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ENG8001 Engineering Research Methods

Semester 3, 2019 On-campus Toowoomba
Short Description: Engineering Research Methods
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 039999 - EnginTech not classified
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: John Billingsley


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 2016, Proposal writing: effective grantsmanship, 5th edn, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks.
Day, RA & Gastel, B 2016, How to write and publish a scientific paper, 8th edn, Greenwood, Santa Barbara, CA.
Leedy, PD & Ormrod, JE 2015, Practical research: planning and design, 11th edn, Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ.
Montgomery, DC 2012, Design and analysis of experiments, 8th edn, Wiley, New York.
Pease, A & Dunn, P 2003, Write language: the new secrets of writing letters that really work, Heinemann Asia, Singapore.

Student workload expectations

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 Objectives Assessed Notes
Assignment 100 10 24 Dec 2019 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11
Research Proposal 100 50 04 Feb 2020 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11
Exam 100 40 End S3 7,8,10 (see note 1)

  1. This will be a closed exam. The total working time for the examination is 2 hours. The examination date will be available via UConnect when the official examination timetable has been released.

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 assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-. Students do not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to be awarded a passing grade in this course. Refer to Statement 4 below for the requirements to receive a passing grade in this course.

  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 obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course (i.e. the Primary Hurdle), and have satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), i.e. the end of semester examination by achieving at least 40% of the weighted marks available for that assessment item.

    Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items and has passed the Primary Hurdle but failed to satisfy the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), or has satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised) but failed to achieve a passing Final Grade by 5% or less of the total weighted Marks.

    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure (point 4.4.2).

  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:
    Candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments into a closed examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  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 must familiarise themselves with the USQ Assessment Procedures (

  2. Referencing in Assignments must comply with the Harvard (AGPS) referencing system. This system should be used by students to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (APGS) style to be used is defined by the USQ library’s referencing guide. These policies can be found at