University of Technology Sydney

16210 Research Method and Process

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 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: School of the Built Environment
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks


This subject develops postgraduate research skills in the School of the Built Environment and is delivered using UTS learning strategies. These include blended learning approaches which combine face-to-face collaborative learning with online learning activities. The subject introduces the academic research process to postgraduate and honours students and equips them with knowledge about the philosophical foundations of social science research, research strategies, research methodology and methods, and research design strategies so that students may successfully undertake postgraduate research for doctoral studies, honours research or other smaller research projects and be able to submit research reports.

The subject has two main objectives. The first is to develop understanding and basic skills in the design of empirical research for answering social science and built environment research questions. The second is to foster an ability to critically evaluate the products of empirical research. Using the material covered during the teaching period, students are in a better position to discern good research from bad research, an important skill when so much information about the world (government policy, planning decisions, etc.) is based, at least in part, on empirical research.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

1. Describe the ethical issues in undertaking research.
2. Design research projects using quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods.
3. Explain the essential elements of research design that ensure validity, reliability and rigor in data collection.
4. Undertake simple data analysis for qualitative and quantitative methods.
5. Describe the essential considerations in preparing a research report.
6. Write a research proposal.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes to the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Communicate effectively through oral communication in projects at a professional level (Oral Communication) (C.1)
  • Communicate effectively through written communication in projects at a professional level (Written Communication) (C.2)
  • Actively reflect on, and improve, project practice (Practice Improvement) (P.5)
  • Think critically and synthesise complex data (Critical Engagement) (R.1)
  • Define, initiate, and conduct research projects (Research) (R.2)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

The term CAPRI is used for the five Design, Architecture and Building faculty graduate attribute categories where:

C = communication and groupwork

A = attitudes and values

P = practical and professional

R = research and critique

I = innovation and creativity.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs) are linked to these categories using codes (e.g. C-1, A-3, P-4, etc.).

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject is taught online or face-to-face workshop at the City Campus. It is a requirement that students undertake a minimum of 80% of activities online and attend the workshop.

Each week students will be asked to familiarise themselves with a range of different online written and visual resouces that relate to the topic which are included in the program descriptions.

Students are expected to use the online tools to ask questions, initiate student discussions with other students, and regularly respond to Canvas postings that clarify questions. Students will also work closely with their supervisors throughout the semester to guide their literature search, but articles should be searched and critiqued by students.

Students will be assessed on their critical evaluation of literature reviews published in academic journals and their peer-assessment of critical assessments completed by other students throughout the semester.

Students will be required to offer constructive feedback verbally and will have several opportunities to receive feedback during the subject. The feedback provided will vary in form, purpose and in its degree of formality:

Formative feedback will be provided during the learning process, typically provided verbally by the subject's teaching staff. It will address the content of work and a student's approach to learning, both in general and more specific ‘assessment orientated’ terms. It is designed to help students improve their performance in time for the submission of an assessment item. For this to occur students need to respond constructively to the feedback provided. This involves critically reflecting on advice given and in response altering the approach taken to a given assessment. Formative feedback may also, on occasion, be provided by other students. It is delivered informally, either in conversation during a tutorial or in the course of discussion at the scale of the whole class. It is the student’s responsibility to record any feedback given during meetings or studio sessions.

Summative feedback is provided in written form with all assessed work. It is published along with indicative grades online at UTS REVIEW. Summative feedback focuses on assessment outcomes. It is used to indicate how successfully a student has performed in terms of specific assessment criteria.

Content (topics)

Topics to be covered during the semester are:

  • Review of the philosophical, scientific and logical foundations of social science research.
  • Research ethics
  • Research design
  • Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods
  • Measurement
  • Sampling
  • Experimental designs
  • Survey research
  • Designing surveys
  • Field research
  • Types of data
  • Multiple methods
  • Simple analysis
  • Multivariate data analysis
  • The research report
  • The research proposal


Assessment task 1: Presentation & Summary


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

C.1, C.2, R.1 and R.2

Type: Presentation
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 35%

Assessment task 2: Class Exercises


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

C.1, C.2, R.1 and R.2

Type: Exercises
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 25%

Assessment task 3: Research proposal


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

3, 4, 5 and 6

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

C.2, P.5, R.1 and R.2

Type: Thesis
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%

Minimum requirements

The DAB attendance policy requires students to attend no less than 80% of formal teaching sessions (lectures and tutorials) for each class they are enrolled in to remain eligible for assessment.
Students are required to attend 80% of all classes for all enrolled subjects. Where assessment tasks are to be presented personally in class, attendance is mandatory. Pursuant to UTS rule 3.8.2 students who do not satisfy attendance requirements may be refused permission by the Responsible Academic Officer to be considered for assessment for this subject.

Required texts

Singleton, R.A. and Straits, B.C. (2017).
Approaches to Social Research.
Oxford University Press, New York. Sixth. Edition.
ISBN 9780190614249


Allen, M. (2005) Smart Thinking: Skills for Critical Understanding and Writing, 2nd edn., OUP, Oxford.
Blackshaw, J & Zuber-Skerritt, O. (1996) The design of a research project, in O Zuber-Skerritt (ed.), Frameworks for Postgraduate Education, Southern Cross University Press, Lismore
Blaikie, N. (2003) Analyzing Quanititive Data: From Description to Prescription, Sage, London
Blaikie, N. (2007) Approaches to Social Inquiry: Advancing Knowledge, 2n edn., Polity, Cambridge.
Booth, W.C., Colomb, G.G. & Williams, J.M. (2008) The Craft of Research, 3rd edn., University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Bouma, G.D & Ling, R. (2004) The Research Process, 5th edn., OUP, Oxford.
Carson, D, Gilmore, A, Perry, C & Gronhaug, K (2001) Qualitative Marketing Research, Sage, London.
Creswell, J. & Piano Clark, V.L. (2007) Designing and Conducting Mixed Method Research, Sage, Thousand Oaks.
Crotty, M.J. (1998) Foundations of Social Research: Meaning and Perspectives in the ResearchProcess, Sage, London.Denholm, C. & Czarniawaska, B. and Hernes, T. (2005). Actor-Network Theory and Organising. Libor & Copenhagen Business School, Malmo.
Drouin, N., Muller, R. & Sankaran, S. (2013) Novel Approaches to Organizational Management Research, CBS press, Copenhagen.
Evans, T. (eds.) (2006) Doctorates Downunder: Keys to Successful DoctoralStudy in Australia and New Zealand, Acer press, Camberwell.
DeVaus, D.A. (2002). Surveys in Social research, 5th edn., Allen and Unwin, St. Leonards. Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R. & Lowe, A. (2001). Management Research: An Introduction, 2nd edn., Sage, London.
Denzin, NK & Lincoln, YS (2003) (eds.) Strategies for Qualitative Inquiry, 3rd edn., Sage, Thousand oaks.
Girden, E. and Kabacoff, R. (2012). Evaluating Research Articles: From Start to Finish. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks.
Hart, C. (1999) Doing the Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination,Sage, London.
Hart, C. (2001) Doing a Literature Search: A Comprehensive Guide to the Social Sciences, Sage,London.
Huck, S.W. (2007) Reading Statistics and Research, 5th. edn., Longman, New York.
Kuhn, T.S. (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Leedy, P.D. & Omrod, J.E. (2009) Practical Research: Planning and Design, 9th edn., Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
Levine, D.M., Stephan, D., Krehbiel, T.C. & Berenson, M.L. (2007) Statistics for ManagersUsing Microsoft Excel, 5th. edn., Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
Locke, L. F., Silverman, S.J. & Spirduso, W.W. (2004), Reading and Understanding Research,2nd edn., Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks.
Machi, L.A. & McEvoy, B.T. (2008) The Literature Review: Six Steps to Success, Corwin, Thousand Oaks.
Maxwell, J.A. (2004) Qualitative Research Design: An Interactive Approach, 2nd edn., vol. 41,Applied Social Research Methods Series, Sage, Thousand Oaks.
Miles, M., Huberman M., & Soldana, J. (2013) Qualitative Data Analysis: A Methods Sourcebook. SAGE Publications, Inc; Third Edition edition (April 18, 2013), Thousand Oaks.
Nancy-Jane, L. (2008) Achieving Your Professional Doctorate, OUP, Milton-Keynes. Neuman, W.L. (2005) Social Research Methods: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches, 6th edn., Allyn and Bacon, Boston.
Punch, K. (2005) Introduction to Social Research: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches, 2nd edn., Sage, London.
Punch, K. (2006) Developing Effective Research Proposals, Sage, London.
Ragin C. (1989) The COmparative Method: Moving Beyond Qualitative and Quantitative Strategies. University of California Press, London.
Runeson, G. & Skitmore, M. (1999) Writing Research Reports: A Practical Guide for Students ofthe Built Environment, Deakin University Press, Deakin.
Sayer, A. (2006). Method in Social Science: A Realist Approach. Taylor and Francis Group, Digital Printing.
Scott. D. & Brown, A. (2004) Professional Doctorate: Integrating Academic and ProfessionalKnowledge, OUP, Milton-Keynes.
Singleton, R.A. and Straits, B.C. (1999). Approaches to Social Research. (there may be more recent editions available). Oford University Press, New York.
Sekaran, U. (2003) Research Methods for Business: A Skill Building Approach, 4th edn., JohnWiley, New York.
Stevens, K & Asmar, C. (1999) Doing Postgraduate Research in Australia, MelbourneUniversity Press, Melbourne.
Tashakkori, A. and Teddlie, C. (1998). Mixed Methodology: Combining Qualitative and Quantitiative Approaches. Applied Social Science Research Methods Series: Volume 46. Sage Publishers, Thousand Oaks.
Teddlie, C. and Tashakkori, A. (2009) Foundations of Mixed Methods Research: IntegratingQuantitative and Qualitative Approaches in the Social and Behavioral Sciences, Sage, LosAngeles.
Thomson, A (2008) Critical Reasoning: A Practical Introduction, 3rd edn., Routledge, London.
Ticehurst, G.W. and Veal, A.J. (2000) Business Research Methods: A Managerial Approach,Longman, Frenchs Forest.
Walliman, N (2001) Research Methods in Your Research Project: A Step by Step Guide for the First Time Researcher, 2nd edn., Sage, London.
Yin, R (2009), Case Study Research: Design and Methods, 4th edn., vol. 5, Applied Social Research Methods Series, Sage, Thousand Oaks.
Zikmund, W.G. (2007). Business Research Methods (with Web Surveyor Certificate andInfotrac), 7th edn., Dryden: Fort Worth.