• Class Number 8417
  • Term Code 2970
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 to 12 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Lindy Orthia
    • Lindy Orthia
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 01/10/2019
  • Class End Date 31/12/2019
  • Census Date 25/10/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 25/10/2019
SELT Survey Results

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

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

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

Research-Led Teaching

The entire course is devoted to teaching and learning research skills and conducting original science communication research for potential publication. Students will learn core

knowledge about conducting science communication research and will implement that.

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

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 Students will engage in self-directed research for most of the course, under supervision. The course will also train students in writing review papers, writing research papers, human participant ethics, authorship ethics, using bibliographic software, writing for 'The Conversation', and the journal paper publication process.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Report 90 % 20/12/2019 03/07/2020 1,2,3,4,5,6
Article 10 % 20/12/2019 03/07/2020 6

* 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. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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.


There is no assessable participation requirement of this course. However students are strongly encouraged to meet regularly with supervisors and discuss progress.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 90 %
Due Date: 20/12/2019
Return of Assessment: 03/07/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6


5000-8000 word report, in style of journal paper, written as if for Public Understanding of Science or other relevant journal.

Due: last Friday of non standard Session.

Returned: within 3 weeks from submission

Details of task:

Producing this assignment is the major task of the course. The final product you are aiming for is a research report in the style of a science communication journal paper, or manuscript ready for submission to a journal. The idea is to design and complete an original research project and write it up for publication. In an ideal world your research and your report will be so great that you can submit the assignment to a journal directly with no changes, so that's what you should aim for. The report should take the form of either a research paper or a review paper, depending on your project.

You should conform to the submission requirements of the journal Public Understanding of Science or other relevant journal (discuss with your supervisor) when completing your report, including its referencing style guide, word count and general expectations of the journal. You should discuss the choice of journal with your supervisor and the course convener before nominating one.

Marking criteria

To be eligible for a pass in this assignment:

The assignment must be 5000-8000 words total, including all headings and titles, the abstract, the reference list and any tables and figures, as per the requirements of Public Understanding of Science or other relevant journal. If you fail to meet this requirement you will fail the assignment irrespective of its quality otherwise.

You must comply with all ethical requirements of the project.

What your assignment should ideally demonstrate:

  • A report that conforms to the journal's specified submission requirements, style guide, and general tone and scope, as well as general expectations of a research paper or review paper published in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • A well planned project that has been expertly designed to answer an important question in science communication.
  • A robust dataset that has been analysed critically, intelligently and with care.
  • A well-structured report that flows beautifully, forming a convincing argument around your research question.
  • A comprehensive, intelligently synthesised and relevant literature review.
  • Well explained, well referenced methods.
  • Clear and objective reporting of results via appropriate techniques, including professional use of statistics, tables and figures where relevant.
  • Nuanced, intelligent and critical interpretation of results and discussion of their implications for the discipline and real life practice, as appropriate, including a discussion of the project's limitations and any recommendations for further research or implementation.
  • Professional standard referencing.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 20/12/2019
Return of Assessment: 03/07/2020
Learning Outcomes: 6


800 ±10% word article about your research in style of academic blog post, written as if for The Conversation

Due: last Friday of non-standard session

Returned: within 3 weeks from submission

Details of task:

In this assignment you will write about your own research for a more general readership. The assignment involves writing a 800 word (±10%) article in the style expected of academics writing about their research for The Conversation. The idea is to ?sell' your research to the world by showing how it relates to trending current events and/or how it can be applied usefully in practice. To achieve this aim you need to write about your work with appropriate language, style and structure.

Marking criteria

To be eligible for a pass in this assignment:

The assignment must be 800 words ±10% excluding title and any captions.

What your assignment should ideally demonstrate:

  • An article that beautifully captures a conversational style, is engaging to read, flows well and entertains.
  • A piece structured appropriately for the target venue.
  • Appropriate use of any multi-media elements and style elements relevant to the online medium.
  • Medium-appropriate acknowledgement of other people's work and thoughts.
  • A persuasive argument that taps into trending current events and/or practical applications of interest to the general readership of The Conversation.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

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) 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

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission permitted. 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).

Lindy Orthia

Research Interests

I have a particular interest in how science is represented in fiction, and how fiction influences people's perceptions of science and attitudes to science. I'm also interested in the history of ideas about science and ideological frames for science, and how these shape and emerge from public discourse about science, and the history of science communication.

Lindy Orthia

Lindy Orthia

Research Interests

Lindy Orthia

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