phe5rma research methods (advanced)




Credit points: 15

Subject outline

The aim of this subject is to provide students with a comprehensive introduction to the process of conducting research. The subject will review the range of qualitative and quantitative research designs, approaches to research, approaches to sampling, methods of data collection and analytical techniques.

SchoolSchool of Psychology & Public Health

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorVirginia Dickson-Swift

Available to Study Abroad StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 5 - Masters

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules



Incompatible subjectsN/A

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Learning resources


Resource TypeTitleResource RequirementAuthor and YearPublisher
ReadingsN/APreliminaryReadings will be advised via LMS and will include both textbook and onlineN/A

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

01. Identify key frameworks for research. You should be able to: (a) define the terms epistemology and ontology and how they apply to the different research paradigms; (b) identify key theretical frameworks used in research; (c) outline the key steps in the research process

Lecture and reading material provided for students to make sense of different frameworks used in research. Students will write a section in their understanding of these concepts for their final proposal.
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Critical Thinking(Critical Thinking)
Creative Problem-solving(Creative Problem-solving)

02. Critically evaluate a range of research literature to conduct a rigorous literature review. You should be able to: (a) identify and retrieve empirical research literature relevant to your research area; (b) analyse research findings; (c) synthesise research findings into a literature review; (d) appraise qualitative and quantitative research.

Students are required to source and retrieve relevant and appropriate literature for their proposal. They undertake an annotated bibliography of three papers in a chosen area and then go on to develop a critical appraisal for those papers. The students then use that material in their research proposal.
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Creative Problem-solving(Creative Problem-solving)
Critical Thinking(Critical Thinking)

03. Identify and apply quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research designs. You should be able to: (a) describe the differences between qualitative and quantitative research; (b) provide a background and rationale for the application of a qualitative and/or quantitative design; (c) develop research questions and/or hypotheses suitable to the design; (d) describe the data collection and analysis methods used for the different design.

A range of different approaches are outlined through lecture and reading material. The student have to develop research questions based on their own interest of study and to choose an approach for their study that is appropriate for the question. They need to identify an appropriate study design, data collection and analysis methods for their chosen design.
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Critical Thinking(Critical Thinking)
Inquiry/ Research(Inquiry/ Research)

04. Prepare an ethics application for a research project for submission to an appropriate ethics committee. You should be able to: (a) outline the major issues involved in ethics approval for human research; (b) locate the appropriate ethics application form; (c) draft the ethics application with consideration for the ethical issues associated with a particular research project.

Lecture and practical activity related to the ethics application process. The main ethical issues are outlined and the forms are located and the issues discussed. The student will prepare a draft application as part of the proposal.
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Ethical/ Social Responsibility(Ethical/ Social Responsibility)
Critical Thinking(Critical Thinking)
Creative Problem-solving(Creative Problem-solving)

05. Design and develop a comprehensive research proposal. You should be able to: (a) describe and apply sampling strategies; (b) identify appropriate data collection tools; (c) propose appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative data analysis techniques; (d) outline the key logistics for your project.

This is a large research proposal which will inform the research that the students undertake for their dissertations. The lecture material, reading and other sessions will assist the students in developing and designing appropriate research studies.
Related graduate capabilities and elements:
Inquiry/ Research(Inquiry/ Research)
Critical Thinking(Critical Thinking)

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Bendigo, 2015, Week 07-08, Day


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Enrolment information

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorVirginia Dickson-Swift

Class requirements

Block Mode
One 5.0 days block mode per study period on weekdays during the day and delivered via face-to-face.
"The equivalent of 39 contact hours over 5 days"


Assessment elementComments%ILO*
annotated bibliography (equivalent to 750 words)2001
comprehensive research proposal (equivalent to 3,000 words)6003, 05
critical appraisal of literature (equivalent to 750 words)2002, 05