Course Title: Research Methods and Scientific Communication

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Research Methods and Scientific Communication

Credit Points: 24.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018

Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Sarah Spencer

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7745

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

In this course you will learn scientific methodologies required to undertake a research project and the skills to identify and critically evaluate scientific literature related to your project topic.

Through workshops, seminars and supervisor guidance you will develop greater understanding and skills in the following research methods:

  • Ethics in biomedical research.
  • Occupational health and safety in biomedical research.
  • Research project data collection, processing and statistical analysis.
  • Time management and record-keeping for biomedical research.
  • Critical evaluation of oral scientific presentations across a variety of biomedical areas.
  • Critical evaluation of published scientific research related to your research project.
  • Skills to identify scientific knowledge gaps and begin to develop research hypotheses related to your research project.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for BH058 Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Honours):

PLO1 Understanding Science:

  • Understand the scientific method and an ability to apply the scientific method in practice.

PLO2 Scientific knowledge

  • Acquire advanced knowledge in at least one specialised area of your chosen discipline.
  • Demonstrate integration of knowledge from across the disciplines contributing to biomedical science.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of research principles and methodology appropriate to your discipline.

PLO3 Inquiry and problem solving

  • Gather, critically evaluate and synthesise information from a range of sources relevant
    to a scientific research topic.
  • Be able to concisely state research questions to define a biomedical science problem, and formulate hypotheses to design and plan a research project.
  • Be able to choose appropriate tools and methods to solve scientific problems within your area of specialisation.

PLO4 Communication

  • Ability to communicate scientific information and the results of your research project using oral, written and presentation skills using appropriate scientific language for the intended audience

PLO5 Personal and professional responsibility:

  • Demonstrate accountability for your own learning and professional conduct.

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

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of research training requirements for your research project.
  2. Perform research, record scientific data and disseminate research findings according to Australian government regulations.
  3. Employ appropriate statistical analysis to your research project data.
  4. Use electronic resources to scope the relevant scientific literature in your project area.
  5. Organise and integrate relevant scientific knowledge into a coherent and logical evaluation.
  6. Write a literature review using accepted scientific writing practices.
  7. Reference published scientific literature according to recognised academic protocols and prepare a bibliography suitable for a scientific publication.
  8. Demonstrate an ability to critically discuss primary scientific data in your research project area.
  9. Critically evaluate oral research presentations across a variety of discipline areas.

Overview of Learning Activities

You will participate in a series of workshops led by scientists or experts in each of the topic areas. The workshops will generally require you to attempt a task in preparation for the workshop. During the workshops you will discuss the topics and develop skills that can be used throughout you research project. Workshop participation and preparation provides a practice and development area for advanced research skills. You will attend and participate in the School Research seminar series and keep a seminar diary by writing abstracts of different scientific seminars. Workshops covering online reference search engines and databases, and scientific writing are designed to develop your practical skills to use in self-directed review of the literature for written presentation. Discussion with supervisors will allow you to develop a comprehension of the significance of the literature in regard to your research project.

Total study hours: 18 hours per week comprising workshops, seminars, and independent study.

Overview of Learning Resources

Supervisor and School academics.

RMIT University and School of Health and Biomedical Sciences research laboratories and facilities.

Honours program workshops.

School research seminar series.

RMIT library resources.

Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Task 1: Participation in scheduled workshops and completion of seminar diaries, and supervisor project progress reports.  Workshops and review of diaries will provide formative feedback on a variety of advanced research skills.

Weighting 20%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3 & 9

Assessment Task 2: Project Outline seminar. You will present a short seminar that outlines your research project. You will be examined by several RMIT academic staff. Assessment will be on the quality of communication, slide design and clarity, coherence of presentation and ability to answer questions. Feedback will be provided to students. An assessment rubric will be available via myRMIT

Weighting 40%

This assessment task supports CLOs 3, 4, 5 & 8

Assessment Task 3: Literature review. You will submit a literature review for assessment by RMIT academic staff that will be graded according to content, critical assessment of the literature, organisation, presentation and references. A grading rubric will be available via myRMIT. Your supervisor will provide feedback on the planning and drafting of your proposed literature review. Supervisor editorial comment is limited to 2 drafts.

Weighting 40%

This assessment task supports CLOs 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8