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SCI8103 Research Fundamentals and Ethics

Semester 2, 2019 On-campus Toowoomba
Short Description: Research Fundamentals & Ethics
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Agric, Comp and Environ Sciences
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 019999 - Natural and Physical Sciences
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Joanna Turner


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in one of the following programs: MSCN or MSCR or MCTN or GCSC or GDSI.
Enrolment is not permitted in SCI8103 if SCI4405 has been previously completed.


In the contemporary world, science and technology are increasingly seen as fundamental for human progress and survival. As the power of technology has increased, ethical considerations in the practice of science have become a critical component in the interaction between science and society. Additionally, the limited ability of society to support scientific research has led to ever increasing competition for these resources and emphasised the need for skills in both scientific communication and information technology. This course will provide critical understanding and development of skills that will enable students to communicate and interact within scientific and technological domains with consideration of ethical implications, and academic and professional integrity.


This modular course is designed to provide students with communication skills applied through understanding of ethical and academic integrity via different forms of communication media. Students will learn about critical analysis and understanding the scientific method and process. Students will undertake linked modules that connect fundamental skills with information literacy, scientific application including research communication, academic integrity in the age of the changing technologies, appreciation of the role of research, the research process, and responsibilities of the modern scientist.


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

  1. Analyse and review data integrity approaches including methods of data collection prior to conducting research;
  2. Apply a range of high level skills in information management using database applications and computing systems;
  3. Apply a range of high level communication skills effectively, including verbal, written and digital literacy when interacting with diverse audiences;
  4. Critically analyse and interpret research through peer review;
  5. Critically evaluate the varieties of scientific method with historical examples;
  6. Integrate and apply academic ethical approaches when conducting and communicating research


Description Weighting(%)
1. Research Information Literacy 15.00
2. Research Communication 20.00
3. Critical Analysis in Research 20.00
4. Academic Integrity and Ethics in Research 20.00
5. Data Management 10.00
6. Skills for Research Advancement 15.00

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. (

There are no texts or materials required for this course.

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 2017, Proposal writing, effective grantmanship, 5th edn, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks.
Day, RA 2016, How to write and publish a scientific paper, 8th edn, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Kuhse, H. Schüklenk, U and Singer, P 2015, Bioethics, An Anthology, 3rd edn, John Wiley & Sons.
Lindsay, D 2011, Scientific writing, thinking in words, CSIRO Puublications, Melbourne, Australia.
Montogomery, DC 2017, Design and analysis of experiments, 9th edn, Wiley, New York.
Williams, B 2007, Animal welfare and ethics, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Brisbane.
Australian and New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching, Adelaide 2008, anzccart HUMANE SCIENCE, <>.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Private Study 141.00
Workshops 24.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Assignment 1 20 35 16 Jul 2019 (see note 1)
Assignment 2 20 35 16 Jul 2019 (see note 2)
Seminar 50 30 16 Jul 2019 (see note 3)

  1. Further details about the due dates and assessments will be provided by the Examiner.
  2. Further details about the due dates and assessments will be provided by the Examiner.
  3. Further details about the due dates and assessments will be provided by the Examiner . On-campus students will undertake this assessment on-campus.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    On-campus students: It is the students' responsibility to participate appropriately in all activities 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. Students undertaking this course in an on-campus mode will attend 3 equivalent days of workshop as advised by the examiner and depending on their project may have regular on-campus supervisory contact. Online students: Students undertaking this course in online mode will require supervisor approval. There is no attendance requirements for this mode. 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.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete each of the assessment items satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for that assessment item.

  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 achieved 40% in the presentation (ie. Secondary Hurdle).. Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items 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 Section 4.4.2 of the Assessment Procedure.

  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:
    There will be no Deferred or Supplementary examinations in this course.

  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. 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.

Evaluation and benchmarking

In meeting the University’s aims to establish quality learning and teaching for all programs, this course monitors and ensures quality assurance and improvements in at least two ways. This course:
1. conforms to the USQ Policy on Evaluation of Teaching, Courses and Programs to ensure ongoing monitoring and systematic improvement.
2. forms part of the Master of Science (MSCN), and is benchmarked against the [choose one or all of the following]
• internal USQ accreditation/reaccreditation processes which include (i) stringent standards in the independent accreditation of its academic programs, (ii) close integration between business and academic planning, and (iii) regular and rigorous review.

Other requirements

  1. 1. Computer, e-mail and Internet access:
    Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at .

  2. 2. 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 this 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 the same grades as those students who do possess them.