• Code SCOM3003
  • Unit Value 6 to 12 units
  • Offered by Centre for the Public Awareness of Science
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Science Communication
  • Areas of interest Science Communication
  • Academic career Undergraduate
  • Course convener
    • Dr Lindy Orthia
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2017
    Second Semester 2017
    See Future Offerings

In this course, academics at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science can offer supervision for an original research project to motivated third year students undertaking a SCOM Major. Students will devise their own science communication research project in collaboration with the supervisor, or can pursue a topic already offered by the supervisor.

The course can be taken as 6 or 12 units:

  • A 6-unit project can take the form of a comprehensive literature review, a content analysis, the creation and evaluation of a science communication tool or artefact, or similar - research projects that do not involve human participants except in some cases a small pilot test.
  • The 12-unit version of the course is reserved for projects that involve a prominent human participant component and therefore require the student to apply for, and receive, ethics approval. This includes all focus group, survey and interview-based projects. In rare cases students may be offered the 12 unit version if there are other methodological reasons that necessitate more time be devoted to the project. Each project must be completed within a single semester, with the rare exception of longitudinal human participant studies for which a longer time frame is genuinely required to complete the project.

If the work produced is of a sufficient standard, students may be offered the opportunity to co-publish it with their supervisor. All research projects must be undertaken with appropriate ethics approval to facilitate potential future publication of data.

Students must discuss their project ideas with the course convener prior to enrolling in the course to ensure they enrol in the appropriate version and that a supervisor is available.

This is an Honours Pathway Course.

Learning Outcomes

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
1. Plan and engage in a critical investigation and evaluation of a chosen research topic
2. Identify and engage with relevant theory and concepts, relate these to the agreed upon methodologies and evidence, and draw appropriate conclusions
3. Engage in systematic discovery and critical review of appropriate and relevant information sources
4. Appropriately apply statistical or other evaluation processes to original data
5. Understand and apply ethical standards of conduct in the collection and evaluation of data and other resources
6. Communicate research concepts and contexts clearly and effectively both in writing and orally

Other Information

Available to third year students undertaking the Bachelor of Science (Science Communication) or a Science Communication Major who are deemed by the course convenor or undergraduate convenor to have achieved a sufficient academic standard in science communication courses. A supervisor must also be available to take the project on: students are advised to speak to potential supervisors early to ensure this is possible.

Indicative Assessment

  • 5000-8000 word report on an original research project, in the style of a journal paper for the journal 'Public Understanding of Science' (80%, LO 1,2,3,4,5,6)
  • 800 ±10% word academic blog post written as if for 'The Conversation', communicating about the research project to a wider audience (15%, LO 6)
  • 5 short reflections spaced throughout the semester, answering set questions about the research process and experience (5 x 1%, LO 6)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Contact hours to be negotiated. Students are expected to work on the project for 10 hours per week (6 unit enrolment) or 20 hours per week (12 unit enrolment).

Requisite and Incompatibility

You will need to contact the Centre for the Public Awareness of Science to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Assumed Knowledge

Students are expected to have some experience in and knowledge of:

• social science research skills including content analysis, survey design, interview techniques and focus group management.

• history, theory and principles of science communication.

• the practice of science communication, both written and verbal, as well as experience supporting this communication through props, visual aids, multimedia products, and so on.

• the design of science communication research projects, including framing research questions and choosing appropriate methods.



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Band 2
Unit value:
6 to 12 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
7.00 0.14583
8.00 0.16667
9.00 0.18750
10.00 0.20833
11.00 0.22917
12.00 0.25000
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $574 per unit
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $765 per unit
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings and Dates

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery
3219 20 Feb 2017 27 Feb 2017 31 Mar 2017 26 May 2017 In Person
3939 20 Feb 2017 27 Feb 2017 31 Mar 2017 26 May 2017 In Person

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery
8138 24 Jul 2017 31 Jul 2017 31 Aug 2017 27 Oct 2017 In Person
8970 24 Jul 2017 31 Jul 2017 31 Aug 2017 27 Oct 2017 In Person

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