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ENG8001 Engineering and Surveying Research Methodology

Semester 1, 2012 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Engineering & Surveying
School or Department : Faculty of Engineering & Surveying

Contents on this page


Examiner: John Billingsley
Moderator: Nigel Hancock


Whether completing an undergraduate course at honours level or embarking on postgraduate research, a student must be equipped to understand some essential research fundamentals. The student must appreciate the appropriateness of writing style and expression, particularly for the purpose of preparing a project proposal or submitting a paper to a learned journal. The student must be conversant with ethical issues, particularly with the need to report results honestly, to avoid plagiarism and to acknowledge source material in a proper manner. The student must understand the planning, purpose and significance of data collection, with insight into methods of extracting meaningful conclusions from it.


The course provides students with the ability to (critically) evaluate research literature including conference papers and journal articles in order to determine the current state of knowledge. In addition, the course will instruct students in the principles of research to enable them to conduct research and prepare an original project in their professional area of interest. Students will be instructed how to propose and justify an appropriate research plan for a particular research problem, to choose and apply appropriate methodology, to judge the degree to which conclusions are supported by data, to judge the logical consistency of written material and evaluate the outcome of a research project in terms of useable knowledge, and to design, defend and evaluate research proposals, and to apply techniques for writing clear and well expressed technical papers and reports.


The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course. On completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. use information systems effectively;
  2. judge the degree to which conclusions are supported by data and the logical consistency of written material, and to write a critical review of the relevant literature;
  3. understand and analyse the ethical issues raised in a range of research situations, and have a clear appreciation of the foundations of ethics in research;
  4. propose and justify an appropriate research plan for a particular research problem;
  5. choose and apply an appropriate experimental design to a particular research problem;
  6. perform numerical analyses;
  7. understand and apply a range of standard techniques for instrumentation and data acquisition;
  8. understand the principles of good writing, and be able to analyse and edit technical papers written by others;
  9. prepare a well written and concise research paper or report;
  10. develop and write a research proposal for their discipline area;
  11. (if appropriate) commence their project (course ENG8002 Project and Dissertation) in the semester following based on the proposal developed.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Research in Engineering and Surveying 3.00
2. Information Systems 5.00
3. Literature Surveys and Reviews 8.00
4. Ethical Issues 10.00
5. Preparation of Research Plans 5.00
6. Instrumentation and Data Acquisition 4.00
7. Design of experiments and statistical analysis 20.00
8. Good writing and analysis of technical papers 15.00
9. Writing Research Papers and Reports 5.00
10. Development of Research Proposals 25.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Consult the web course page to see how to download the textbook.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Coley, SM & Scheinberg, CA 2007, Proposal writing, 3rd edn, Newbury Sage Publications.
  • Day, RA 2006, How to write and publish a scientific paper, 6th edn, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Leedy, PD 2005, Practical research: planning and design, 8th edn, Merrill Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.
  • Montgomery, DC 2004, Design and analysis of experiments, 6th edn, Wiley & Sons, New York.
  • Pease, A & Dunn, P 1994, Write language: the new secrets of writing letters that really work, Heinemann Asia, Singapore.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 30.00
Directed Study 33.00
Lectures and Tutorials 30.00
Private Study 52.00
Report Writing 20.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 100 10 03 Apr 2012
ASSIGNMENT 2 100 10 21 May 2012
RESEARCH PROPOSAL 800 80 08 Jun 2012

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.. No assignments will be accepted after model answers have been posted.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade in a course a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks (or grades) obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Not applicable.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  6. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded the temporary grade: IM (Incomplete - Make up). An IM grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non-directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  10. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide. //