Course Title: Conduct field research into natural and cultural resources

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2013

Course Code: ENVI5076C

Course Title: Conduct field research into natural and cultural resources

School: 155T Vocational Health and Sciences

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5305 - Diploma of Conservation and Land Management

Course Contact: Namrita Kaul

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4309

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

The teacher for this Course is Bruce Partland

Contact details:

Phone: 99258323


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

There are none

Course Description

This unit covers the process of conducting field research into natural resource and cultural areas for resource management and related purposes and defines the standard required to: use a range of electronic and manual recording systems to support research; identify stakeholders including current tenure, Indigenous history and community interest; review existing knowledge; develop research objectives, staff, resources and design; conduct field investigations to investigate impacts on fauna, flora and natural resources of the site; report on the field investigation.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

AHCILM501A 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 the field investigation

Performance Criteria:

6.1. Stakeholders are consulted on draft findings.
6.2. The basis for the determination of outcomes is documented to legislative requirements, the organisation's policies and practices, and international and national processes.
6.3. 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. Classroom-based lectures (see Timetable)

2. Self-directed  research in computer labs during class time.

3. Short Field trips during class time

4. A number of 1 day field trips (see Timetable)

5. A compulsory 5 day field trip to conduct research. (This will take place from Monday 6th May - Friday 10th May. You should plan well in advance to attend this Field Trip. It will not be possible to complete the requirements of this Course if you are unable to attend).

Teaching Schedule

 Course: HUSO5098C: Conduct field research into natural & cultural resources

11/2 Introduction to the Training Package
Overview: Aboriginal history with emphasis on Victoria
What are ‘natural’ and ‘cultural resources’? What is a “sacred site”?
Where are you from? (Aboriginal place names; Clan & Language groups; Cultural sites)
13/2 Mini assessment 1 (Student presentations): Where I’m from.

18/2 Review Existing Knowledge (1)
What is cultural heritage?
ICOMOS / Burra Charter / Indigenous Heritage; Statements of significance
20/2 Review Existing knowledge (2)
Cultural heritage in the vicinity of RMIT (European and Aboriginal)

Wk 3

25/2 F/T1 Field Trip 1: (am) Walkin’ Birrarung (Contemporary interpretation of a ‘cultural landscape’
Mini Assessment 2: (Blackboard Quiz) Components of Cultural Heritage & it’s application

Koori plants and their uses (Guest speaker?)

Week 4
4/3 Developing a research protocol (2): Identifying stakeholders
Making 10 canoes (DVD)
Student Exercise: Develop a research protocol
6/3 Mini Assessment 3 due: Research protocol
(Bruce away)

Week 5

13/3 Conducting Field investigations: Preliminary research (Wurundjeri)
First Australians DVD

Week 6 (18/3)
F/T2 Field Trip 2 Conducting Field Investigations (1) Wurundjeri: Sites Tour (ALL DAY)??.

20/3 Cultural resources (1): Tangible and Intangible cultural resources (AAV Fact Sheets)
Stone tools / weapons
Housing and shelter

Week 7
25/3 Mini Assessment 4 (In class exercise): Cultural Resources (2): Cultural resources Toolbox-Student exercises (Stone Tools; Coastal and Freshwater middens, Historic places etc )
27/3 Sources of knowledge (1) Visit to State Library (Readings, oral histories, old photos, Diaries, Reports, Historic artwork, manuscripts, settlement of Melbourne.etc.

Week 8


Week 9 8/4
F/T3 Field Trip 3:Conducting Field Investigations (2)- Bundoora Site visit: Cultural site recognition, recording and conservation (Scarred Trees)
10/4 Koorie Heritage Trust: Collections, Purpose, research facilities.
(Bruce away?)

Week 10 15/4

Legislation (1): The Aboriginal Heritage Act 2008 (AAV Guest speaker)
Mini Assessment 5 ((Due Friday)Student research exercise): RAP’s, Native Title, NT Rights and interests
19/4 Legislation (2) Native Title: The Eddie Mabo story and beyond..
Mini Assessment 5 (due Friday)

Week 11

22/4 Research existing knowledge 1. (Gunditjmara):
EVC’s; Interactive Biodiversity maps; Transient resources: Plants and animal resources
Human imposed patterns on the landscape; Housing; History; Vegetation patterns; Geology; Clan estates; Resource availability; etc
Test preview
24/4 Research existing knowledge 2 (Gunditjmara)
Some History: Critchett; Pascoe; GA Robinson and others.
Geology of the Western Plains

Week 12
29/4 Major Assessment 1: TEST!!

1/5 Research existing Knowledge 3. (Gunditjmara):
Relationships between Geology and Flora / Fauna;
Final preparations for Heywood field trip

Week 13
F/T 4 6/5-10/5 Heywood Field Trip (5 days)

Week 14
13/5 Review knowledge: SW Victoria- a cultural landscape?
Resources: availability, seasonality, sustainability.
15/5 Research existing knowledge:
Research skills (RMIT Library seminar)

Week 15
20/5 Fire as a cultural tool
Mini Assessment 6 : (In class exercise)

23/5 Fire behaviour in the Australian environment
Guest speaker (TBA)

Week 16
27/5 Seminar: An alternative perspective on history
Guest speaker (TBA)
29/5 Research existing knowledge:
Koorie Heritage Trust (Literature Review)

Week 17
3/6 Self-guided research
Working on Assignments
5/6 Self guided research –

Week 18

12/6 Assessment 3: Major Report due - A cultural landscape: Lifestyles and land-use patterns in response to resource availability in the western plains of SW Victoria.

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


A number of References will be introduced during the Semester.

Other Resources

’The First Australians’ DVD set will give you an excellent background to Aboriginal history and issues.

’The Making of 10 canoes’ (Rolf de Heer) provides a fascinating study in the necessary protocols to be followed when researching or otherwise working with Indigenous communities.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course may include reports, individual and group project work, tests  and assignments

Assessment Tasks

Ungraded (Mini) Assessments
1 (13 Feb) Where I’m from (Class presentation)
2 (25 Feb) Cultural heritage & its application (In class Blackboard quiz)
3 (6 March) Develop a Research protocol (Writeup of in-class workshop)
4 (25 March) Cultural Resource Toolbox (In-class Toolbox exercise)
5 (19 April) Heritage & land Title legislation (In-class & Internet research quiz)
6 (20 May) Fire as a cultural tool (In-class research quiz)

NB. The above mini-assessments, although ungraded, must be completed satisfactorily in order to be able to complete the Course. Most of them will be completed during class time. You will be given precise instructions on how to complete these exercises and Quizzes.Taken together they contribute to the background knowledge required to successfully complete the requirements of this Course.

Graded Assessments: (Each worth 50% of final mark)
29 April : Research Plan
12 June:  Major Report based on Heywood Field Trip
NB Details of these Assessments will be given during the first class.

Assessment Matrix

Course Overview: Access Course Overview