Course Title: Research Methods for Sciences

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Research Methods for Sciences

Credit Points: 12.00


Terms

Course Code

Campus

Career

School

Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)

ONPS2489

City Campus

Research

135H Applied Sciences

Face-to-Face

Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016

Flexible Terms

Course Code

Campus

Career

School

Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)

ONPS2489

City Campus

Research

171H School of Science

Face-to-Face

RSCHYr2017 ()

Course Coordinator: Prof. Gary Bryant

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2139

Course Coordinator Email: gary.bryant@rmit.edu.au


Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

A body of knowledge that includes the understanding of recent developments in one or more disciplines at a level equivalent to honours.
Knowledge of research principles and methods applicable to the relevant field of research.
 


Course Description

This course will enable higher degree by research candidates to plan and conduct advanced research in order to create new knowledge in the sciences. In this course HDR candidates will:
• Further develop their knowledge of the principles and practice of research in their field.
• Be exposed to a range of literature pertinent to their research area.
• Deepen their understanding of the broad range of methods and techniques for research in the sciences, and the processes for critically evaluating each method for the purposes of designing a research project.
• Refine their critical and creative thinking and communication skills to the high level required from professional researchers in these fields.
 


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

By the end of this course HDR candidates should be able to:
• Critically evaluate a range of research methods and techniques and be able to create a convincing written rationale for selecting them.
• Craft research questions pertinent to their field, based on an understanding of their scientific speciality and extensive knowledge of the relevant literature.
• Design a research project of appropriate scope for a higher degree by research candidature.
• Write a literature review which supports a research project and states clearly the project’s contribution to knowledge.
 



Overview of Learning Activities

During this course candidates will participate in a range of learning activities selected from: lectures, tutorials, online exercises, workshops and symposia.

You will be introduced to a range of literature in this course and will be expected to research other material as necessary to complete the assessment.


This course will introduce you to a range of research methods commonly used in the sciences. A range of questions will be used to frame the exploration of each method:

• What is this method? Who normally uses it and for what kinds of projects?
• What sort of data are collected using this method and how is it analysed?
• How is knowledge made using this method? What counts as ‘evidence’ and ‘rigour’ and how should these be interpreted?
In addition to introducing a range of methods we will spend time discussing and exploring how to:
• Plan and scope a research project and write a research proposal (including the scientific, ethical, OHS and IP issues related to your proposed project).
• Select the appropriate method(s) to use in your research project.
• Search and select literature to support your research project.
• Frame appropriate research questions
• Use appropriate technology to support the collection and storage of research data and any relevant references.
 


Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems.
You will be provided with a list of learning resources at the beginning of the course, and will be expected to build on these through your own literature searches.
 


Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes.
Assessment of this course will be chosen from:
1. A written literature review, using journal publications and other academic writing, that use methods pertinent to your field of research.
2. A research plan which outlines the research the candidate intends to pursue in their thesis, including: the research questions to be asked; the scope of the research; the method(s) that will be used as well as a rationale for these methods; and other details relevant to your research field. This document will form the bulk of the written material required for your first candidature milestone.
3. Presentation of a seminar explaining your work to researchers in your discipline, demonstrating your skills in presenting a research problem, reviewing the current literature, and discussing the methodological approach to conduct a scientific investigation.
4. A written log of all talks and seminars presented by you to your research group or elsewhere, along with any feedback received for improvement. This should include any copies of abstracts submitted to meetings and a record of any other external or internal training events attended. It should also include visits to external labs with a brief description of the training or skills acquired there. This will record your wider transferable skills. It should be reviewed and signed off by your supervisor.
Although not assessed, a further requirement for completion of this course will be the attendance at a minimum number of discipline/school research seminars.
If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.
Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies and procedures which are described and referenced in a single document which can be found here.