Course Title: Conduct field research into natural and cultural resources

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2012

Course Code: HUSO5098C

Course Title: Conduct field research into natural and cultural resources

School: 155T Vocational Health and Sciences

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5161 - Diploma of Conservation and Land Management

Course Contact: Bruce Partland

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 99258323

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Nominal Hours: 200

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

This Course is offered in the second year of the 2 year Diploma in Conservation & Land Management.
Successful completion of the Field Research element of this Course will require an awareness of past and contemporary Aboriginal issues, and a high degree of sensitivity in the planning, undertaking and reporting of the field research undertaken.
As such, attendance at all the initial Cultural Awareness activities listed in the Timetable, is ESSENTIAL. Non attendance will disqualify you from attending the Field Research activity and from any chance of successfully completing this Course.

Course Description

This competency standard covers the process of conducting field research into natural and cultural resources for resource management and related purposes. This work is often done prior to, or in conjunction with the development of a resource management plan. It requires the ability to review existing knowledge, identify stakeholders, develop a research approach, conduct field investigations, develop process for involving decision-makers and report on the field investigation. Conducting field research into natural and cultural resources requires knowledge of relevant legislation, charters, Codes of Practice relating to natural and cultural resource areas, ecology, geological and biological diversity, population dynamics and control approaches, accepted scientific processes and historical research processes, and links between Indigenous heritage and natural resources.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

RTD5502A Conduct field research into natural and cultural resources


1. Review existing knowledge

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Existing information gathered through investigation and enterprise recording processes is examined to determine key features.
1.2 Oral evidence, where it exists, is reviewed.
1.3 Sites are inspected to assess condition and availability of further information.
1.4 Information, records and places previously destroyed or damaged or under threat are identified as factors to be incorporated in the assessment process, strategies and plans.
1.5 Scope of information is assessed for adequacy against the requirements of legislation, Codes of Practice and protocols.
1.6 Appropriate database, geographic information system and other electronic and manual recording systems are identified for data collection according to enterprise procedures.
1.7 Sources of expertise in research environments, identification of pollution, degradation and disturbance, and national and international issues and agreements are identified and accessed
within and external to the enterprise.
1.8 Areas of inadequate information are identified and recorded.


2. Identify stakeholders

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Stakeholders are identified in conjunction with local communities and groups, and government documentation and interviews.
2.2 The current and relevant past land tenure for the place/area is investigated and recorded.
2.3 Indigenous interests are determined through culturally appropriate approaches to regional and community organisations and individuals.
2.4 Proper protocols are applied and key consultations conducted in approaches to regional and community organisations and individuals.
2.5 Privacy requirements are complied within, according to the directions of stakeholders and according to legislative and enterprise requirements.
2.6 Process of identifying stakeholders may be completed under the direction of a relevant cultural reference group.


3. Develop research approach

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Objectives of the field research are determined in conjunction with those commissioning the research according to enterprise procedures.
3.2 Objectives are used to identify specific types of investigation, techniques to be used, and physical areas of investigation.
3.3 The types of investigation and techniques selected are assessed for hazards and risks in designated environment, including the special OHS requirements, access issues, and management of the research in a range of weather and area conditions.
3.4 Existing information and data records are reviewed to determine the starting point(s) for the fieldwork.
3.5 Research methodology is consistent with the research objectives and in accordance with established natural resource management practice.
3.6 Required resources are identified to establish and maintain the research program within the required time schedules and are appropriate to the environments that will be encountered.
3.7 Personnel are selected for their competency in research techniques and safe operation in the expected environmental/cultural conditions.
3.8 Stakeholders to be included in the consultation process are identified.
3.9 Costs of field research are estimated and submitted for approval according to enterprise procedures.
3.10 Sampling and recording processes are established for research information according to enterprise requirements, best practice and scientific standards.


4. Conduct field investigations

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Consultation and fieldwork undertaken to obtain information required to meet investigation objectives.
4.2 Previously determined methodology is adjusted in light of progressive results and stakeholder feedback.
4.3 Observations, records and monitoring are in accord with scientific practice and coordinated to meet research objectives.
4.4 Impacts from areas external to area under investigation are identified.
4.5 Equipment, techniques and people deployed to carry out investigations.
4.6 Each field operation is documented and approved according to legislative and enterprise requirements for work in the research environment.
4.7 Where required, appropriate equipment and skills are sourced for the capture, management and sampling of animal species.
4.8 Information is analysed for impact on previously held hypothesis and other resources.


5. Develop process for involving decision makers

Performance Criteria:

5.1 Information on stakeholders is used to determine interests held by organisations, groups and individuals, and cultural dimensions.
5.2 Issues to be addressed with interest groups are defined.
5.3 Consultation and decision-making process is developed to address the issues with individuals, groups and organisations in a culturally appropriate manner.
5.4 Appropriate time is provided for consultative processes within groups and between individuals to occur and to obtain feedback on issues.
5.5 Decision-making group, such cultural reference groups and other groups are formed where assistance is required to direct investigation, access information, to address issues and/or review the significance of place/area.


6. Report on field investigations

Performance Criteria:

6.1 Results of investigations are presented in a format that addresses the research objectives according to enterprise guidelines.
6.2 Stakeholders are consulted on draft findings.
6.3 The basis for the determination of outcomes is documented to legislative requirements, the organisation's policies and practices, and international and national processes.
6.4 The determination of significance is submitted to the organisation and its external review processes, as required by legislation and Codes of Practice

Learning Outcomes

Details of Learning Activities

1. Cultural awareness activities (Bunjilaka at the Melbourne Museum; Wurundjeri land council and Koorie Heritage trust)

2. Establishing appropriate protocols for conducting research in the field

3. Familiarisation with relevant legislation

4. In class lectures on plants, animals, geology

5. Field trips to familiarise students with the range of cultural resources open to research.

6. A 5 day Field Trip to a culturally significant area to research the natural and cultural resources of an Aboriginal Group.

Teaching Schedule

Semester 1:

Tuesday: 2 hour lecture

Friday: 3 hour lecture and occassional all day Field Trip.

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

An array of Resources will be presented in class and on Blackboard.

HOWEVER it should be noted that an important component of this Course is the development of personal research skills.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment activities include:

1. An oral class presentation on an assigned topic;

2. Competent completion of a series of Worksheets associated with local field trips

3. Analysis of Field trip data

4. A major report on the 5 day Field Trip

5. A Research Plan for a hypothetical field research project.

For a Grade to be awarded in this Course competency must be achieved for all the above Assessment items listed above.

Assessment Tasks

1. A Research protocol (Marks available: 10)

2. Test (40)

3. Major report: A cultural landscape: Lifestyles and land-use patterns in response to resource availability in the western plains of victoria (50)

Assessment Matrix

Course Overview: Access Course Overview