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RSH8000 Introduction to Research

Semester 1, 2015 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts

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Examiner: Melissa Johnson Morgan
Moderator: Jill Lawrence


Postgraduate students working across a range of disciplines and professions need to understand various research methodologies. They need to be able to relate specific research approaches to broader philosophical issues of existence, knowledge, ethics and values. They must be able to develop ethical, feasible and rigorous proposals for conducting effective and useful research.


This course provides an introduction to research for students undertaking postgraduate studies in the Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts. Students will learn about and engage with a number of research paradigms. Students will develop a research proposal that will demonstrate their skills in identifying research problems and devising a robust research plan. Research quality is emphasised throughout the course as students identify an appropriate theoretical framework to underpin their research proposal.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. identify the key elements and parameters of current social research (Assignment 1)
  2. demonstrate understanding of the theoretical paradigms and perspectives underpinning different research approaches and methodologies (Assignment 1)
  3. analyse critically the philosophical dimensions of a variety of research in relevant fields of interest (Assignment 1)
  4. apply critical analysis techniques to reviews of relevant literatures (Assignment 1)
  5. propose contextually relevant data gathering and analysis techniques (Assignment 2)
  6. design an ethically appropriate research proposal (Assignment 2)
  7. develop a high quality and rigorous research proposal (Assignment 2)
  8. demonstrate appropriate research presentation and communication skills (Assignment 2).


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction to social research 5.00
2. Research theoretical paradigms and perspectives 15.00
3. Ontology, epistemology, methodology and axiology in research methodologies 10.00
4. Theory and the critical review of literature 15.00
5. Research design 15.00
6. Research ethics and politics 15.00
7. Identifying and evaluating research quality and rigour 15.00
8. Research design presentation and communication 10.00

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. (

  • Somekh, B & Lewin, C (eds) 2011, Theory and methods in social research, 2nd edn, Sage Publications, London.

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.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 70.00
Directed Study 50.00
Private Study 50.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 40 40 29 Apr 2015 (see note 1)
ASSIGNMENT 2 60 60 10 Jun 2015 (see note 2)

  1. research reflection and critique
  2. research proposal

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility 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.

    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.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available 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 aggregate of the weighted marks 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. Students will be advised regarding the referencing style to be used to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The referencing styles used are defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide at //

Other requirements

  1. Students will require access to e-mail and have Internet access to UConnect for this course.