Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


LCRM301 Researching Criminology , 160cp comprising 120cp from Criminology and Criminal Justice units and 40cp from specified LAWS units

Teaching organisation

Students are expected to spend 150 hours over a twelve-week semester or equivalent study period for this unit.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Graduates with expertise in researching how society creates crime and the social causes and drivers of criminal activity continue to be required in the justice sector, particularly in legislative, policy and research contexts. The criminal justice sector enjoys strong employment opportunities and continues to grow and evolve, particularly due to the evolution of contemporary technologies. 

This level four unit contributes within the Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice (Honours) course to the development of:

  • advanced theoretical and technical knowledge in criminology theory and methodology;
  • advanced, cognitive, technical and communication skills and the ability to apply these to complex issues;
  • advanced research and writing skills.

This unit builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills in researching criminology gained in LCRM301 Researching Criminology by expanding this introduction to the central principles of criminology research, including designing a research question, assessing a topic's significance, selecting appropriate methodology, conducting a literature review, engaging with a variety of sources, making a claim and supporting it, anticipating objections, planning, writing and revising a significant piece of criminological research.

This unit is compulsory for those undertaking the Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice (Honours) Thesis units (LCRM451, LCRM452, LCRM453, LCRM454, LCRM455). It will enable Honours students to select their thesis topic, begin their research and develop an appropriate methodology leading to evidence-based proposals for improvements in the justice system.

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 - Describe a research problem with the research skills necessary to deal with that investigation (GA4)

LO2 - Report on a literature search for a criminology thesis proposal and critically evaluate the criminological literature relevant to the research problem (GA8)

LO3 - Apply the various approaches to research methods including those relevant to the thesis proposal (GA5)

LO4 - Appraise the components of a major piece of criminological research and know how to draw these together (GA9)

LO5 - Evaluate the principles of clear and precise writing in generating a proposal for a major piece of criminological research (GA9, GA10)

Graduate attributes

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:

  1. Introduction to the nature of criminology and criminal justice research: purpose and principles;
  2. Traditional and contemporary theories of criminology and criminal justice and research methodologies;
  3. Developing a research proposal;
  4. Writing a criminology literature review, including critical evaluation of criminology literature;
  5. Writing a criminology thesis proposal, including the ability to formulate a thesis; how to frame a discussion or argument; and how to critically self-evaluate, edit, and revise the proposal itself;
  6. Writing and presenting research, including editing, formatting, advanced referencing and oral presentation skills.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Mode:           Lectures, tutorials, electronic consultation, library tasks and presentations or Online lectures and activities.

Duration:      3 hours per week over 12 weeks or equivalent. Students are expected to spend 150 hours in total for this unit.

This level four unit allows students to develop advanced research, writing and criminology reasoning skills.

Our strategy is to encourage students to creatively engage with unit content and to practice these skills. Honours students are adult learners who are typically self-directed, need to take responsibility for their own learning and that learning should contribute to fostering ‘deep’ learning.

Honours students will have the opportunity to develop their thesis proposal as part of this unit.

The unit is designed to be delivered in intensive, weekly or online mode. We have taken a blended learning approach to provide accessibility and flexibility to our students and a student focused approach that increases depth of learning and engagement through actively utilising LMS. 

Students will undertake practical learning activities that focus on developing the skills required to identify and report gaps in scientific literature with a view to suggesting new areas of scientific enquiry. These include active learning activities, such as reading, writing, discussion and critical evaluation to promote analysis, synthesis and application of relevant scholarly works. Students will develop a research design to solve a research question allowing them to demonstrate an applied understanding of appropriate research techniques and a thesis evidencing advanced presentation skills in the form of a piece of scholarly writing.

This unit comprises 150 hours in total with a normal expectation of 36 hours of directed study. Directed study might include lectures, tutorials, webinars, podcasts etc. Students will be expected to use lectures as the core learning content supported by directed learning that advances the detailed explanation and exploration of those concepts. The balance of the hours becomes self-directed study.

Assessment strategy and rationale

Assessment in this unit is designed to enable students to demonstrate higher level analytical, research, presentation and writing skills. The assessment procedures used will enable students to develop capacity to undertake:

  • Bibliographical Tasks;
  • Presentation of a Critical Literature Review;
  • Presentation of a Research Problem;
  • Research Tasks;
  • Criminological Writing Tasks;
  • Oral Presentations;
  • Research Essays;
  • Presentation of a Draft Proposal for Comment and Analysis by Panel Discussion;
  • Defence of a Thesis Proposal.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assignment 1: Abstract, Essay Outline, Preliminary Bibliography on a topic chosen in consultation with lecturer and/or Supervisor

This assessment develops skills in critically evaluating literature in the chosen area of criminology.


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA8

Assignment 2: Research Paper: 

Class Presentation in format agreed with lecturer. 

This assessment is designed to enable the student to test the validity of their chosen methodology and defend these preliminary research findings, which form the evidentiary foundations on which the thesis is to be argued.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA8

Assignment 3: Literature Review and Research Proposal.

In this assessment, students demonstrate their knowledge of the relevant literature on their topic and their capacity to develop a feasible research project.


LO3, LO4, LO5

GA5, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Criminology and Law

Beazley, M and Edwards, L, The Process & The Product: A Bibliography of Scholarship about Legal Scholarship (1998) 49 Mercer Law Review 741

Cane, P and Kritzer, H, The Oxford Handbook of Empirical Legal Research (Oxford University Press, 2012)

Hart, HLA, The Concept of Law (Oxford University Press, 3rd ed, 2012)

Hutchinson, T, Researching and Writing in Law (Thomson Reuters, 4th ed, 2018)

Meyerson, D, Jurisprudence (Oxford University Press, 2011)

Sanderson, J and Kin Kelly, K, A Practical Guide to Legal Research (Thomson Reuters, 4th ed, 2017)

Various library guides (“Lib guides”) on writing substantial papers in law school e.g. from the University of Chicago:, and research and writing skills from the University of Oxford:


The following Library Guides (“libguides”) and Centres are recommended:

Oxford University:

University of Michigan:


Becker, H., Tricks of the Trade: How to Think about your Research while You're Doing it (University of Chicago Press, 1998)

Gibaldi, J., MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (Modern Language Association of America, 7th ed, 2009)

Murray, R., How to Write a Thesis (Open University Press, 4th 2017)

Richardson, L., Writing Strategies: Reaching Diverse Audiences (SAGE, 1990)

Rodrigues, D., The Research Paper and The World Wide Web (Prentice Hall, 1997)

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs