Course Title: Research Methods

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Research Methods

Credit Points: 6.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


120H Civil, Environmental & Chemical Engineering

Distance / Correspondence or Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2006

Course Coordinator: Professor Sati Bhattacharya

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3778

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 7:2:10

Course Coordinator Availability: TBA

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

The student should have a degree in Science or Engineering.

Course Description

Module 1: Introduction to Research Methods: Philosophy and practice of research, concept of research methods, procedures for P/G research at RMIT.  Overview of Policy+Procedures book e.g. application form, supervision, duration etc.

Module 2: Workshop on Research Planning and Application: Examples of good and bad proposals

Module 3: Information Flow Database searching techniques: Information retrieval skills, Information gathering- sources and methods focussing on RMIT system.  Computerised systems for database searching, citations, CD roms, Internet etc.

Module 4: Experimental Design: Planning and designing of an experiment.  Formal Methods - Variables to select, noise etc.

Module 5: Computerised methods, spreadsheets, statistical packages, regression methods, good data communication.

Module 6: Thesis Writing: Structure, input of continuous documentaton, logic flow, referencing etc. Desirable for 1 + paper(s) for M.Eng, 2 + paper(s) for PhD.

Module 7: Publications and Patents: Preparation of conference and journal papers, journal choice etc. Desirable for 1 + paper(s) for M.Eng, 2 + paper(s) for PhD. Patents, applications, liabilities, responsibilities.

Module 8: Poster Presentation: Techniques in good communication through posters. (Each P/G to present a poster describing a research project).

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

The objective is to assist students to improve their critical ability to evaluate published work in their disciplines and to make objective judgements about the methodology and intentions of their own research project.  It is the objective to help students develop some appreciation of research in general in a larger context than merely that of the pragmatics of carrying out a research project. 

The other objectives are to develop the students’ confidence in the collection and analysis of data and provide basic guidelines in the preparation of a concise thesis and in the publication of research findings.

Lecture delivery, assignments and assessment tasks in this course are designed to :

  • improve fundamental knowledge of the administrative requirements of a higher degree
  • develop skills, both in analysis and synthesis
  • develop written and oral communication skills
  • increase awareness of the service available to postgraduates
  • improve ability to retrieve information.

Engineering employment requires the capacity to work effectively in teams, to communicate effectively both orally and in writing, and to learn effectively.  In order to prepare students for employment as graduates they will be provided with a quality assured teaching and learning environment which is conductive to the development of adult learning.  Adult learning is characterised by the student accepting responsibility for their own learning and by actively participating in the learning process as individuals and as contributors to teams.  Adult learning is a hallmark of a professional.

Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities will include:

  • Lectures
  • Workshops
  • Hands on demonstraton
  • Poster presentation

These activities aim to encourage student participation in developing suitable questions and solution formulation.  The poster presentation is aimed at students’ professional and personal development.

Overview of Learning Resources

There is no one set text for this course.  The course is made up of separate but research related topics.  Each topic identifies the required reading resourses.  List of references will be provided by lectures offering different topics of this course.

Overview of Assessment

A student will be required to participate in all the subject modules and secure a pass in all assignments.  Individual assignments will  be given in various modules.  Each assignment should be completed and submitted to the lecturer incharge of the module.  Assessment will result in satisfactory (PX) and unsatisfactory (N).