037 - Research Methodology (H)
North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2022
General Course Information
Course Code COMMERCE 4037 Course Research Methodology (H) Coordinating Unit Business School Term Semester 1 Level Undergraduate Location/s North Terrace Campus Units 3 Contact Up to 36 hours Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N Prerequisites At least 2 courses at specialisation level Assumed Knowledge At least 2 courses within a specialisation Course Description This course equips students with the awareness and skills to conduct scholarly research at an advanced level. It is based around two interlinked themes - 1. theoretical issues of research (eg philosophy, epistemology, ethics etc) and 2. practical considerations of research design. The first of these provides an essential framework for quality research, necessarily underpinning all professional research activities and guiding participants through a critical journey of engagement with the inevitable limitations and delimitations of research in the 21st Century. Candidates will be introduced to a number of research issues and controversies (eg debates around deductive, inductive and abductive approaches; qualitative and quantitative methods, cross sectional and longitudinal strategies; archival, observational, survey-based or experimental techniques; sampling, data collection, data analysis and dissemination). The course's overall aim is to prepare candidates, more generally, as academic researchers.
Course Coordinator: Dr Peter Sandiford
Location: Nexus Tower – Room 10.28, 10 Pulteney Street
Telephone: 8313 2017 (office)
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning OutcomesOn completion of this course, successful candidates will be able to:
1. apply methodological theory to critically evaluate existing research in business and related research.
2. differentiate between alternative research approaches, philosophies and strategies in business oriented research and identify their limitations and implications.
3. explore relevant ethical issues and apply (systematise, defend, recommend and implement) ethical principles to the conduct of scholarly research.
4. plan and design a scholarly research project.
5. reflect critically and transparently on their own research preferences, philosophy and ideology when evaluating existing research and conducting their own investigations.
6. engage in scholarly discussion and debate within the academic community in the spirit of collegiality.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Required ResourcesThere are a large number of research methods/methodology texts in the business disciplines (some below). However, no single source provides everything we need in a course like this one. This is partly due to disciplinary and philosophical differences across and within our various sub-disciplines (finance, accounting, management, marketing, international business and entrepreneurship). So, even within the same discipline we can expect research to vary according to theoretical influences, the purpose (and question) of the research project and researcher preferences. This is so much the case that few scholars are able to agree on what to do or how to do it, when discussing research). So, we do not have a single core text for the course, but will use various different sources, normally available through the library and/or the myuni website. It is also worth bearing in mind that a lot of the issues we will explore in this course are faced by researchers in other fields of social sciences (eg economics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, education etc) – after all business is a wholly social activity – so don’t be surprised to see readings from different disciplines to your own. This also reinforces the necessarily inter-disciplinary nature of business research, within the even wider field of social research, so candidates need to read widely across the diverse types of social research during (and after) their program of studies.
When preparing for your own research project it is particularly important to recognise this need for wider reading. It is very tempting to only rely on written sources within your own discipline, topic area or preferred research method. This would limit your research and development enormously. The best research (and researchers) focus on their research topic/question, while recognising how this fits into the wider literature and exploring ideas from other disciplines. So, the management (or arketing, finance, accounting, international business) researcher who only reads management (or etc) research is doomed to present a very limited view of business and, indeed, the world!
Weekly readings will seek to apply the key ideas from many different areas of research – it is our task to consider the implications of these for a business/work organisation (with a particular focus on our own discipline) oriented context. The following sources are intended as examples only; they do include some of the ‘required reading’ for the course (full details provided on myuni), but you will need to explore other books and articles, especially more specialist sources that apply more fully to your own research).Remember, at this level of study, it is essential to keep up-to-date with the research literature. So, although we will need to refer to older ‘classics’ and seminal publications, the reading list is subject to change as the semester progresses.
Please note, I have separated these resources into different categories (e-texts, journal articles and others). When reporting research we do not separate types in this way – so when submitting an assignment, thesis or draft manuscript, please ensure that your references are presented as a single, integrated list in alphabetical order. In this case, the separation is intended to help you find relevant sources quickly and easily, with a little additional guidance as
These are electronic books that you can access directly through the library website.
Clough, P. & Nutbrown, C. (2012). A Student's Guide to Methodology, 3rd Edition, London: Sage.
This Text can be accessed online through the library; simply search the title in the library catalogue and log in using your normal credentials. The bibliographic details of the other (minimum) sources included in the learning activities summary (below) are (note the ‘subtle’ differences in bibliographic detail – does that help you identify the type of source)
Feest, U. & Steinle, F. (eds.). Scientific Concepts and Investigative Practice, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, pp. 1-22
Another e-book, though this is an edited text, with chapters by different authors. It is accessible direct from the library. This is a challenging read, but explores two of the cornerstones of good research – conceptualisation (going beyond basic definitions) and research practice (doing research). You can dip in and out of the chapters as you progress through the course and program (and beyond), too.
Saunders, M. Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2016). Research Methods for Business Students, 7th Ed., Harlow, UK: Pearson.
This is available as an e-text, but can only be accessed by two readers at any one time. There is also one printed copy in the library and various other editions are available. It seeks to provide an overview of research across all business disciplines, so its strength is breadth, while its weakness is breadth too (it will not provide the depth of material that you will need to conduct a rigorous scholarly research project.
Strang, K.D. (ed) (2015). The Palgrave Handbook of Research Design in Business and Management, New York: Palgrave.
The library holds e and paper copies of this text too. It differs somewhat to the other three listed here as it is an edited book including multiple chapters by different authors. The content is framed around what the editor refers to as a typology of research in which he links research strategy and ideology with philosophical and methodological issues. Although the chapters are semi-independent, they are introduced and assessed by the editor within this typology. You may find it interesting to assess his assessments yourselves (after all, we will discuss the philosophical challenges facing researchers at length in the course). So, it is a useful source to dip into when seeking ideas about methods and techniques within a broader methodological framework – but be prepared to question some of Strang’s own perspective here.
Williams, M. (2000). Science and Social Science : An Introduction, London: Routledge.
This e-book provides interesting insights into some of the most controversial aspects of social research. It is quite rare to find a serious discussion of the issues of science and research that is so readable, without losing its authority.
Chapters of these e-books may be included in the weekly readings, though you are likely to find their other content useful throughout the course and the whole program.
Examples of additional sources
Couvalis, George (1997) The Philosophy of Science: Science and Objectivity, London: Sage, (Chapter 2, Induction and Probability, pp.46-61). Electronic book accessed through library catalogue
Dubois, A., & Gadde, L. E. (2002). Systematic combining: an abductive approach to case research. Journal of business research, 55(7), 553-560.
Hatch, MJ. & Cunliffe, AL. (2013) Organization Theory, 3rd Ed, Oxford University Press (Chapter 2, ‘the history of organization theory’, pp.25-60).
KarataÅÂâÂÂÖzkan, M., & Murphy, W. D. (2010). Critical theorist, postmodernist and social constructionist paradigms in organizational analysis: a paradigmatic review of organizational learning literature. International Journal of Management Reviews, 12(4), 453-465.
Keat, R. & Urry, J. (1982) Social theory as science, 2nd ed., London: Routledge (Chapter2, Realist philosophy of science pp. 27-45).
Kolakowski, L. (1993) An overall view of positivism, in Hammersley, M. (ed.) (1993) Social Research: Philosophy,Politics and Practice,pp.1-8, London: Sage.
Le Voi, M. (2002) Responsibilities, Rights and Ethics, in Potter, S. (ed) (2002) Doing Postgraduate Research, pp153-164., London: Sage.
Lipscomb, M. (2012). Abductive reasoning and qualitative research. Nursing Philosophy, 13(4), 244-256.
National Health and Medical Research Council (2015) National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007 (Updated May 2015), accessed 29-01-2016 from: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/e72_national_statement_may_2015_150514_a.pdf
Ransome, Paul (2013) Ethics and Values in Social Research, Basingstoke: Palgrave (chapter 4, ‘the values of the researcher and evaluation research’, pp74-101).
Recommended ResourcesThere are many student texts and other scholarly works on research methodology, research philosophy, research ethics and research methods/techniques. As explained above, candidates are also expected to draw from published research. Various readings will be recommended during the course, though candidates are expected, increasingly, to discover, discuss and evaluate sources for themselves during the course. The readings are specified in the weekly schedule below and these sources are given in full in the lists above. Most are available from the library as e-books or journal articles (it is good practice—and very easy—to find these for yourselves – but do let me know if you have any difficulties). A small number have been digitized from print copies and these are available from the myuni course reading folder
This reading should include, but not be limited to refereed journal articles and monographs in their disciplinary field. Such sources may be methodological in nature, but it is also important to read empirical, review and conceptual/theoretical work through a methodological lens in order to better understand the philosophical and methodological influences of authors, thus contributing to a more critical approach to reading and ‘doing’ scholarly research.
Please do remember that this course covers a lot of different disciplinary traditions and it is essential for well-rounded researchers to be aware of other traditions and approaches to research. The course includes material relevant across the business disciplines (and beyond) so this is a good opportunity to develop your understanding well beyond your own narrow research topic. You will probably find some of the readings and ideas presented within the course as challenging, unusual or even bizarre – this is not unusual, but it is essential to recognise that there is almost always more than one way of understanding a social phenomenon (business is a social science, after all) and it is rare to find a single ‘right’ answer to any human endeavour!
The course utilises MyUni as a communication tool and as the main means for coursework submission and feedback provision. Students should be actively scanning the MyUni course webpage regularly for course updates and additional information.
Online learning resources and tasks will also be used as required by circumstances such as public holidays or health related regulations.
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching ModesThis is a challenging and interactive course, providing an introduction to all areas of scholarly research. Research methodology is underpinned by a variety of (often conflicting) theories and assumptions about human existence and knowledge. The subject itself is complex, often controversial and cannot be effectively ‘taught’ or ‘learnt’ in traditional didactic lecture sessions. Much of the learning experience is based on critical and reflective reading across a variety of disciplines, supported by scholarly discussion and debate in the classroom environment; this requires all participants to develop an awareness and openness towards alternative ways of thinking and research paradigms. It is not necessary to agree with each other, but it IS necessary to demonstrate scholarly respect for other ways of doing research; disagreements need to be articulated in scholarly discussion and rigorous argument rather than dismissive rhetoric.
In order to perform well in this course, students will develop some familiarity with and understanding of the relevant research theories and concepts covered in class and in the broader literature, enabling them to successfully apply these in their written and class-based work. Therefore, students are expected to have reviewed the topic to be discussed every week and be fully prepared. In addition, it is essential for participants to engage in seminar discussions in an informed way. The communication skills developed by regularly and actively participating in discussions are considered to be most important by the School and are highly regarded by employers and professional bodies. Participation in school seminars, webinars, ‘brown bag’ presentations and similar activities, beyond normal course activities, is encouraged.
Although face-to-face classes will vary in approach. After week one, a typical class will normally rely on and involve most of the following activities:
Weekly guided preparation (activities and/or reading). This will include readings suggested by the tutor and student selected weekly seminar readings. Weekly preparation may also include more practical activities (especially for the seminar). Class activities assume some familiarity with all the readings, although we recognise that some of these will be more challenging than others – come prepared to ask about any content that you find particularly challenging (preparing such questions is a key part of the expected preparation) – in such a broad subject area no-one can realistically “know it all”, so there may well be some ideas that we all (including lecturers and even professors) struggle with!
As part of their preparation, candidates are expected to search for, find and analyse a relevant additional reading and come to class prepared to introduce and discuss the reading to coursemates. This reading should be a scholarly piece of work (such as a research article or an edited chapter/conference paper or monograph) relevant to the week’s topic. This preparation should, whenever possible, focus on the candidate’s own research, although it can also represent a follow-up to something you found intriguing, challenging or disagreeable from other parts of the course, the program or, indeed, the wider scholarly, political, commercial or popular media. The tutor guided reading list reduces as the semester develops, based on the expectation that candidates will increasingly search out their own readings relevant both to the topic under consideration and their own research plans.
It is important for researchers to keep a clear record of their activities, especially when engaged on relatively long term projects such as thesis-based work. So, candidates are expected to keep a research journal/diary during the course – and beyond, of course. These journals are most effective when you can use them yourself to recall key phenomena – something you learned that helped with your professional development, an idea, concept or theory from your reading that intrigued, perplexed, frustrated or inspired you (or maybe even all four at the same time!). Don’t try to record every little detail in superficial lists; it is much more useful to identify one or two key things and reflect on them as fully as possible, perhaps once or twice a week. It is a good idea to write at least one entry before class, based on your preparation. A second entry can, then, focus on something from the class itself.
Q&A and comments about topic
Lecturer led introduction to the topic (normally including key discussion questions).
Group discussion of guided and student selected readings – including questions about and reflection on key issues from the readings).
Individual sharing of additional readings/prepared activities.
Insights and research journal debrief.
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.
The University expects full-time students (i.e. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. This means that, for this course, you are expected to commit approximately 9 hours for private study (i.e., the study time outside of your regular classes). Students are required to attend all class sessions.
Learning Activities SummaryCourse Schedule:
Please note this is subject to change, based on the needs of particular cohorts of students.
A communication theme will run through many of the class-based sessions; there is always a tension between ‘formal topics’ and required content, such as assessments. For example, we will discuss proposals only shortly before the draft proposal is due. So,
please do not see the scheduled theme as an excuse to delay starting the proposal (for example); formal content such as this aims to reinforce, support and reflect on work already done.
Theme 1: Theorising knowledge and research
1. General Introduction to the Course & to Research Methodology. Critical engagement with theory and practice.
2. Research Philosophy in historical context. Philosophy; epistemology; methodology etc.
Communication theme: scholarly communication: reading, listening, arguing, discussing and debating
3. Research Philosophy into the 21st century.
Communication theme: scholarly communication: reading, listening, arguing, discussing and debating
4. Philosophical questions; methodological ‘answers’: concepts, epistemology, deductive reasoning; induction; abduction etc.
Communication theme: writing-up your methodology section/chapter: integration of philosophy and method.
Theme 2: Researcher values and ethics
5. Defining and theorising Ethics for Research. Online task
Communication theme: discussing ethics – respecting or accepting alternatives?
6. Formalising Ethics for researchers; ethics and risk management
Communication theme: form-filling and satisfying authorities in methodological context (forms such as the ethical approval are crucial to organisations like UoA, but also help researchers to consider key ethical issues (though not necessarily addressing all such issues that we must consider.
7. Researcher values; the value of research; the evaluation of research; the value and values of peer review – standing on the shoulders of giants (and assessing those giants).
Communication theme: reflection and reflexivity – self-analysis of values?
Theme 3 Designing, Planning, Doing and Disseminating research
8. Research design and planning: problem, aim, objective, question or hypothesis; qualitative or quantitative (or something else altogether)?
Communication theme: Proposals
9. The role of the literature: conceptual frameworks and contribution
Communication theme: writing literature reviews
10. Data issues: negotiating access, data collection, secondary, primary or meta?
Communication theme: Dissemination: written alternatives
11. Data issues: analysis, interpretation, concluding, implications
Communication theme: Dissemination: aural alternatives: presenting, vlogging etc
12. Applying methodology in practice – from idea to thesis and beyond
Communication theme: Dissemination: oral defence presenting
13. Ethics Approval Application workshop.
14. Proposal Presentations
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Preparation and participation 10% ongoing 1, 5, 6 Research Proposal Draft 0% Week 9 formative Peer Review Exercise 15% Week 11 1, 6 Research Proposal Presentation (30 mins) 20% 13 SWOT week 4, 6 20% Week 13 4, 6 Responding to peer review 15% Week 14 5, 6 Research Proposal (2500 words) 40% Week 13 2, 3, 4, 6 40% Week 14 1, 2, 3, 4 Total 100%
Assessment Related Requirements
In order to pass this course, students must achieve at least 50% overall, and achieve a passing mark of, at least, 50% for their final research proposal.
Assessment DetailThe assessment components are as follows: (further details will be provided as required on myuni and in class)
PREPARATION AND PARTICIPATION
All candidates are required to prepare carefully and participate in all the learning sessions; attendance alone is insufficient. You are expected to draw from your preparation and wider reading during discussions and volunteer constructive, critical and supportive questions, answers and suggestions during formal and informal learning sessions (eg presentations and/or classmate enquiries/reflections.
Your participation in classroom settings will be assessed by the course coordinator based on evidence of careful preparation (in cases where there is doubt, candidates may be required to provide written evidence of preparation – in the form of research journal entries or similar) and the level and quality of your contribution to discussions and activities throughout the course.
Examples of expected participation include raising pertinent questions (eg about readings, theories etc), answering questions raised by tutor and coursemates and sharing additional readings in class.
Participation assessment criteria:
1. Contribution to discussion
2. Constructive Participation in learning activities
3. Evidence of thorough preparation (guided and independent)
The written proposal is the culmination of your work in this course and provides the basis for your study and the resulting thesis. A well planned proposal is key to conducting high quality research. Although there can be various unforeseeable challenges with any research project, effective planning can help avoid or minimise many of these.
All the course themes and topics contribute to your research proposal. As well as course material, your supervisors can provide much advice on this, so do ensure that you seek feedback and advice as you work through the course and prepare your proposal.
The assessment structure (below) assumes familiarity with disciplinary theory and practice, so greater focus will be given to methodological content at both philosophical and practical levels. The assessment, like the course itself, is structured around a learning model – recognising that candidates can only hope to develop research expertise gradually and over time. So, formative assessment (and constructive feedback) is crucial to proposal development.
Formative (draft proposal) and summative (final proposal) arrangements:
In the past, you are likely to have been required to submit written work once and then received feedback in the form of marks and, perhaps some written feedback about your work’s strengths and weaknesses. Researchers rarely receive numerical marks for their work, but they are very likely to receive detailed and critical feedback that in the form of peer reviews (for both planned and completed work). This can take many forms, including formal approval to conduct research (eg from ethics committees or graduate schools), decisions about funding research projects (eg ERA grant awarding bodies) and publishing completed research (eg peer review of conference papers or journal articles).
This course seeks to offer a similar review experience to participants. To achieve this, you will submit a complete draft of your proposal near the end of the course. This will NOT receive a percentage mark, but will be evaluated based on the final assessment criteria (below), with detailed feedback being provided to enable you to revise and improve your proposal. Only the final, revised proposal will be formally marked at the end of the course.
All students will participate in the review process (hence ‘peer review’), as will the course coordinator. So, everyone will have two sets of reviews to address in the final part of the process. You can also request formal feedback from your supervisor, as well. However, this must be provided to the course coordinator, if it is to be included in the final proposal. This is because, it is essential that all reviews are overseen and managed – this is normally the editor’s job with academic journals. This helps avoid excessive contradictions between reviewers, though some level of disagreement is normally tolerated; so when responding to such reviews, you need to use your judgement to decide how to deal with some such contractions (see below for more details of course expectations with this process).
The proposal must include:
A clear, concise title.
A short, one paragraph summary.
An introduction including research and literature context, a clear statement of the research problem (this should clearly develop into clearly stated and justified research aim, objectives, questions, hypotheses etc. Not all of these will be specified in the proposal – this will depend on the type of research project).
Overview of the literature demonstrating where the proposed research will contribute.
Philosophical and methodological issues relevant to your study (this would normally involve positioning your research methodologically and providing a rationale for your overall approach.
Research design and plan (include details of time-plan, sample, specific methods and techniques, timeplan, limitations etc).
Overview of the projects ethical issues and consideration of how these can be addressed.
Assessment criteria for research proposal
1. Conceptual & theoretical framework
2. Research problem
3. Paradigmatic approach and orientation
4. Proposed Research methods
5. Quality of written presentation
PEER REVIEW EXERCISE.
A key part of the professional researcher’s ‘job’ is to assess the work of other researchers. There are two main aspects of this:
Firstly, more experienced researchers are expected to support, guide and mentor their less experienced colleagues – the most obvious example of this ‘at work’ is the student-supervisor relationship in programs like Honours and MBRs (as well as MPhil and PhD programs). An important part of this is offering feedback and advice.
Secondly, researchers have a practical and ethical role in assessing other researchers work. At its most formal, this is demonstrated in the peer review process, with a researcher’s peers evaluating the quality of work that is submitted for publication, presentation or for funding applications. There are other examples of this type of assessment, such as editors of journals and, indeed, researchers ‘reviewing’ the literature in their own research dissemination.
It is never too early to develop your skills in critiquing others’ research, so all participants in the RM course will be required to provide (confidential) reviews of their colleague’s work. The cohort will practice this skill in class discussions, culminating in everyone providing a written report of one of your coursemate’s draft proposal. The course coordinator will also review these drafts and combine both reviews to provide constructive feedback on the draft proposal.
To do this effectively, it is essential to provide constructive criticism.
You should provide qualitative, written feedback based on the criteria below. You are not required to provide a percentage mark, but it is important to give an overall assessment, based on your holistic evaluation of the proposal, using the following criteria:
1=very poor, no real chance of completion
2=the proposal has some potential but there is insufficient information and/or problematic information; recommend major review before approval can be given
3=the proposal is worthwhile and has a number of strengths, but some areas of weakness require attention before approval can be given.
4=a solid proposal that is likely to develop into a sound project; demonstrates adequate engagement with both disciplinary literature and methodological awareness.
5=a very good proposal that inspires some confidence in the research project; demonstrates adequate engagement with both disciplinary literature and methodological awareness; at least one of these areas is outstanding.
6=an outstanding proposal demonstrating critical engagement with both disciplinary literature and methodological awareness.
a) Title: (i) Is the title appropriate? Is it specific enough to suggest to someone scanning through a list of titles what this research is about? (ii) How may the title be improved?
b) Introduction: (i) How well does the introduction explain and introduce the topic area and research project (aims and context)
c) Literature overview: (i) How thorough is the literature overview? (ii) How well does it support and guide the planned research? (iii) Are there any obvious omissions in this literature review? (iv) What can be improved in the literature review?
d) Method/Methodology: (i) How well is the research approach/method supported by methodological theory? (ii) Is the population/sample/delimitation clear and appropriate? (iii) How well and clearly has the analysis been described? (iii) Is there sufficient detail in the method and analysis for a person reading this paper to understand what was done and undertake similar research of their own? (iv) How can this method section be improved?
e) What is the likely contribution of the research?
f) Please identify the key strengths of the proposal and your specific suggestions for improvement
g) Please identify specific errors (if any); these could include:
referencing errors (eg citations not matching reference lists; inconsistency of style; missing information)
examples of grammatical/spelling errors and typos (limited examples only, do not specify all such errors – explanation of such errors is important)
Please do not annotate the original proposal that you are reviewing. So, you should only submit your review proforma, duly completed in Microsoft word.
Please do refer to specific line numbers in your review.
1. Critical evaluation
2. Constructive recommendations
3. Quality of written presentation
RESEARCH PROPOSAL PRESENTATION
All participants are required to prepare and deliver a short presentation of their research proposal to the school at the end of 1st semester. This is scheduled to take place during the last week of formal classes.
The main purpose is to obtain valuable feedback and suggestions for improvements to your research design from more experienced researchers. The presentations will be relatively short so it is essential for candidates to prepare well (in particular, you should avoid ‘death by overhead’ – keeping visual aids few, , informative, clear and uncluttered); it is a good idea to give a short introduction, outlining your research aim and rationale; a crisp overview of the key literature (ideally showing how your plans ‘fit’ into it; a critical introduction to your methodological approach; clear and specific methods/techniques, with particular attention to planned sampling strategy, data collection and data analysis/interpretation; and, of course, ethical issues and research limitations/delimitations.
You will be required to address audience questions at the same time as receiving their feedback/comments. It is a good idea to solicit feedback to particular issues/challenges/questions that have arisen during your preparation – do make good use of your more experienced audience.
You can prepare a small number of powerpoint slides, or other visual aids, to support/illustrate your presentation – do take care not to keep these clear, relevant and helpful to the audience. You should upload your slides in a single file to myuni at the latest by 1:00pm on the day preceding your presentation.
Assessment Criteria for Proposal Presentation:
1. Theoretical focus and content (literature, research aim, methodology, methods etc)
2. Proposal Cohesion and Development
3. Clarity of presentation
4. Quality of discussion/questions generated and answered
RESPONDING TO PEER REVIEW
Another important skill for researchers to master (and not an easy one – it involves the ability to react positively to critical feedback, acknowledge potential weaknesses, reflect on ongoing learning and engage in scholarly discussion in written and spoken form) is engaging with and responding to the reviews, criticism and advice of your peers. It is not always a comfortable experience to have the shortcomings of your work made explicit by a reviewer – especially as you might well disagree (often strongly) with such criticisms.
A key idea to bear in mind is that this sort of feedback can offer considerable contribution to the success of your research; it is also crucial that you do not take what is said personally. One way to think of this is that your reviewers are trying to help you improve your work (even if it doesn’t always seem that way). Remember, they are not criticising you, but the research. This is especially so in this sort of course – remember we have a relatively short period of time to go through all the stages of proposal preparation, review and revision. Because of this, we recognise your draft proposal is likely to be submitted earlier than would be ideal. Thus you will also need to clarify which revisions resulted from your ‘normal’ learning in the course, rather than from reviewer feedback.
It is often a good idea to consult with a colleague before you start to respond to reviewers – in this case, a good place to start is your supervisor. After all, your supervisor will be quite familiar with your plans by this stage.
So, where do you start? You will need to carefully consider each criticism, recommendation and requirement – remember, in most cases, the reviewers will get to see your response so tact and care is always important. It is not a good idea to alienate them by rudeness or dismissive comments about their feedback.
A key task is to decide which recommendations must be followed (ie what are the formal requirements), which suggestions you agree would improve your work and which you can (tactfully) reject – remember, any such rejections will need careful justification. These decisions are challenging and you might well change your mind as you proceed. From personal experience, I normally find that most reviewer suggestions can enhance my own work – though not all!
Always keep a careful record of changes made to a document – it is a good idea to use ‘track changes’ though it can get very complicated and messy later in the revision process. Also, ensure that you keep a ‘response’ document – I tend to set this out like a table with one column including all the reviewer comments and he second column being your notes (and later, your response); always respond to every point made to avoid any delay in the next stage. Clarity and comprehensiveness are crucial here – remember, Journal editors, funding body chairs, conference coordinators etc rely on this information to decide whether to accept your revisions, reject your submission, return it for further clarification/revision or resend to the original or new reviewers. In this case, the assessment process is largely based on this response – it is equally weighted with the actual revisions made, so do take care.
For this assignment, please combine all the documents into a single word document and submit it through the myuni website. This should include three elements: 1) a ‘clean’ (all track changes ‘accepted’) version of the proposal, 2) one version with track changes remaining and 3) your ‘response to reviewers’ document.
1.Revisions made to original document
2. Critical and reflective engagement with reviewer feedback
3. Quality of written presentation
Submission1. You should submit your proposal on myuni within the submission deadline. Your submission must include:
a. One copy of the proposal original draft proposal that includes all track-changes made following the review/feedback received
b. One ‘clean’ copy (ie with all track-changes ‘accepted’) of the final, revised proposal
c. Your full response to reviewers.
2. You should include all the required material (detailed above) in a single word file.
3. All written assignments must be submitted on myuni through the relevant link, preferably each should be submitted as a single word document.
4. Extensions to the due date of written assessments may be granted under special circumstances. An extension request based on illness or on exceptional personal circumstances must be made using the appropriate form (inline with the university’s assessment policy), available from: https://www.adelaide.edu.au/student/exams/forms
5. Students applying for an extension based on medical reasons must visit their medical practitioner, with the approved University form, and have the medical practitioner complete it. A normal doctor's certificate will not be accepted.
6. Please note that all requests for extensions should be directed in writing to the course coordinator no later than 48 hours before the due date. Extension requests after this time will only be granted for exceptional circumstances. This does not include poor time management or poor file management.
7. All assignments are to be lodged at, or prior to, the due date and time. A late assignment where no extension has been granted will be penalised by a reduction of 5 marks for each day, or part of a day, that it is late.
8. Assessment marks will be provided on the course myuni site. Students are encouraged to check their marks and notify their tutor and the course coordinator of any discrepancies.
9. Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted.
10. All individual assignments must be attached to an Assignment Cover Sheet that must be signed and dated by the student before submission. Lecturers will withhold students’ results until such time as the student has signed the Assignment Cover Sheet.
11. Students may not submit work for an assignment that has previously been submitted for this course or any other course.
Markers can refuse to accept assignments that do not have a signed acknowledgement of the University’s Academic Conduct Policy: www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/230/
Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
M11 (Honours Mark Scheme) Grade Grade reflects following criteria for allocation of grade Reported on Official Transcript Fail A mark between 1-49 F Third Class A mark between 50-59 3 Second Class Div B A mark between 60-69 2B Second Class Div A A mark between 70-79 2A First Class A mark between 80-100 1 Result Pending An interim result RP Continuing Continuing CN
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.
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 (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) 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.
- Academic Support with Maths
- Academic Support with writing and speaking skills
- Student Life Counselling Support - Personal counselling for issues affecting study
- International Student Support
- AUU Student Care - Advocacy, confidential counselling, welfare support and advice
- Students with a Disability - Alternative academic arrangements
- Reasonable Adjustments to Teaching & Assessment for Students with a Disability Policy
- LinkedIn Learning
Policies & Guidelines
This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.
- Academic Credit Arrangement Policy
- Academic Honesty Policy
- Academic Progress by Coursework Students Policy
- Assessment for Coursework Programs
- Copyright Compliance Policy
- Coursework Academic Programs Policy
- Elder Conservatorium of Music Noise Management Plan
- Intellectual Property Policy
- IT Acceptable Use and Security Policy
- Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessment
- Student Experience of Learning and Teaching Policy
- Student Grievance Resolution Process
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.
The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.