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

Course Coordinator: Kate Phelan

Course Coordinator Phone: Please email

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Building 8, Level 10

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

At least one semester's study at undergraduate level.

Course Description

This course will introduce key concepts of research in the social sciences. You will acquire the practical skills you will need to implement a range of common methods of data collection and analysis in a range of professional contexts. Emphasis is placed upon practical challenges you may encounter as a professional working with complex social issues and with diverse groups in a research context.

 You will develop a critical awareness of the ways in which social data is produced and used, and some insight into the sorts of decisions and compromises that are made at each stage of the research process. You will gain skills in designing small-scale research projects relevant to your future studies and professional work.


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

 This course will contribute to your development of the following RMIT Graduate attributes:

  • Work ready
  • Global in outlook and confidence
  • Environmentally aware and responsible
  • Culturally and socially aware
  • Active and lifelong learners
  • Innovative




Upon successful completion of the course you will be able to:

  • Describe and evaluate key theoretical and practical approaches to social research
  • Critically analyse and interpret a range of social data and to reflect on the ways in which it has been produced and used
  • Analyse the ways in which social research informs professional practice and public policy in your chosen profession
  • Design and plan small-scale research projects


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 may include lectures, guest speakers and online media. In workshops you will also develop academic skills including analytical reading and academic writing.

In order to develop your knowledge and skills, you will be expected to participate in interactive discussions and activities and to critically 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

You will be given access to a wide range of resources through an online set of course readings and also will be able to access to a wide range of online learning tools and content for your course from the student portal, myRMIT, and RMIT Library resources. These resources will include book chapters, journal articles, media articles, lecture notes, bibliographies for supplementary reading, video, and links to external websites. You will have the opportunity to contribute collectively to class resources by sharing your own research findings and sources with your peers.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the graduate capabilities. Assessment tasks may include, but are not limited to, preparation of a small-scale research plan/proposal, a data analysis exercise, in-class activities and presentations, and a written exam.

Feedback will be provided throughout the semester by your teachers and peers in class and/or online discussions, and through individual and/or group feedback on practical exercises.

  • 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.
  • A student charter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers.
  • Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online: