Course Outline

ART411 Research Design: Methodology and Literature Review

Course Coordinator:Peter Innes ( School:School of Law and Society

2024Semester 1

UniSC Sunshine Coast

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.

Please go to for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


This course is designed to assist you to clarify and refine your approach to undertaking your research. You will acquire knowledge about research in your chosen field and develop methodological understandings relevant to your topic. The course will familiarise you with the fundamental principles of literature reviews and research design through the production of a research proposal. Its multidisciplinary workshop based approach will expose you to a range of theoretical approaches, methodologies and methods, and enhance your understanding of your own research and its relationship to other disciplines.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – On Campus Workshop for 13 Weeks 3hrs Week 1 13 times

Course Topics

Theory and Research Questions

Methodology and Methods

Qualitative Methods I

Qualitative Methods II

Reflection, Practitioner and Action Research

Quantitative Methods I 

Quantitative Methods II 

Sampling Approaches


The Research Proposal: Consultation


What level is this course?

400 Level (Graduate)

Demonstrating coherence and breadth or depth of knowledge and skills. Independent application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Meeting professional requirements and AQF descriptors for the degree. May require pre-requisites where discipline specific introductory or developing knowledge or skills is necessary. Normally undertaken in the third or fourth full-time study year of an undergraduate program.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Acquire knowledge of research principles and methods and distinguish their appropriateness in different applications and disciplines Knowledgeable
2 Use and apply research data analysis technologies Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
3 Effectively communicate key aspects a relevant research method in an oral (audio-visual) format Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
4 Exhibit professional collegiality by providing constructive comments to your peers about their learning and proposed research practices Ethical
5 Construct and justify a proposal for conducting independent research. Creative and critical thinker

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the UniSC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


Enrolled in Program AR401, AR407 or AR408 or by Course Coordinator approval


Not applicable


CMN574 or CMN575

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

You should have acquired an insight into knowledge and problems inherent in their disciplinary areas (including interdisciplinary knowledge where appropriate). It is this disciplinary knowledge and awareness of applied and theoretical debates which directs students to addressing proposed research contributions. This course provides the further scaffolding into methodology and method.

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

Practice quizzes, with access to answers, will be provided online in Canvas, aligned appropriately with the content material to be assessed in the first Task assessment drawing upon key workshop content (i.e. in worksheets).

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Quiz/zes Individual 20%
Short key module quizzes associated with five key modules, due in the week following the final module of any of key module areas.
Throughout teaching period (refer to Format) Online Submission
All 2 Oral Individual 40%
15 minute recorded (and uploaded) video presentation.
Week 9 Online Submission
All 3 Essay Individual 40%
3000 words
Week 13 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All - Assessment Task 1:Module Quiz (5 key module quizzes)
This assessment is designed to support and develop your understanding of: (i) research methodology; (ii, iii, iv) the three strands of research methods encountered; and (v) research ethics.
Product: Quiz/zes
Following each of the key module's material, a short quiz is made available. The qualitative and the quantitative quiz spans two weeks and is presented at the completion of those pairs of modules. Each of the five quizzes are worth an equal share of 10%. The format is multiple choice, short answer, and/or numeric answer (quantitative).
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstrated active engagement in tutorial and presentation discussions
Completion of workshop activity sheets in Canvas (eg Offering ideas and opinions, asking questions, reflecting upon readings)
1 2
Participation in the formal peer feedback for presentations
All - Assessment Task 2:Presentation
The purpose of this assessment is for you to gain an in-depth understanding of one particular research method and to present your findings to your peers.
Product: Oral
You will prepare a recorded (mp4) 15 minute presentation which overviews one research method/methodology appropriate to your disciplinary field. The presentation will provide details of the method (and its application), its methodological positioning, and discuss its relative advantages and disadvantages. The presentation recording should be uploaded by the end of Week 9. The workshops will give you the opportunity to encounter a broad range of research methods and to present one approach in written and oral forms appropriate to scholarly conventions. While the presentation recording is uploaded as a stand-alone submission, there will be an opportunity to have peer question-and-answer and provide feedback. The presentation should include (and present) a minimum of ten references.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Content (20%)
1 2
Argument - justification (20%)
Structure - organisation (10%)
Technical Elements - text and references (10%)
Supporting Materials/Graphical (20%)
Verbal Communication (10%)
Time Management - allocation to parts (10%)
All - Assessment Task 3:Research Proposal
You will develop the critical skills of developing a research proposal relevant to your proposed thesis research topic or a topic negotiated with the Course Coordinator. This proposal provides the opportunity for you to focus on a research question, methodology (integrated from Task 3) and undertake a preliminary literature review appropriate to your chosen topic. The research proposal will be fully referenced and written in academic style.
Product: Essay
The proposal will contain the following information (you may choose to re-arrange the order and  combine elements if you wish, i.e. you are not required to use the following headings):
1. Title: short and explanatory
2. Abstract: A brief summary or overview of the research proposal explains precisely what the research is about. It must be clear, succinct and understandable to experts and lay readers.
3. The research problem: discusses the problem or question the project seeks to answer and how the research contributes to its clarification. It may also include a set of central and /or subsidiary questions.
4. Background: This section clarifies the significance of the research and describes the broader historical, theoretical, social and intellectual background and context.
5. Aims and objectives: Outline the academic, social and political aims of the project and its specific concrete and achievable outcomes.
6. Literature review: Presents the state of knowledge relevant to the topic and discusses the contribution of previous research and theory to its conceptualisation. It shows how the project fills a gap in knowledge in the field and how it builds on and adds to existing knowledge. It demonstrates knowledge of the topic and relevance of study.
7. Research design (methodology/methods): describes research methodology and methods and justifies their use. It may, as appropriate, include details of sample size, data collection and analysis approaches and ethical considerations. This section may also describe the theoretical or conceptual approach (paradigm) of the study.
8. Reference Section
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Content (40%)
1 5
Argument - justification and critical analysis (30%)
1 5
Structure - organisation (10%)
Clarity and Expression - text and referencing (20%)

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

There are no required/recommended resources for this course.

Specific requirements


How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


UniSC is committed to a culture of respect and providing a safe and supportive environment for all members of our community. For immediate assistance on campus contact SafeUniSC by phone: 07 5430 1168 or using the SafeZone app. For general enquires contact the SafeUniSC team by phone 07 5456 3864 or email

The SafeUniSC Specialist Service is a Student Wellbeing service that provides free and confidential support to students who may have experienced or observed behaviour that could cause fear, offence or trauma. To contact the service call 07 5430 1226 or email

Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

Wellbeing Services

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To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 1226.

AccessAbility Services

Ability Advisers ensure equal access to all aspects of university life. If your studies are affected by a disability, learning disorder mental health issue, injury or illness, or you are a primary carer for someone with a disability or who is considered frail and aged, AccessAbility Services can provide access to appropriate reasonable adjustments and practical advice about the support and facilities available to you throughout the University.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Conduct
  • Students with a Disability

For more information, visit

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