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HMT4005 Research Design

Semester 1, 2016 Online
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Arts and Communication
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 100700 - Communication & Media Studies

Contents on this page


Examiner: Jessica Gildersleeve


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: BAHN or BCAH or MARA

Other requisites

Students will require access to e-mail and have internet access to UConnect for this course. This course is designed for students preparing to undertake a large research project (eg thesis or exegesis). It assumes that students have an idea for this project in mind at the beginning of the course.


Honours and Masters level students currently undertaking communications, creative arts, humanities and social sciences theses and research projects require knowledge of a range of techniques for researching and writing the thesis. The student needs to be able to survey a field of literature, identify a research problem, decide on research objectives and select appropriate method/s to carry out the research. Students also need to ensure epistemological consistency between their aims, methodologies, data collection and analysis of results in a manner appropriate to their discipline areas.


This course explores the practical skills and methodological choices necessary and available to researchers in communications, creative arts, humanities and social sciences. It examines the processes and requirements of research project management, including articulating a research focus, finding and reviewing relevant literature, and structuring and presenting a long research project in both written and oral form. It also looks at different methods, methodologies and theories and discusses their values and uses for developing research in these disciplines.


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

  1. identify a unique research question or problem
  2. demonstrate an understanding of how academic theses are presented and planned
  3. critique existing research from a range of critical perspectives
  4. evaluate and defend a methodology of research appropriate to their chosen topic
  5. apply an understanding of the appropriate use of informed consent and ethical clearance documentation
  6. present an overview of their proposed project.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Research in the discipline areas 25.00
2. Structure and argument 20.00
3. Reviewing the literature 20.00
4. Understanding and selecting method and methodology 25.00
5. Presenting the thesis 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. (

  • Texts and Materials will be advised by staff in the Honours program and will be available for download from the Study Desk page.

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.
  • Anderson, J & Poole, M 2001, Assignment and thesis writing, 4th edn, John Wiley & Sons, Milton, Qld.
  • Ballenger, B 2015, The curious researcher: a guide to writing research papers, 8th edn, Allyn & Bacon, Needham Heights, MA.
  • Barzun, J & Graff, H 2004, The modern researcher, 6th edn, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, San Diego.
  • Burkle-Young, FA & Maleny, SR 1997, The research guide for the digital age: a new handbook for researching and writing for the serious s, University Press of America, Lanham, MD.
  • Clarke, A 1999, Evaluation research: an introduction to principles, methods and practice, Sage, London.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Directed Study 30.00
Private Study 135.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
WORKING ABSTRACT 100 20 21 Mar 2016
ESSAY 100 35 02 May 2016
METHODOLOGICAL OVERVIEW 100 45 23 May 2016 (see note 1)

  1. Assignment must be submitted online by this date. Recorded assignments from online students will be uploaded to Study Desk for feedback and discussion.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

    External and Online:
    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:
    Not applicable

  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

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.