• Class Number 9014
  • Term Code 2960
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 to 24 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Alexander Richardson
    • Dr Alexander Richardson
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/07/2019
  • Class End Date 25/10/2019
  • Census Date 31/08/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 29/07/2019
SELT Survey Results

This course is suitable for Advanced Master-level students wishing to write a thesis in the areas of management, marketing, international business, business information systems, or other relevant business studies discipline. Students in the course discuss their research interests with a potential supervisor, who assists them in identifying a suitable research topic equivalent to 24 units of coursework. With their supervisor's agreement, each student then completes an individual thesis on the agreed topic with a length of 4,000-5,000 words per 6 units of study (i.e. 24 unit course thesis is 20,000 to 25,000 words).

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate their ability to conduct a research project that is then communicated in the form of a thesis.

Research-Led Teaching

As this course requires students to undertake research, it requires in-depth examination of research in disciplines related to the chosen topic. Supervisors will guide this reading and suggest relevant material to students.

Field Trips

There are no field trips.

Additional Course Costs

There are no additional costs incurred by students completing this course.

Examination Material or equipment

There is no examination in this course.

Required Resources

No additional required resources in this courses but access to a modern computing device (tablet, laptop or desktop computer) is highly advisable.

The course Wattle site and supervisors will provide additional resources as required.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

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.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 This course is for students enrolled in RSM programs. Students will apply the evidence-based knowledge gained during their program to undertake an independent research project. The agreed topic is to be determined by the student in consultation with their ANU supervisor. The assessment, resulting from 120 hours of study per 6 units of course unit value, will consist of a series of milestones leading up the final sub-thesis/paper and an oral presentation to an audience of peers and academics. A typical undertaking of MMIB8006 will be 24 units in one semester. However, 12+12 (or other combination) is recommended for those who have a specialisation split over two semesters, or those who feel they need more than one semester to do the sub-thesis research project. You must enrol in 24 units of MMIB8006 if you wish to stay in an RSM Advanced Masters program. All student enrolled in MMIB8006 are strongly encouraged to speak to the Course Convenor about their future plans (e.g. PhD studies) as the choice of thesis format (and other factors) will impact ability to meet entrance requirements (depending on choice of institution). NOTE: Satisfactory completion of this course does not guarantee that you will be accepted into a HDR degree (e.g. PhD) at ANU as these are highly competitive, with merit based entry. Please refer to the RSM PhD Study page for further information. As this is a research project course, there are no lectures or tutorials. At the start of the semester, supervisor(s) and students will agree to a schedule of frequent (typically weekly) meetings and timetable of deliverables. Typical assessment is show below, however there may be adjustments to form and due date (as authorised by the supervisor and course convenor) depending on the student's individual requirements and circumstances. To assist with your research training, a variety of other resources will be made available to you in consultation with your supervisor, such as: attendance at school research seminars invitations to research training workshops opportunities to audit research methods courses self-study support materials The nature of the supervisory arrangements will also be agreed at the start of the semester: that is, who the primary and secondary (if any) supervisors will be for each student. You will also communicate your future plans to them. RESEARCH LEARNING OUTCOMES Problematize within a relevant discipline through both theoretical and empirical critical analysis. Translate the problem into a set of clearly defined research questions to enable a scientific approach. Determine the appropriate research design and methodology to acquire evidence relevant to the research questions. Acquire a body of evidence relevant to the problem by using the appropriate research methods. Critically analyse the gathered evidence using appropriate method of analysis. Synthesise results and/or findings to inform appropriate solutions related to the problem. Consider the theoretical and practical implications of the chose solutions for both the literature and society. Produce a structured written thesis which shows the position of the candidate in relation to the underlying problem.

Tutorial Registration

There are no separate tutorials in this course. The discussion of work will be done during the supervision meetings.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Research Proposal 10 % 09/08/2019 23/08/2019 1,2,3
Literature Review / Interim Draft 10 % 20/09/2019 04/10/2019 1,2,3,4,5
Research Presentation 10 % 18/10/2019 01/11/2019 5,6,7
Sub-Thesis / Manuscript 70 % 01/11/2019 28/11/2019 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

* 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.


Participation is expected in all supervision meetings but not assessed.


There are no examinations for this course.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 09/08/2019
Return of Assessment: 23/08/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Research Proposal

Details of Task

Individual assessment - redeemable for 10% (discuss with supervisor)

The specific requirements are to be discussed with your supervisor. The following are a guide to what to expect.

  • Outline the significance of the research topic to be investigated and the research questions.
  • Find at least TEN research articles from relevant discipline literature that will inform the research. A short summary of each item should be included in an appendix as an annotated bibliography.
  • Include a plan for the completion of the project, including planned sources of data and method of analysis.
  • Include statements as to (a) whether ethical approval is required, and (b) what resources are required.
  • Appropriate referencing (in-text) and in reference list following APA or Harvard system of referencing (or other as permitted by supervisor).

Grading criteria: (a) ability to identify and justify a research question that is relevant; (b) ability to produce a realistic research plan; (c) ability to identify key reference literature, and (d) ability to compose a well-structured piece of written work.

Linked learning outcome: 1,2,3

A template will be provided to give guidance about sections and content to include, as well as formatting.

Word Limit

Suggested length: no more than 20 pages, excluding appendix. (scaled according to thesis type and course unit weighting)

Submission Date

Can be submitted up to one week before the specified due date.

Due Date of Assessment

25% progress point (e.g. 5pm Friday Week 3). Mark and feedback will be returned within two weeks of submission.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 20/09/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/10/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Literature Review / Interim Draft

Details of Task

Individual assessment - redeemable for 10% (discuss with supervisor)

The interim draft should be largely consistent with the project proposal. It will include: an abstract, justification for the project, the research questions, relevant literature, data collection method and data. Preliminary analysis of data can be included.

Grading criteria: ability to: (a) conduct a thorough review of literature relevant to the research topics; (b) frame the project within the relevant literature; (c) justify the research questions; (d) design data collection; (e) present data collected (if ready).

Linked learning outcome: 1,2,3,4,5

A template will be provided to give guidance about sections and content to include, as well as formatting. Appropriate referencing (in-text) and in reference list following APA or Harvard system of referencing (or other as permitted by supervisor).

Word Limit

Suggested length: 30 pages (scaled according to thesis type and course unit weighting)

Submission Date

Can be submitted up to one week before the specified due date.

Due Date of Assessment

50% progress point (e.g. 5pm Friday Week 7). Mark and feedback will be returned within two weeks of submission.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 18/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 01/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 5,6,7

Research Presentation

Details of Task

Individual assessment - redeemable for 10% (discuss with supervisor)

This is an oral presentation performed in front of at least one supervisor.

The presentation will give the candidate the opportunity to communicate findings to an audience of interested students, academics and peers. Feedback can be obtained to allow the final thesis to be improved.

Grading criteria: (a) professionalism of presentation; (b) suitability for audience that includes peers; (c) credibility of results; (d) ability to answer questions.

Linked learning outcome: 5,6,7

Time Limit

Suggested time: 30 minutes plus 10 minutes for questions (scaled according to thesis type and course unit weighting)

Submission Date

Will normally be completed during Week 11.

Due Date of Assessment

75% progress point (e.g. on or before 5pm Friday Week 11). Mark and feedback will be returned within two weeks of submission.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 70 %
Due Date: 01/11/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Sub-Thesis / Manuscript

Details of Task

Individual assessment - worth 70-100%

The research sub-thesis/manuscript (hereafter just referred to as thesis) is completed over the 24 units and… provides evidence of the student’s ability to undertake original research under supervision. It represents the most significant piece of research and writing completed in a postgraduate coursework career, and typically accounts for a semester's worth of study. It is a form of apprentice’s ‘masterpiece’ in which students demonstrate their level of comprehension of a body of knowledge and the scholarly skills used in the discipline in which the research is embedded. It is also an important indicator of the student’s ability to take part, at a junior level, in the discourses of the discipline.

Ideally, the thesis acts as an important indicator of the student’s:

  • knowledge and understanding of the factual, theoretical and conceptual content of the discipline;
  • ability, under guidance, to apply that knowledge to identify and to resolve existing problems occurring within the discipline, to identify new problems worthy of examining, and to identify and use new data and hypotheses for those purposes;
  • proficiency in the research processes and methods used in the discipline;
  • ability to engage in forms and styles of discourse used in the discipline;
  • ability to research, marshal evidence, and to argue a case persuasively, coherently and cogently, in a simple, direct and positive style of English expression that allows the reader to follow the argument without undue difficulty; and
  • future potential to progress to a higher degree involving significant amounts of original research.

Further detail on the thesis will be given to enrolled students by email and by their supervisors.

Grading criteria: This statement of assessment criteria has been prepared to achieve the following aims:

  • to encourage and assist the preparation of high quality theses by providing clear guidelines as to what is considered important in a good thesis in terms of the desired learning outcomes of the… Advanced Masters program;
  • to provide well structured opportunities for achievement at all stages in the preparation of a thesis, and by providing motivation, self-perception and other positive approaches to research and writing;
  • to serve as a means of identifying individual strengths and difficulties during the research and writing process, and of encouraging students to learn from the feedback from supervisors and others called upon to help during the preparation stages;
  • to give clear expression to the educational objectives of the School about the purposes of the thesis component of the sub-thesis course;
  • to ensure consistency in the quality and in the grades awarded for theses presented in the School;
  • to maintain good supervision, learning and achievement standards; and
  • to provide accurate certification of the level of achievement reached by students completing theses in the School.

Examiners are asked to assess the adequacy of the following aspects of the thesis:

  • Statement of study focus, problem/research objectives and research questions
  • Appropriateness of the title: does it accurately reflect the content
  • Review of relevant literature
  • Development of propositions/hypotheses
  • Research design and data
  • Description of research methodology
  • Analysis and discussion of results
  • Acknowledgement of limitations of the study
  • Conclusion, recommendations and implications
  • Logical argument/Structure of thesis
  • Clarity of presentation

A thesis is often a difficult piece of work to assess, partly because of its length, partly because the time available for the research project may limit the data that can be collected for analysis. Such limitations should be understood by students, supervisors and examiners. A major difficulty is that each thesis is unique in the sense that it examines a problem or a set of data or records, or it develops or applies a method of analysis or critical technique to a problem not before knowingly attempted by a scholar. It is this character of uniqueness that at once provides both the greatest challenge and test of ability that an student will face during their postgraduate coursework career, and challenging problems of assessment for academic supervisors and assessors called upon to mark the work.

Writing and assessing final theses calls for considerable use of judgement both by those who write the thesis, and those who supervise and assess it. Inevitably, differences in interpretation will occur within any set of criteria used to assess the quality of a final thesis. The following list of criteria acknowledges this limitation. It should, therefore, be regarded as a guide to judgement rather than as a rigid set of rules to be followed mechanistically.

If you are not certain about how to interpret the criteria, or are concerned that your interpretation may be different from that of your supervisor or of those who will mark the thesis, you must clarify those areas of concern before the thesis is presented for examination, especially if you feel they do not allow you to express your ideas to their best advantage, or may hinder a favourable assessment of the final thesis.

Fail (less than 50%)

A thesis will receive a mark of less than 50% if it fails to meet the basic requirements of a pass. Students who are judged to be in danger of failing to achieve a pass may be warned in advance of presenting their thesis that their work indicates continuing failure to meet the standards required to achieve a pass grade. Students who consider their current level of achievement may not be high enough to achieve a pass should make their concern known to their supervisor(s) at the earliest possible moment.

If a student is warned of the possibility of failure, or indicates a concern that he or she might fail, steps will be taken immediately by the supervisor and the Course Convenor to identify the areas of concern and to counsel the student through the difficulties to a satisfactory conclusion.

Pass (50% to less than 60%)

A pass mark of less than 60% for a thesis indicates that the student has achieved a basic comprehension of the research methods used in the discipline, but has limited aptitude for engaging in the higher scholarly discourses of the discipline. In addition:

  • The thesis meets all the basic requirements of writing and presentation set out above, but continues to display evidence of insufficient attention to the details of the writing and presentation processes. Sources and references are inadequate in quantity, and are drawn from a narrow range of published sources. Non-verbal forms of expression, such as graphs, tables, etc., if used, have limited reference to the argument or are not well thought out or presented.
  • The thesis contains a clearly identifiable structure, though the individual arguments it contains may not always be well-structured. The relationship between the parts of the arguments may not always be clear, or may not always contain enough support for key aspects or the final conclusions.
  • The thesis displays a good basic knowledge of specific facts and general concepts relevant to answering the problem in hand, but has confined the research component of the thesis to a limited, well-known and easily accessible selection of data and texts.
  • The thesis shows limited evidence that basic ideas and texts studied during the student's postgraduate program, and in the sub-thesis course, have been used, or their implications appreciated.

Credit (60% to less than 70%)

A credit mark indicates that the student has achieved a greater comprehension of the main elements of research methods used in the discipline than is required for a pass award. In particular, it shows that:

  • The student has demonstrated the ability to complete a research program under the guidance of an experienced academic; has clearly demonstrated good library searching skills; and has some comprehension of the higher skills of scholarly discourse required within the discipline.
  • The thesis contains no gross deficiencies in writing or presentation, though it may demonstrate evidence of requiring more attention and instruction in the processes of writing.
  • The argument of the thesis as a whole, and the individual arguments it contains, are well-structured and supported by documentary evidence drawn from data and published sources, and from theoretical literature relevant to the discipline.
  • The thesis shows a good familiarity with the main literature relevant to the thesis topic, though it may have omitted some important items. There is a good understanding of the main data and the analytical techniques used in the thesis, and their main deficiencies and problems. The thesis shows a good understanding of the main ideas that form the basis of the thesis topic, although the writer may not have indicated an appreciation of their wider ramifications, or have integrated them into the thesis.
  • The writer has attempted, though with limited success, to apply the principles, ideas, and theories learned in the relevant academic disciplines to discriminate between arguments, or to organise and to analyse arguments and data used in the thesis.

Distinction (70% to less than 80%)

A distinction thesis contains all the strengths of a credit thesis but with significantly fewer of its failures. It demonstrates a greater comprehension of the higher levels of discourse in the discipline, and shows the writer is capable of maintaining a sustained, cogently expressed argument throughout the thesis, and is able, under guidance, to identify and to specify a significant problem clearly, and to develop a research program designed to answer that problem. In addition:

  • The written expression is clear, direct and simple. Other forms of non-verbal expression such as graphs, tables, etc., are relevant and well prepared.
  • The thesis contains a sound, logical structure throughout. The arguments used are persuasive and are well-supported by empirical evidence, by the use of literature, and/or by the use of theory appropriate to the analysis of the problems being considered.
  • It contains more evidence than is found in a credit thesis of extensive reading and use of data, and of the ability to discriminate between ideas, and the quality of argument and evidence used by other scholars whose work relates to the topic of the thesis.
  • It displays the ability to break down arguments to their constituent parts for the purpose of critical assessment (analytical ability) and to establish clear conclusions. The thesis shows some willingness or ability to rearrange elements to constitute structures or perceptions not clearly there before (synthesis).

High Distinction (80% or more)

A high distinction thesis contains all the features outlined for a distinction, but in addition:

  • It shows all the structural and technical elements of good writing.
  • It contains evidence of extensive reading and research, and the ability to integrate them into well organised arguments going well beyond, perhaps imaginatively beyond, what is required for a distinction grade.
  • The thesis is markedly more characterised than a distinction thesis by evidence of strong critical awareness of the importance of the academic and wider context, and of the relevant literature affecting the issues being examined.
  • It shows greater comprehension than for a distinction essay of the critical, analytical and synthesising skills required to formulate and to complete a research program successfully, and of the ability to appraise accurately the wider implications for further research and (perhaps) for other issues in the relevant discipline of the results of the completed research.

At the highest level of achievement the thesis will demonstrate evidence of strong ingenuity and flair based on all the learning objectives of the course. The thesis will be exciting, or surprising, or challenging, or erudite, and will indicate clear evidence of the ability to conduct higher levels of research in the discipline.

Linked learning outcome: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Word Limit

Suggested length: The length will depend on the form of the written piece. It should represent the effort resulting from 120 hours per 6 units of course value.

A thesis normally has an upper limit of 100 typed A4 pages. All tables, diagrams, figures, charts or exhibits should be included within the page limit. This limit excludes references and bibliographies, appendices, table of contents, table of figures, and table of tables.

Alternatively, the thesis may be structured like a journal article ready for submission (about 50 pages including appendices).

The choice of a 100 page or a journal article style thesis is left to the discretion of the student and supervisor. The student should consult the supervisor in terms of the choice and notify his/her choice to the course convenor.

A template will be provided to give guidance about sections and content to include, as well as formatting. Appropriate referencing (in-text) and in reference list following APA or Harvard system of referencing (or other as permitted by supervisor).

Submission Date

Can be submitted up to one week before the specified due date.

Due Date of Assessment

100% progress point (e.g. 5pm Friday, first week of exam period). Mark and feedback will be returned when final grades are released.

Extensions are granted only under exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the Deputy Director (Education) in consultation with the Course Convenor. Exceptional circumstances may include:

  • Prolonged periods of illness during the candidature;
  • Serious illness in the month prior to the due date;
  • Inability of the supervisor to provide timely advice or feedback owing to the supervisor’s illness, death, unexpected extended absence (other than on Sabbatical leave, as this will be known prior to the commencement of the thesis), or resignation from ANU;
  • Serious illness or death of a family member or close friend; or
  • Unexpected significant caring responsibilities for a family member.

Non-acceptable grounds for extension include:

  • Computer malfunction (students should implement risk management strategies);
  • Loss of documents or data (students should implement risk management strategies);
  • Difficulties in obtaining data;
  • English-language difficulties; or
  • Work commitments.

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

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.

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.

All requests for extensions to assessment in RSM courses must be submitted to the RSM School Office with a completed application form and supporting documentation. The RSM Extension Application Form and further information on this process can be found at https://www.rsm.anu.edu.au/education/education-programs/notices-for-students/extension-application-procedure/

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.

Returning Assignments

Please see relevant assessment task details above.

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.

Resubmission of Assignments

Unless specified otherwise in the assignment requirements, resubmissions are permitted up until the due date and time, but not allowed afterwards.

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).
Dr Alexander Richardson
+61 2 612 59807

Research Interests

  • Decision Support Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Educational Technology And Computing
  • Digital Transformation
  • Virtual Reality Environments
  • Knowledgement Management & Sharing

Dr Alexander Richardson

Tuesday 11:00 12:00
Tuesday 11:00 12:00
Dr Alexander Richardson
+61 2 612 59807

Research Interests

Dr Alexander Richardson

Tuesday 11:00 12:00
Tuesday 11:00 12:00

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions