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(HIST115 Global History: Six Degrees of Separation POLS104 Introduction to International Relations ) OR (DVST100 Introduction to International Development Studies DVST101 Humanitarian Work and Aid )

Unit rationale, description and aim

The purpose of this unit is to equip students with higher-level research skills and an advanced understanding of the common global challenges we face in the twenty-first century, as well as the different ways we may act to solve them collectively. Students will develop and carry out an independent research project that investigates and seeks to tackle a real-world global challenge or problem. Beyond developing a deep understanding of their chosen global issue, students will be introduced to a range of theoretical, practical, ethical and philosophical perspectives on global social research. This includes how to distinguish and integrate methods and methodological approaches from the different disciplines that make up Global Studies as a multidisciplinary field of inquiry. Students will critically examine the role of research in global dynamics related to colonialism, empire and industrialisation in addition to their own positionings and assumptions as researchers in the field of global studies. 

This capstone unit gives students the opportunity to integrate, consolidate and extend on the skills and knowledge they have acquired during their Global Studies degree through an in-depth study of a contemporary global issue of their choice.

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.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Identify and describe the key aspects of a major global issue of choiceGC1
LO2Interpret, critically analyse and synthesise a range of primary and secondary documents from the humanities and social sciences relating to a major global issue of choiceGC8
LO3Identify and employ appropriate conceptual, methodological and theoretical frameworks to investigate a major global issue of choiceGC3, GC9
LO4Critically reflect on and apply as appropriate key principles of ethical global researchGC7
LO5Communicate clearly research findings in a written and/or oral form, in a style appropriate to a specified audienceGC11, GC12


Topics will include:

  • Contemporary global challenges such as modern slavery, human trafficking, terrorism, climate change and poverty
  • Global research design
  • Theories, concepts and principles in Global Studies research
  • Global methods and methodologies
  • Multidisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity
  • Preparing literature reviews
  • Global processes at the local, regional, national and transnational levels
  • The ‘global turn’ in the humanities and social sciences
  • Research ethics and integrity
  • The politics of knowledge
  • Decentering Western perspectives
  • Positionality and reflexivity in global research

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The unit will employ a range of synchronous and asynchronous learning approaches, including lectures, seminars, workshops and student-led presentations. Students on the unit will engage in online learning activities via the learning management system irrespective of their mode of enrolment. 

Lectures will provide core content and begin the process of exploring this content. This may include case studies that examine the principles of good research design and the effective use of evidence as well as the ethical dimensions of global research. 

Seminars and workshops will follow lectures with more detailed explanations and exploration of core content. Students will have the opportunity to participate in co-operative and experiential learning activities, whereby students work together in small groups to construct their own knowledge and critically reflect on their own learning experiences. In seminars and workshops, students will be supported in developing their independent research project on a global issue of their choice. They will also be supported in creating, displaying and presenting their proposed case study research project in the poster (or equivalent) form to be delivered to their peers.   

Active student participation is anticipated and encouraged in lectures, seminars and workshops. 

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.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. The assessment tasks are based around the research of a global issue chosen by the student. The assessment tasks scaffold the basic skills and knowledge required to design and conduct an independent research project and communicate the findings of this project clearly, concisely and in different contexts. The assessment tasks build skills in research and communication that are relevant to a diverse range of industries in which Global Studies graduates work.

The assessment tasks and their weighting for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes. In order to pass this unit, students are required to submit and participate in all assessment tasks.

Assessment task 1: Research Proposal

Students are required to write a research proposal that describes the global issue they have selected, why it is important and how they intend to conduct their research. The research proposal should include an introduction that explains the significance of the global issue, a brief literature review that identifies a gap in the literature, a clear research question, a proposed methodology and methods that is appropriate to Global Studies, a plan for how the research will be pursued and a reference list of all sources used in preparing the proposal.

Assessment task 2: Research Report

Students are required to report on the findings of their research project in a research report. The report should include the following sections: title; abstract/executive summary; table of contents; an introduction that explains what was researched and why; a literature review; methodology; results; discussion; conclusion (and recommendations if relevant); and a reference list. Students should ensure the research report identifies and applies as appropriate key principles of ethical global research.

Assessment task 3: Poster Presentation

Students will create and design a poster presentation that summarises and communicates the key points and main findings of their research project in a concise and visually engaging format. The poster will be assessed on focus and impact, which requires students to be selective with the content they include, build a clear narrative that connects the different elements of the project and carefully consider the visual structure and layout of the poster. The poster presentation will be accompanied by a brief verbal presentation of the poster content.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1: Research Proposal

Students will develop a proposal that will form the basis of their independent research project.


LO1, LO2, LO3

Assessment Task 2: Research Report

Students will present the purpose and findings of their independent research project in a research report.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

Assessment Task 3: Poster Presentation

Students will summarise the key findings of their research report project (or equivalent) in a concise and visually engaging manner through a poster and accompanying verbal presentation.


LO3, LO4, LO5

Representative texts and references

Amelina, Anna, Nergiz, Devrimsel D., Faist, Thomas & Glick Schiller, Nina (2012) Beyond Methodological Nationalism: Research Methodologies for Cross-Border Studies. New York: Routledge.

Atkinson, Paul Anthony, Delamont, Sara, Williams, Richard A., Cernat, Alexandru & Sakshaug, Joseph (2021) SAGE Research Methods Foundations. London: SAGE Publications.

Darian-Smith, Eve & McCarty, Philip C. (2017) The Global Turn: Theories, Research Designs, and Methods for Global Studies. Oakland: University of California Press.

Liamputtong, Pranee. (2020). Qualitative Research Methods. 5th ed., Docklands: Oxford University Press.

McCormick, John (2022). Introduction to Global Studies. 2nd ed., London: Red Globe Press.

Pieterse, Jan Nederven (2021) Connectivity and Global Studies. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Sinha, Dipankar (2020) The Social Sciences in a Global Age: Decoding Knowledge Politics. London: Routledge.

Smith, Linda Tuhiwai (2021) Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous People. 3rd ed., London: Zed Books.

Williams, Chris (2015) Doing International Research: Global and Local Methods. London: SAGE Publications.

Zeiser, Pamela A. (2020). Global Studies Research. London: SAGE Publications. 

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