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60207 Research Methods

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Science
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.

Description

Research methods introduces students to the major themes of scientific research. The material is presented within the broad context of critical professional skills required for a successful career in a research-oriented field of science. In this subject, students develop skills to: locate, understand and evaluate primary research articles; interpret scientific data; write in scientific style and format; and knowledge of the ethical considerations and guidelines for research science. Students are encouraged to be self-motivated, work in a timely fashion and understand the importance of professional behaviour. The subject also provides an opportunity for students to interact with research active academics within the university.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of research methods used in science through the analysis of case studies and academic interviews
2. Retrieve, analyse and evaluate the primary scientific literature
3. Reflect on various ethical issues in science with particular reference to research involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
4. Communicate scientific information to diverse audiences using written and oral communication
5. Engage in and use self and peer assessment as a path to ongoing learning in professional life
6. Apply organisational and planning skills for effective autonomous and collaborative learning in group work tasks

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject will provide you with the knowledge and skills to prepare you for professional practice as a research scientist.

Graduate attribute 1 ? - Disciplinary knowledge

You will learn how to identify, locate, analyse and evaluate primary research articles. These skills will form the basis of acquiring the most up to date knowledge within your field as a professional scientist.

Graduate attribute 2 – Research, inquiry and critical thinking

You will develop the skills to critically analyse information and data from research articles and other sources via a series of workshops and online activities. The essential skills of critical reading, analysis and comparison of selected research articles will be developed in class and through the completion of Assessment task 3. The ability to read, critically analyse and synthesise scientific information forms an important foundation of scientific research.

Graduate attribute 3 – Professional, ethical and social responsibility

You will develop, employ, and integrate a range of skills within a professional research context, autonomously and collaboratively. This subject will help you to develop generic skills such time management, personal organization, teamwork, and negotiation. Through online and workshop activities and preparing for the ethics debates you will consider the role of science in society, and discuss the ethical considerations about how science should be carried out in order to meet the needs of society in a way that maintains respect for humans, animals and the environment.

Graduate attribute 4 – Reflection, Innovation, Creativity

You will be provided with opportunities to engage in reflection and develop the ability to make effective judgments about your own work and the work of others. You will be encouraged to undertake self directed, curiosity motivated learning beyond the formal classroom environment. Opportunities to reflect and act on feedback will be available throughout the session including feedback on the first submission of Assessment task 3, which can be used to refine the final assessment.

Graduate attribute 5 – Communication

Extensive development of your written and oral communication is achieved through a series of scaffolded and structured activities. You will be provided with feedback on your written communication skills. Your oral communication skills will be developed during the workshops and ethics debates.

Graduate attribute 6 – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledges and Connection with Country

Through online activities and in class workshops, we will examine the ethics of research involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. You will examine the National Health and Medical Research Council ethical guidelines, and see examples of how these are incorporated into research studies. Following the ethics debates, you will submit a written reflection on this topic.

Teaching and learning strategies

Throughout this subject, you will learn by way of independent learning activities delivered as online learning modules. Classes consist of a series of interactive and collaborative presentations and workshops which will explore and discuss a range of topics around scientific research methods. You will also have multiple opportunities to receive formative feedback in workshops and on all assessment tasks.

Online learning modules: These independent learning modules will introduce you to key theoretical knowledge and skills needed to actively participate in interactive workshop discussions and activities as well as to assist in the preparation of your assessment tasks. These modules will be available in selected weeks one week before class (see program). Modules must be completed before class to prepare for the workshop activities.

Workshops: Each week is comprised of a 3 hour interactive workshop which combine presentations from active researchers, as well as small group collaborative work, problem solving activities and discussions related to the online modules. Each workshop is designed for you to engage with and practise skills required for your assessment tasks. You will be involved in sharing your ideas generated from the online learning modules and presentations as well as participating in activities. During the workshops, you will receive immediate oral feedback from both peers and your tutor. Opportunities to engage in self and peer assessment will be provided using REVIEW and SPARKPlus.

An aim of this subject is to help you develop academic and professional language and communication skills to succeed at university and in the workplace. During the course of this subject, you will complete a milestone-assessment task that will, in addition to assessing your subject-specific learning objectives, assess your English language proficiency. You may be guided to further language support after the completion of this subject if your results in this milestone task indicate you need more help with your language skills.

Content (topics)

The specific topics that will be covered throughout this teaching session include:

  • Introduction to research and the scientific method
  • Searching, reading and critiquing the scientific literature
  • The ethics of research involving Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders
  • Debating and presentation skills
  • Safety and legislation in scientific research

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Report on Academic Research Approaches

Intent:

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

1. Disciplinary knowledge

2. Professional, ethical and social responsibility

5. Communication

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

1 and 4

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

.0, .0 and .0

Type: Essay
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 15%
Length:

The reflection will be 500-750 words in length.

Criteria:

Students will be assessed on their ability to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of research methods used in science
  • Reflect on their personal views
  • Write and communicate to convey information

Assessment task 2: Ethics Debate

Intent:

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

3. Professional, ethical and social responsibility

4. Reflection, Innovation, Creativity

5. Communication skills

6. Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Knowledges and Connection with Country

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

3, 4, 5 and 6

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

.0, .0, .0 and .0

Type: Presentation
Groupwork: Group, individually assessed
Weight: 35%
Length:

Each debate will run for 40 minutes. The written reflection will be approximately 500 words.

Criteria:

Students will be assessed on their ability to:

  • Demonstrate preparation and understanding of the topic
  • Communicate orally to convey information to diverse audience
  • Engage with peer and self-assessment
  • Reflect on the ethics of research involving Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders

Assessment task 3: Literature Review

Intent:

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

1. Disciplinary knowledge and it's appropriate application

2. Research, enquiry and critical thinking

4. Reflection, Innovation, Creativity

5. Communication

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2, 4 and 5

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

.0, .0, .0 and .0

Type: Report
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%
Length:

1500 - 2000 words.

Criteria:

Students will be assessed on their ability to:

  • Retrieve and analyse the primary scientific literature
  • Compare and contrast research approaches and key findings
  • Communicate through writing to convey information to a scientific literate audience
  • Incorporate feedback from the draft assessment

Minimum requirements

You are expected to attend all scheduled classes

Any assessment task worth 40% or more requires the student to gain at least 40% of the mark for that task. If 40% is not reached, an X grade fail may be awarded for the subject, irrespective of an overall mark greater than 50.

You must obtain an overall mark of 50 or greater to pass the subject.

Required texts

All readings and materials will be made available to students. There is no specific textbook.