• Class Number 3324
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Duncan Wright
    • Duncan Wright
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

The course provides an introduction to independent research in archaeology and to the preparation of a research thesis. Coursework will be framed around the enrolled students' individual honours projects, and course meetings will include a mix of formal instruction and group-based discussion. Readings will include papers and books on archaeological and research methodology, academic readings relevant to individual honours projects and scholarly theses.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon Successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Analyse and interpret complex texts relevant to their research;
  2. Present logical, structured and supported arguments;
  3. Communicate effectively with peers and colleagues about sophisticated archaeological concepts in seminar and presentation contexts;
  4. Design, develop and carry out initial research for an honours thesis project.

Required Resources

During this course it is assumed that you will undertake substantial research relating to your thesis. In addition, it is important that you read the two course readings:

Evans, D and P. Gruba (2007). How to write a better thesis. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.

Connah, G. 2010. Writing about archaeology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Through Wattle messages

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

A mixture of informal and formal sessions will be given in order to handle the investigative nature of the course. At the start of the semester we will identify your own research priorities and seek to work towards these throughout the course.

Course structure will require 10 hours of work per week, generally a 1 hour workshop and 9 hours completing independent reading and research. Some week’s workshops will not be held to allow you to research and write. Keep in mind that this is aligned with your own Honours research and so the more work you do towards this the closer you will get to the ultimate goal of completing your Honours thesis.

Each student will have already organised to have a staff member supervise their Honours project. Students should work closely with their supervisor and meet them regularly to ensure their research and writing is on track to complete the Honours Programme by the end of the academic year.

Schedule in detail

Week 1: Introductory meeting

This session will serve as an introduction to the honours programme, the coursework component and the process of independent research leading to the production of an honours thesis. We will discuss the schedule for Arch4002, the specific requirements of each piece of coursework and some general guidelines and advice for setting up your project. A particular focus will be on you assessing your own needs and preparing to arrange regular meetings with your supervisor. You will each have a chance to introduce yourselves, your project and your plans. Each student will be asked to outline briefly their area of research. These ideas will be discussed in relation to the requirements of the thesis and available expertise and information sources.


  • Prepare to speak for 5-10 minutes about your research project and plans. Topics to focus on: why you chose this topic, what you hope to discover, problems you think you’re going to face, skills you’re hoping to develop. You do not need to prepare any handouts/ppts/etc. In particular, think about where your thesis sits within the broad archaeology cannon (see for e.g. Connah 2010 – chapters 1 and 2)
  • Think about any uncertainties you have about specific aspects of the thesis not covered in the course structure. This might also include research skills that are not specifically related to the thesis (e.g. report writing, grant application writing, journal article writing, presenting conference papers etc). I will attempt to integrate these aspects within the course.


Evans and Gruba 2007. “What’s a thesis” and “making a strong start” (Chapter 2-3)

Skim read Connah 2010 – Chapters 1 and 2

Week 2: Structuring a thesis, asking the right questions

The idea of producing a large piece of independent work can be daunting. This session will focus on the parts making up an honours thesis, particularly how to ask the right questions and answer these questions. We will start by discussing the way that research questions and hypotheses structure not just research, but also the written thesis. You will share your observations about an honours theses from previous years before workshopping your own hypotheses and research questions.


  • Skim read through 2-3 honours theses from previous years. These should be at least somewhat relevant to your own thesis (either in being archaeological or in having similar methodologies or theoretical approaches). Prepare to discuss the formal elements of these theses, especially: the aims/hypotheses; the chapter structure; the methods applied. Also, assess whether the structure was consistent throughout – i.e. were the conclusions/ methods aligned with the research aims.
  • Bring a 1 paragraph outline of your thesis with notes on what is complete and what you have yet to do. Think about the timeline for completion.
  • Be prepared to reverse engineer your own thesis. The more prep work you have done towards this the better. Think about research gaps which you will try to fill. Based on this/ these, what research aims/ questions would be useful to test? Prepare a short list of aims/research questions.


Evans and Gruba 2007. “The introductory chapter” (Chapter 5)

Skim read Connah 2010 -Chapters 3-5

By the end of this workshop you should have:

  • A time schedule for the Hons (you can start this from Week 2)
  • A thesis mapping doc
  • A list of aims/ research questions

Week 3: Background chapters (What is a lit review?)

Writing a focused literature review is a crucial part of preparing any research thesis. It allows the reader to position your thesis both in terms of broad research themes/ theoretical frameworks and area specific archaeologies. This session will provide a chance to relate structural aspects of others literature review chapters to your own study. We will discuss the reading you’re doing and how best to answer your own research questions through cohesive and coherent literature review.


  • Return to the honours theses you read in previous weeks. Re-read the literature review chapters and compare their chapter structure and goals. Prepare to discuss the ways the literature reviews related to the thesis aims and its final outcomes. How did the authors introduce and analyse the bodies of work they were discussing? What worked and what did not?
  • We will now continue to reverse engineer your thesis. Be prepared to discuss how research aims/ gaps identified in Week 2 can be tested through focused literature review (both in terms of broad research themes and regional specific archaeologies). What literature must be covered to realise your research aims. You must bring notes to this tutorial as you will be outlining your literature review chapter with a supervisor.

By the end of this workshop you should have:

  • A chapter summary for your literature review


Evans and Gruba 2007. “The background chapters” (Chapter 6)

Week 4: NA

Week 5: Theoretical framework and research design– where does your work sit?

This session will focus on something that causes much undue stress for honours candidates –positioning your own research within its broader, theoretical context. The theoretical framework provides a particular perspective, or lens, through which to examine a topic. Put another way, it is the order we put facts in – the set of rules we use to translate facts (and/ or raw data) into meaningful accounts about past people. It will influence what methods you use and how you interpret results so it is very important and worth identifying early. In this workshop we will identify the theoretical framework in other research papers/ theses and then attempt to develop this for your own thesis.


  • Return to the honours theses you read in previous weeks. Re-read the introduction/ literature review chapters and identify the theoretical framework. Try to find this in at least 2 papers of interest that you have found during your own literature review. Be prepared to discuss what approach these authors take and where this section is introduced. Also explore the extent to which this framework influences research questions/ methods/ discussion.
  • What lens might you use to situate/ interpret your own data? You may wish to read similar studies to see how they have approached similar research questions/ data-sets. You should also discuss this with your supervisor prior to coming to the workshop.


By the end of this workshop you should have:

  • 2nd (detailed) draft of your literature review chapter summary

Week 6: Methods, methodology

A crucial part of your thesis is developing an appropriate methodology. The methodology is more than just a step by step way of carrying out research, it reflects your aims, articulates with your lit review and contains both a description of your research process and a rationale for choosing this process over others. This workshop will allow you time and space to develop an understanding of what methods and methodologies look like and how they function within the broader structure of your thesis. You will have a chance to outline your proposed methods and methodologies with your peers.


  • Return to the honours theses you read in previous weeks. Re-read the methodology chapters and compare the chapter structure and goals between them. Prepare to discuss the ways the methodologies related to the thesis aims, to the literature review and to the final outcomes. What are the broad methods and specific methodologies?
  • Bring your thesis aims and lit review and prepare to work on identifying appropriate methodological strategies. You should discuss these with your supervisor prior to coming to this workshop.

By the end of this workshop you should have:

  • A draft list of your thesis method and methodologies (you should run this past your supervisor before or after this workshop).

Week 7: Traditions of criticism and critique

An important part of academic writing is the ability to critique previous work in a professional manner. In the course of your thesis writing, you will be forced to disagree with previous research in the field, to build on gaps in that research and to distinguish your own work from earlier and ongoing studies. You will also be required to critique your own writing (effectively to examine your own thesis). This session will allow you to compare different strategies for critiquing published work and previous archaeological analyses. You will focus especially on positioning the novelty of your own research within its wider disciplinary context.


  • Find three published critical reviews of archaeological books or excavation reports. Note the points on which the book/report is being criticised and the effectiveness of the critique. Prepare to discuss your findings with your classmates.
  • Bring the lit review outline you developed last week and be prepared to discuss it in light of this week’s topic.

By the end of this workshop you should have:

  • Tools required to critique your own thesis chapters
  • Examples of thesis examiners marking criteria


  • Evans and Gruba 2007. “Before you finally submit” (Chapter 11)

Week 8 – NA

Week 9: Thesis progress roundtable: progress, time-lines and initial results

As a group we will discuss your progress to date and any interesting early results and ideas. The deadline for your 1st draft literature review coincides with this workshop. This is so we can share written work and discuss how these may be improved before the second draft. If possible it would be helpful to circulate papers prior to this class so comments can be made in advance.


  • An amended time schedule for the Hons (be ready to discuss your progress with your classmates and to discuss any particular problems you have encountered).
  • Amended thesis map (to incorporate any changes to your goals/ direction).
  • Literature Review chapter – draft 1 (for discussion).

By the end of this workshop you should have:

  • Comments from colleagues within the class about your draft Literature Review.

Week 10: Good academic writing

The quickest way to frustrate a thesis examiner is to blur the bones of a thesis by poor, unwieldy paragraphs and sentences. Academic writing is seen by the inexperienced as a way to showcase complicated and flowery language. The opposite is usually true. Good academic writing is presenting complex ideas and new results in a way that is very clear and concise. In this workshop we will explore good and bad academic writing. You are expected to bring along a basic draft of your literature review chapter and work through this with your course colleagues.


  • Choose two journal articles (or one monograph) obtained during your literature review. Read through these thinking about pros and cons in writing style. Be ready to discuss these during the workshop.
  • Bring along your literature review chapter and be ready to modify at least one section based on information provided during the workshop.

By the end of this workshop you should have:

  • Modified at least one section of your literature review using good academic practice. This can be used as an exemplar for the rest of your chapter write up.
  • A hand out about good academic writing.

Week 11: Writing week

Week 12: Thesis progress roundtable: progress, time-lines and initial results

As a group we will discuss your progress to date and how you plan to continue in the future. We will discuss strategies for the next stage of thesis write up.


  • Prepare to discuss your progress, emended goals and time lines with your classmates and to discuss any particular problems you have encountered.
  • Bring an outline of your thesis with notes on what is complete and what you have yet to write.
  • Develop a preliminary timeline for completion.
  • Should you have any concerns/ uncertainties about future stages of your thesis this is an opportunity to prepare questions.


Referencing is a vital part of all academic writing. You must reference in the text of your essay ALL information and ideas derived from your reading, not just those parts which are direct quotations. This is an important part of academic professional practice.

In Archaeology, the Harvard system of referencing is followed, not the footnoting system used by some other disciplines. For example:

For many research problems, a small sample will suffice (Seymour 1980).

Alternatively, the author’s surname may be integrated into the text, followed immediately by the year of publication, in brackets. For example:

Seymour (1980) has argued that for many research problems, a small sample will suffice.

When you use a direct quotation, or refer to a specific idea, you need to include the page number(s) in the text reference after a colon. For example:

For many research problems, “a small sample will suffice” (Seymour 1980:22).

If more than one work is cited, they should be referenced as follows:

Schiffer (1987) and Redman (1974) have considered....

Previous authors (Schiffer 1987; Redman 1974) have considered....

In the case of work that has more than three authors, only the surname of the first listed author is used, followed by the expression “et al.” (meaning “and others”). For example, a work by Schiffer, Rathje, Redman and Martin becomes:

Schiffer et al. (2000) have found....

It has been found (Shiffer et al. 2000) that....

If you want to quote a long passage (40 words or more) from another publication, it should be indented with no quotation marks:

As is widely known,

It is inevitable that much of the archaeological variability reported within and between regions is a consequence, not of past human behaviour, but of differences in the environmental processes that today influence the archaeologist's ability to find and interpret artefacts and sites (Schiffer 1987:262).

You then list all the books and articles to which you have referred in the text of your essay under the heading “Bibliography” or “Works Cited” or “Reference List” at the end of your essay. These references must be arranged in alphabetical order by first author surname/family name. They should not be numbered or bullet-pointed lists.

The following examples illustrate the preferred format (Harvard style) for dealing with various types of source material in your References. If you look at references in any journal article or book you will see that many specific formats can be used - the essence is to be consistent.

For a book:

Darvill, T. 2010. Prehistoric Britain. 2nd ed, London: Routledge.

For a book by more than one author:

Benson, D. and Whittle, A. 2007. Building memories: the Neolithic Cotswold long barrow at Ascott-Under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire. Oxford: Oxbow.

For an edited volume:

Haselgrove, C. and Moore, T. (eds). 2007. The later Iron Age in Britain and beyond. Oxford: Oxbow Books.

For an article in an edited volume:

Haselgrove, C. 1999: The Iron Age. In Hunter, J. R. and Ralston, I. B. M. (eds.), The Archaeology of Britain. an introduction from the Upper Palaeolithic to the Industrial Revolution. Routledge, London. 113-134.

For an article in a journal:

Schulting, R.J. & M.P. Richards 2002, The wet, the wild and the domesticated: the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition on the west coast of Scotland. European Journal of Archaeology 5(2): 147-189.

Note that the journal title, NOT the article title is italicised, and the volume number and issue or part of the volume are indicated before the page number.

For a website:

Parker Pearson, M. 2010. Stonehenge riverside project homepage. University of Sheffield, [last accessed 2 Feb. 2012]. Available from http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/archaeology /research/stonehenge.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introductory meeting – Criteria for thesis examination
2 Structuring a thesis, asking the right questions
3 Background chapters (what is a lit review?)
4 Writing week
5 Theoretical framework and research design Assessment 1
6 Methods versus methodologies
7 Traditions of criticism and critique
8 Writing week Assessment 2
9 Thesis progress round table: progress, time-lines and initial results
10 From first to second draft
11 Thesis progress round table: progress, time-lines and initial results Assessment 3
12 No lecture Assessment 4

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Annotated Bibliography 20 % 30/03/2019 15/04/2019 1, 4
Literature Review One (Optional) 0 % 01/05/2019 15/05/2019 1, 2, 4
Literature Review Two 70 % 27/05/2019 18/06/2019 1, 2, 3, 4
Participation 10 % 01/05/2019 20/05/2019 1

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 30/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 15/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 4

Annotated Bibliography

Provide a bibliography of at least 15 references that directly relate to your literature review chapter. Annotate each reference with a paragraph summarizing the article or book’s content and its relevance to your thesis. Your annotations should address (briefly! Complete sentences not required!):

  • The main points/thesis of the work, effectiveness of the arguments;
  • Contextualisation of the work within its larger field;
  • Relevance to your research topic.

Value: 20%

Assessment Task 2

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 01/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 15/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 4

Literature Review One (Optional)

You will write a 3000 word review of the literature relevant to your thesis. As the foundation for Assessment 3, this is an opportunity to write a first draft which you can then polish in subsequent weeks.

The literature review is a key chapter within your thesis. Its purpose is two-fold: to summarise the key research in the field you are researching and to provide a critical review of this body of research in order to outline the original contribution which you propose to make. Your literature review should develop logically from your research questions and hypotheses and you should work closely with your supervisor to determine the best approach and body of literature to read and discuss. Full academic references and a bibliography are expected.

Recycling of material between this assessment and the next one (also between this course and your thesis) is expected and acceptable.


Assessment Task 3

Value: 70 %
Due Date: 27/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 18/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Literature Review Two

Using data collected in the preceding assessments you will draft a polished draft of your literature review chapter.

This assessment differs from the preceding one as you are expected to have an essay that can be easily turned into a thesis chapter for your honours.

Value: 70%

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 01/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 20/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1


Regular participation in seminars.

Value: 10%

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) as submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Duncan Wright

Research Interests

Duncan Wright

Tuesday 15:00 16:00
Tuesday 15:00 16:00
Duncan Wright

Research Interests

Duncan Wright

Tuesday 15:00 16:00
Tuesday 15:00 16:00

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