Course Title: Project Planning and Literature Review

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Project Planning and Literature Review

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018

Course Coordinator: Professor Rick Franich

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3390

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 14.6.07

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

It is assumed that if you are undertaking this course, you have appropriate background knowledge in scientific methodology and the area of your project, such as obtained from completion of a Bachelor of Science, Nanotechnology or Engineering degree. 

You are also assumed to have completed or be concurrently enrolled in a postgraduate Research Methods course such as Research Methods BIOL1070, Research Methods BIOL2149, or Research Methods for Sciences ONPS2489.


Course Description

You will be introduced to the process and activities associated with researching and designing a specific research project in your discipline area. 

You will be required to plan a Masters research project, specifying the research questions, objectives, hypothesis, methods and analyses that you will undertake during the project. 

You will conduct a literature review to gain the background knowledge to justify, design and conduct the research project. Your experimental design will also be informed by the published work of others in the field.


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

 This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for MC215 Master of Medical Physics: 

PLO-3             Knowledge of research principles and methods for the maintenance and expansion of your knowledge base and the advancement of capability in a professional environment.

PLO-4             Skills to investigate, analyse and interrogate scientific data to ensure quality control of complex technological systems and to diagnose causes of discrepancies.

PLO-5             Skills to identify problems, generate novel solutions and evaluate their effectiveness.

PLO-6             Communication and research skills to interpret Medical Physics issues and justify decisions for specialist and non-specialist audiences.

PLO-8             Demonstrate the application of knowledge and skills with creativity and initiative to new situations in professional practice in fields related to Medical and Health Physics

PLO-9             Demonstrate the application of knowledge and skills with a high level of personal autonomy and accountability.

PLO-10 Demonstrate the application of knowledge and skills to plan and execute a substantial research-based project as a member of a collaborative team.


This course also contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for MC204 Master of Nanotechnology and Smart Materials:

PLO1. Acquire, investigate, analyse and synthesise complex information, concepts and theories relating to cutting edge developments in nanotechnology and smart materials.

PLO2. Demonstrate advanced knowledge of research principles and methods applicable to future nanotechnology inquiry in theoretical and applied (industry) contexts.


PLO3. Identify and critique aspects of the interdisciplinary nature of nanotechnology research and smart materials development drawing upon their practical experience in state-of-the-art laboratories (including RMIT Micro Nano Research Facility and RMIT Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility).

PLO4. Apply relevant knowledge and skills with intellectual independence, creativity and initiative to solve problems and devise solutions to contemporary and emerging, local and global challenges in the field of nanotechnology and smart materials.

PLO5. Exhibit requisite communication skills to disseminate research findings appropriate to the intended audience and the medium of communication.

PLO6. Adhere to appropriate regulatory frameworks, work safely in cleanroom environments and demonstrate ethical conduct.


On completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Plan and organize a scientific research project
  2. Search databases and find appropriate scientific literature, critically evaluate scientific literature and write a literature review
  3. Develop testable hypotheses
  4. Design plans to test the hypotheses
  5. Analyse and report data in a professional manner


Overview of Learning Activities

You will learn in this course by:

  • Participating in regular meetings with your research supervisors and other members of the discipline or project team;
  • Discussing project objectives and their significance in the wider context to refine your research questions;
  • Keeping meeting notes and minutes, and reviewing notes taken during meetings to ensure progress and expectations are met;
  • Reviewing pertinent literature including scientific papers, theses and textbooks, and providing summary reviews to your research group. 

Your designated supervisor, assisted as necessary by other members of staff, will guide you on a weekly basis in your planning and execution of your research work. You will develop a sense of responsibility for your own learning and have the skills to teach yourself. This includes being able to access and use a variety of learning materials and resources.

Total Study Hours

A total of approximately 120 hours of predominantly learner-directed learning, informed by a regular schedule of supervisor directed meetings and consultation.


Overview of Learning Resources

Current literature and past theses will be used to guide the selection of appropriate aims, methods and analyses.

Overview of Assessment

Note that: This course has no hurdle requirements. 

Assessment for the course will be based on a submitted literature review and a detailed project plan. If you are continuing with the Masters project, Project Planning will form a component of the assessment for the Masters research project. The literature review will form a component of the submitted thesis. The Project Plan will also form a substantial body of content for the thesis.


Assessment Task 1: Research Proposal and Project Plan

Weighting 30%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 3, 4 & 5 

Assessment Task 2: Literature Review

Weighting 40%

This assessment task supports CLOs 2, 4 & 5 

Assessment Task 3: Progress Report including Supervisor’s assessment

Weighting 30%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 4 & 5