University of Technology, Sydney

Staff directory | Webmail | Maps | Newsroom | What's on

93003 Research Inquiry: Processes and Practices

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: Health
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Pass fail, no marks

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


This subject builds on existing knowledge by further developing research awareness, knowledge and skills. The subject examines the philosophical foundations of research inquiry; assists students to further develop a range of abilities required to emerge as a beginning independent researcher and lifelong learner.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Ability to analyse relevant literature in order to identify the key concepts, problems and issues.
B. Ability to synthesise themes from literature to demonstrate its relevance to their field of study.
C. Development of a basic working model of the potential philosophical and theoretical groundings that will frame up their doctoral work.
D. Understanding of the nature of professional practice research and its relationship to the point and purpose of your professional doctorate endeavour.
E. Beginning appreciation for the complex relationship between knowledge generation, knowledge transmission and utilisation
F. Engagement with a ‘community of inquiry’ as a medium for learning and professional development.
G. Capacity in information literacy and IT literacies
H. Capacity to write clearly and in a style appropriate to purpose.
I. Beginning capacity to critically review colleagues’ writing.

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject is process driven. The processes that a doctoral student needs to successfully complete a dissertation are established through this first semester of candidature. The subject uses a blended learning approach to achieve this, with both face-to-face and virtual strategies. The development of a culture of learning within a community of inquiry composed of students, subject staff, supervisors, and other scholars will be a focus this semester. The residential school and the development of a network of on-line engagement using media such as asynchronous discussion boards and blogs will enhance group engagement and establish forums in which critical debate can occur; these processes and activities are supportive of and inclusive of supervisory relationships. Students and supervisors will have the option of developing e-portfolios to track components of the doctorate and to demonstrate progress to critical reviewers – either peers, supervisors, or other network members.

Outcomes for students will include:

  • The development of the doctoral topic and the project context
  • An evolving critique of the project’s context literature to ground the work
  • A refined research question or area of inquiry
  • Identification of the philosophical and theoretical groundings of the doctoral project
  • The development of effective communication networks with peers, supervisors and professional practice experts
  • Engagement in critically reviewing colleagues’ writing


Assessment task 1: Concept map or process report outlining the components of your doctoral proposal / dissertation

Assessment task 2: Literature review


This subject has no prescribed text. Students are expected to engage with a range of texts and journal articles concerned with writing, preparatory research processes and their evolving topic areas. Sample papers as a component of classroom activities will be listed on UTSOnline.

A ‘References’ Wiki is also available on UTSOnline for use and development. You are advised to refer to it regularly for any changes / updates. Students may also post references and resources to the Wiki and annotate the reference to indicate the reason it has been included.

Example texts are listed below.

Writing development texts

  • Clare, J., & Hamilton, H. (2003). Writing research: Transforming data into text. Sydney: Churchill Livingstone.
  • Craig, G., & Smyth, J. (2007). The evidence-based practice manual for nurses (2nd ed). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
  • Lovell, D. (2001). Macquarie student writer’s friend: A guide to essay writing. Sydney: Macquarie Library.
  • Thomas, S. (2000). How to write health sciences papers, dissertations and theses. Melbourne: Churchill Livingstone.
  • Cryer, P. (2006). The research student’s guide to success. (3rd Ed.) Buckingham: Open University Press.

Research methodology and methods texts

  • Argyrous, G. (2005). Statistics for social and health research (2nd ed.). London: Sage.
  • Bassett, C. (Ed.). (2004). Qualitative research in health care. London: Whurr Publishers.
  • Bowling, A. (2002). Research methods in health: investigating health and health services (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: Open University Press.
  • Burns, N., & Grove, S. K. (2005). The practice of nursing research: Conduct, critique and utilization (5th ed.). London: Saunders.
  • Denzin, N., & Lincoln, Y. (2008) Collecting and interpreting qualitative materials (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.
  • Frank-Stromborg, M., & Olsen, S. (Eds.). (2004). Instruments for clinical health-care research (3rd ed.). Boston: Jones and Bartlett.
  • Gillis, A., & Jackson, W. (2002). Research for nurses: Methods and interpretation. Philadelphia: FA Davis. (Available online through netlibrary.)
  • Kane, R.L. (2006). Understanding health care outcomes research (2nd ed.). Boston: Jones & Bartlett.
  • Minichiello, V., Sullivan, G., Greenwood, K., & Axford, R. (Eds.). (2004). Research methods for nursing and health science (2nd ed.). Frenchs Forest: Pearson.
  • Pawson, R., & Tilley, N. (1997). Realistic evaluation. London: Sage.
  • Schneider, Z., Whitehead, D., Elliott, D., LoBiondo-Wood, G., & Haber, J. (2007). Nursing & midwifery research: Methods and appraisal for evidence-based practice (3rd ed.). Sydney: Mosby.
  • Silverman, D, (Ed.). (2004). Qualitative research: Theory, method and practice (2nd ed.) London: Sage.