Course Title: Foundations of Social Research

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Foundations of Social Research

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


330H Social Science & Planning


Sem 1 2006


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2017,
Sem 2 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 1 2020,
Sem 2 2020,
Sem 1 2021,
Sem 2 2021,
Sem 1 2022,
Sem 2 2022,
Sem 1 2023,
Sem 2 2023,
Sem 1 2024

Course Coordinator: Dr Paul Scriven

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 9598

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Building 8, Level 10, Room 14

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Required Prior Study 

You should have satisfactorily completed one semester of study at an undergraduate level before you commence this course. 

Alternatively, you may be able to demonstrate the required skills and knowledge before you start this course.  

Contact your course coordinator if you think you may be eligible for recognition of prior learning.    

Course Description

This course will introduce you to the key concepts of research in the social sciences. You will develop research literacy skills to understand and critique how social research is produced and used, and some insight into the sorts of decisions and compromises that are made during the research process. You will gain an appreciation for the relationship between research, policy, and practice. You will develop the skills to synthesise and critique knowledge of a chosen topic, and to understand how social research skills can be applied to problems and issues in your field.  

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

In this course you will develop the following program capabilities: 

  • Analyse and evaluate social research 
  • Apply critically reflective thought and analytical thinking to problems 
  • Reflect on the experience of personal and professional practice 
  • Communicate effectively using appropriate formats, media and styles to a range of audiences 


Course Learning Outcomes 

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to: 

  1. Critically reflect on the production of knowledge related to key issues in your discipline
  2. Analyse the ways in which research informs scholarship and practice in your discipline, and shapes policy in your professional field
  3. Synthesise and communicate key findings and limitations of knowledge related to key issues in your discipline
  4. Develop an understanding of how research in your discipline is designed and implemented  

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning activities will include interactive workshop activities focusing on group-based discussion and problem solving tasks. Course learning materials will be made available in a range of formats, which will include lecture videos, set course readings and online media.  In workshops you will also develop academic skills including critical reading and writing. Delivery may be face to face, online or a mix of both.

In order to develop your knowledge and skills, you will be expected to participate in interactive discussions and activities and to thoughtfully engage with the weekly reading materials. The workshops offer a supportive learning environment where you will have the opportunity to share your knowledge and experiences, and to learn from the knowledge and experience your peers. This peer-based learning may take place through small-group discussions, collaborative work on activities and assessments and/or peer reviewing of research, written work and/or oral presentations.


Overview of Learning Resources

Set weekly readings will be made available electronically at the beginning of semester, and it is expected that these are read each week prior to attending class. A range of additional learning content will be made available on the LMS including links to material such as useful academic literature and research design & methods resources. 

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems. 

There are services available to support your learning through the University Library. The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help as well as a range of study support services. For further information, please visit the Library page on the RMIT University website and the myRMIT student portal. 

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 Tasks

    Assessment Task 1: Research Topic, 15%, 500 words, CLO2

    Assessment Task 2: Annotated Bibliography, 35%, 1200 words, CLO1, CLO2 & CLO3

    Assessment Task 3 Literature Review, 50%, 2300 words, CLO1,CLO3 & CLO4

Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

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 Equitable Learning Services if you would like to find out more.

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions.