Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


Drama major/minor: 10 cp from 200-level units in Drama

Unit rationale, description and aim

It is essential for dramatic artists, whether teachers, practitioners or any Arts workers, to be able to design and develop a project on any selected drama-related topic and be able to rigorously research, critique, and evaluate it to develop a deeper understanding of the chosen topic. This unit offers students the opportunity to design and complete an independent research project. The topic must be chosen in consultation with a research supervisor and it will be a detailed and thorough study of a particular aspect of theatre or performance. Students will be able to examine, for example, the work of a particular playwright, director or theoretician, or the performance elements of a specific theatrical period. The main aim of the Independent Drama Project is to allow students to explore a drama topic of particular interest to themselves.

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 - Demonstrate skills and knowledge of the practices, languages, forms, materials, technologies and techniques used in Drama and Theatre by independently investigating a topic that is chosen in negotiation with a research supervisor (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8)

LO2 - Critically analyse and evaluate cultural, social, political, aesthetic and ethical issues surrounding Drama and Theatre by using appropriate research or performance methodology to interpret, communicate and present relevant ideas and arguments (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8)

LO3 - Develop, research and evaluate ideas, concepts and processes through creative, critical and reflective thinking to show a complex understanding of theatre theory or practice by placing the research within an historical, social, and cultural framework (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8).

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

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


Topics may include:

  • Design techniques for Drama research proposals.  
  • Appropriate methodologies for Drama research projects including strategies for analysing theatre history, performance studies, and practice-as-research.
  • Locating appropriate primary and secondary sources for a research project
  • Approaches to using historical, social, and cultural frameworks to situate and provide context to plays and theatre
  • Methodologies appropriate to the production, documentation and analysis of performance texts, contexts and processes
  • Linking in the work of other scholars in the field and representing scholarly debate on selected topics
  • Anticipating and troubleshooting problems in Drama research
  • Performance techniques for presenting drama research findings to an audience
  • Interpersonal communications skills used to engage critically and creatively with an academic supervisor.   
  • Design and complete a research project  
  • Apply the appropriate methodology to the research project.
  • Be able to engage critically and creatively with a research supervisor   
  • Drawing on international and Australian examples, the subject will focus on how students might draw on such aspects as dramatic structure, story, plot, dialogue, monologue, character, conflict, dramatic action, facts and imagination, language and subtext, space and time to develop deeper insights into drama in theory and in practice.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

As a 300-level unit within the field of Drama, this unit allows students to demonstrate their expertise in the discipline. It provides opportunities to demonstrate advanced research skills and knowledge of the practices, languages, forms, materials, technologies and techniques in Drama. Students will be expected to work independently and students will have the opportunity to show leadership and creativity throughout the process of developing your project. Students will be required to participate in a self-chosen research project so that you can build on and develop the discipline knowledge they acquired during their 200-level study of drama.

This unit will be taught through face-to-face classes and/or through some mixed mode teaching. Students may attend lectures face-to-face and/or by accessing online recordings in order to ensure broad and ongoing access for all students to the key concepts and principles under examination. Formal lectures will present key theories such as those relating to theatre history, performance studies, practice-as-research, and applied theatre. Lectures will also model research and analytical skills. Online learning materials will include guided readings and synchronous and/or asynchronous discussions of key primary and secondary texts. Workshops will be face-to-face to enable students to experiment with the practical aspects of this course and engage with other learners. 

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessments have been designed to provide a variety of tasks to develop and measure the different learning outcomes of the unit. They have been structured to ensure that students are developing advanced knowledge and skills in the academic study of performance. Each drama unit extends student’s knowledge and skills in the discipline through the study of different genres, texts, theatrical periods and practitioners. 

This is a 300-level drama unit and students are expected to demonstrate the capacity for self-motivated and independent learning in researching, critically analysing and communicating key issues in historical and contemporary drama and theatre.  

The assessment detailed below is designed to suit either the mixed mode or face-to-face teaching of this unit.

Since students are able to select their own topics of study within this unit, the final decisions about the structure of assessment tasks will be made in consultation with the supervisor.

By writing the “Proposed Topic for the Independent Study and Literature Review” task, students will be able to clearly identify their areas of interest and define what they will do throughout the semester while developing a comprehensive reading list for their project.

By “Presenting Your Findings to Others”, students will learn to share their expertise with their peers. The work they have undertaken will entertain, inform, and educate others.

The “Independent Project” requires students to rigorously investigate a topic of their own choice which they may not have had the opportunity to explore in detail within previous drama studies. Students will design their own research project and learn about appropriate methodologies and approaches to the study of drama.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Proposed Topic for the Independent Study and Literature Review 

The key purpose of this proposal is for students to prepare a paper which defines the chosen topic for the project and outlines the direction of the semester’s study that is accompanied by a literature review. 



GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8

Presenting Your Findings to Others

The key purpose of this task is to demonstrate the learning that has occurred throughout the semester.


LO1, LO2

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8

Independent Project

The key purpose of the Independent Project is to create a significant research/performance project and present it in an appropriate scholarly manner.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8

Representative texts and references

Australia Council, and Australia Council. Writing: Protocols for Producing Indigenous Australian Writing. 2007. <>.

Badke, William. Research Strategies: Finding Your Way Through the Information Fog. Bloomington (Ind): IUniverse, Inc., 2011.

Barrett, Estelle, and Barbara Bolt. Practice as Research : Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry. I.B.Tauris, 2014 

Ferguson, Marcia. A Short Guide to Writing About Theatre. New York: Pearson Longman, 2008.

Gibaldi, Joseph, and Modern Language Association of America issuing body. MLA Handbook. Eighth ed. The Modern Language Association of America, 2016.

Kershaw, Baz., and Helen. Nicholson. Research Methods in Theatre and Performance. Edinburgh University Press, 2011.

Lester, James, Principles of Writing Research Papers. Boston: Longman, 2011.

Mercer, Leah., et al. Live Research : Methods of Practice-Led Inquiry in Performance. Ladyfinger, 2012. 

Sawaki, Tomoko. Analysing Structure in Academic Writing, Palgrave Macmillan. 2016. 

Strongman, Luke. Academic Writing. Cambridge Scholars, 2013.

Wallwork, Adrian. English for Writing Research Papers. Boston (MA): Springer US, 2011.


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