Course Title: Research Methods

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Research Methods

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


120H Civil, Environmental & Chemical Engineering


Sem 1 2015,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016


City Campus


172H School of Engineering


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 2 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 2 2018

Course Coordinator: Dr. Srikanth Venkatesan

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 1963

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 10.12.28C

Course Coordinator Availability: as displayed on the office door.

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Completion of structural design and analysis courses in a B.Eng program or demonstration of equivalent capability.

Course Description

This course is intended to represent the first segment (initiation phase) of a research project that you as a structural forensics engineer might be expected to undertake. During this course you will plan your project, conduct a critical review of relevant published material (a “literature review”), and undertake sufficient work to produce some initial findings. You will also be introduced to key competencies of a researcher through lectures and coursework on research methods. The project work will require significant research/investigation and reflection and will also include such aspect as engineering hypothesis, methodology, testing, analysis, drawing conclusions.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the development of the following Program Learning Outcomes.

  • Conduct professional practice with personal autonomy and accountability
  • Preparing for ongoing professional development in becoming a leader in the field of structural forensics engineering
  • Design, implement and disseminate research outcomes for the benefit of peers and wider community

On successful completion of this course you will be able to:

  1. Identify research questions and plan a study to investigate an identified topic associated with structural forensics.
  2. Carry out an extensive literature review on a selected research topic and develop an understanding of how other researchers have addressed similar issues
  3. Identify information required to address the issue and select and locate information from suitable sources such as - libraries, surveys, interviews, laboratory work and correspondence
  4. Collate necessary data for the project and develop a research methodology and a plan to arrive at a solution to the specific problem.
  5. Present your plan to a learned audience and defend it.

Overview of Learning Activities

You will undertake work of several types – typically selected from: analytical, experimental, design or computational (or a combination of these). Learning will take place primarily through your independent research, guided by your supervisor and occasional lectures.
A significant element of originality is essential in your research project. It is essential that you demonstrate the ability to plan an investigation which demonstrates technical engineering research skills.

Overview of Learning Resources

You will typically need to use professional level resources such as specialist books and journals that are accessible in the RMIT library and other major libraries. The internet and course notes may be helpful, but will not be sufficient by themselves to support an entire project at this level. Other resources such as those needed for laboratory activities, or provided by industry may be appropriate – depending on the project.
A research project learning guide (RMIT University) will be provided online.

Overview of Assessment

The assessment of this course will take a range of forms that are appropriate to assess your performance in a range of skills such as planning and management of a project, critical thinking, communication, technical competency relevant to the chosen topic area, and professionalism.
You will be assessed on the project plan, oral presentations and the final first stage report.