Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


Admission to the Bachelor of Arts (Honours)

Unit rationale, description and aim

Graduates with demonstrated experience in the independent design and completion of novel research projects are highly valued in a variety of professional contexts. This unit is an interdisciplinary study of the theory and practice of research and writing, with a particular focus on research technique, literature searches, methodology, theoretical frameworks, academic writing and presentation. Its objectives are to establish the principles and ethics of research, including research with and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and world Indigenous peoples; to introduce literacy skills central to independent research; to explain practice-based research and the relationships between creative media and research, and to master the skills of thesis or exegesis/dissertation planning and writing. The unit learning outcomes all relate to the course learning outcomes by engaging students in the requirements, components, methodological, cultural and theoretical issues and strategies necessary to design, research and present a thesis, or a practice-based research project with exegesis/dissertation.

The aim of this unit is to support the development of the knowledge and skills that will scaffold the completion of an extended independent research project at the Honours level.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Formulate a research problem and implement the research skills necessary to conduct that investigation (GA4, GA5)

LO2 - Apply advanced skills of print and electronic library research in order to evaluate the literature relevant for the thesis or exegesis/dissertation (GA8, GA10)

LO3 - Critically analyse various approaches to research methods, including ethics concerns, and select those relevant to the thesis or exegesis/dissertation (GA1, GA2, GA5)

LO4 - Organise and transmit the knowledge and ideas underpinning a research thesis, or creative project with exegesis/dissertation, in written and oral form (GA9)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - Demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA2 - Recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - Think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - Demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - Locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - Demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - Utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively


Topics will include:

  • Using advanced technologies to organise sources and bibliographies
  • Critically thinking about and applying for Ethics approval
  • Formulating a thesis topic and research problem
  • Identifying and locating relevant material for the project
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and world Indigenous research principles and methodologies
  • Writing a literature review
  • Writing a thesis proposal
  • Giving an oral presentation

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Mode: The development of an original thesis requires self-directed, sustained and autonomous research, reflection and writing. However, recognising that learning is enhanced when learners collaborate with others through processes of questioning, hypothesising and explaining, this unit offers both group-based learning modes as well as individual tasks. Students will participate in workshops, seminars, computer workshops and library tasks and will also work with supervisors/teaching staff through web-based or face-to-face consultations. Workshops and seminars will provide students with the opportunity to draw on interdisciplinary expertise from academic staff, to engage with a range of different methodologies and ontologies, as well as to share and workshop their own projects and work with each other. All of these teaching and learning strategies are designed to support students as they work towards the completion of their final Honours research project.


Duration: 150 hours in total with a normal expectation of 24 hours of directed study and the total contact hours should not exceed 24 hours. The directed study might include lectures, tutorials, webinars, podcasts etc. The balance of the hours then become attendance at seminars or workshops delivered by guest speakers or key researchers and private study.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment in this unit is designed to introduce students to knowledge and skills that will scaffold the completion of an independent undergraduate research thesis. The first assessment task is a Literature Search and Evaluation that is designed to develop the information and search skills necessary to building a foundation in scholarly literature for a research project, and the analytical skills required to articulate the relationship between an emerging research project and key works in the relevant field.

The second assessment task is a Thesis Proposal that requires students to develop a persuasive proposal for their undergraduate research project that articulates a well formulated research question, demonstrates critical engagement with relevant literature, and provides a clear rationale for the methodology and theoretical framework chosen for the project.

The third assessment task provides students with the opportunity to apply the research skills and knowledge they have developed in the unit to the creation of a ‘work-in-progress’ paper, presented in oral and written form, that demonstrates substantial progress towards the completion of their Honours research project.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Literature Search and Evaluation (or equivalent)

This assessment is designed to test students’ research skills to find a variety of relevant sources for your research project using multiple search techniques.



GA8, GA10

Assessment Task 2: Thesis Proposal (or equivalent)

The thesis proposal assesses students’ ability to formulate a research problem and to synthesise and contextualise their ideas within the research context of their topic and field of study.


LO1, LO3

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5

Assessment Task 3: Written and Oral Work-in-progress Day Paper (or equivalent)

The work-in-progress day paper is an opportunity to assess students’ research progress. The oral presentation will receive critical and supportive feedback from a variety of staff and students. This assessment will test students’ ability to apply their advanced print and electronic research skills to craft an organised, oral presentation and written essay.


LO2, LO4

GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Barrett, E., & B. Bolt, B. eds. Practice as Research, Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry. London: I.B. Tauris, 2007.

Byrne, D. Research Ethics. Los Angeles: Sage, 2016.

Clark, I. L. Writing the Successful Thesis and Dissertation: Entering the Conversation. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2007.

Daichendt, G. J. Artist Scholar. Bristol, GB: Intellect, 2011.

Fink, A. Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper. 6th ed. Los Angeles: Sage, 2020.

Liamputtong, P. Qualitative Research Methods. 4th ed. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Kumar, R. Research Methodology: A Step-By-Step Guide for Beginners. 5th ed. Los Angeles: Sage, 2019.


Lipson, C. How to Write a BA thesis: A Practical Guide from your First Ideas to your Finished Paper. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Martin, K. L. Please Knock Before you Enter: Aboriginal Regulation of Outsiders and the Implications for Researchers. Teneriffe, Qld: Post Pressed, 2008.

Ragusa, A. T.Writing for the Social Sciences. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia, 2012.

Ridley, D. The Literature Review: A Step-By-Step Guide for students (2nd ed.). London: Sage Publications, 2008.

Tuhiwai Smith, L. Decolonising Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. 2nd ed. London: Zed Books, 2012.

Walliman, Nicholas. Your Undergraduate Dissertation: The Essential Guide for Success. Second ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2014.

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