• Class Number 5616
  • Term Code 2940
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Tamara Jacka
    • Prof Tamara Jacka
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 01/04/2019
  • Class End Date 30/06/2019
  • Census Date 19/04/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 19/04/2019
SELT Survey Results

This is a Higher Degree by Research training course in research design and writing in the social sciences. It is designed as an introduction to the HDR programs in the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, and is required for all HDR students across the school. It is held in the autumn session of each year, to allow students newly enrolling at the beginning of the year to participate. Students enrolling in 2nd semester will take the course in the autumn session of the following year. The Department of Political and Social Change convenes the course, but presenters in each of the classes come from across the constituent units of the Bell School.
Through the course, students will be introduced to the practical requirements of the School's HDR programs; acquire the basic skills and understanding necessary for designing and undertaking a research project in international, political and strategic studies, and communicating one's plans in oral and written form; develop cognitive and communicative skills and independent thinking to be able to critique and debate research theories and ideas, and be introduced to a range of disciplinary approaches in international, political and strategic studies.

Learning Outcomes

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

On completion of the course, students will be able to:

 1. Understand the requirements of the HDR program in the School of IPS and support services available;

 2. Demonstrate the ability to undertake thesis/research project planning;

 3. Demonstrate an understanding of a range of disciplinary approaches in international, political and strategic studies and an ability to engage in critique and debate about them;

 4. Identify and apply appropriate theoretical and conceptual approaches and modes of analysis;

 5. Communicate a research plan and disciplinary approaches to peers;

 6. Understand issues relating to research integrity and how to address them in the context of HDR; and,

 7. Understand issues relating to workplace health and safety (including in fieldwork) and how to address them in the context of HDR.

Research-Led Teaching

This is a research training course, designed and taught by world-renowned researchers in the fields of Asian and Pacific international, political and strategic studies. Each week, guest speakers draw on their own research expertise and experience to give presentations and lead discussions on various issues relating to the design, conduct and communication of research.           

Required Resources

All the reading required for this course will be available on the course Wattle site.

Many (not all) recommended further readings are available via links on the course Wattle site.

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 Seminar - Week 1: April 2: Getting started Speaker: Tamara Jacka (PSC)
2 Seminar - Week 2: April 9: Research proposal and design Speaker: Tamara Jacka (PSC)
3 Seminar - Week 3: April 16: Formulating questions Speaker: Edward Aspinall (PSC)
4 Seminar - Week 4: April 23: Literature review Speaker: Jeremy Youde (IR)
5 Seminar - Week 5 (1): May 1: Writing workshop 1 Seminar - Week 5 (2): May 2: Writing workshop 2 Speaker: Academic Skills & Learning Centre (ASLC)
6 Seminar - Week 6: May 7: Realism/positivism Speaker: Paul Kenny (PSC)
7 Seminar - Week 7: May 14: Interpretivism Speaker: April Biccum (CASS)
8 Seminar - Week 8: May 21: Review of research questions & proposals Speaker: Tamara Jacka (PSC)
9 Seminar - Week 9 (1): May 29: Writing workshop 3 Seminar - Week 9 (2): May 30: Writing workshop 4 Speaker: ASLC
10 Seminar - Week 10 (1): June 5: Writing workshop 5 Seminar - Week 10 (2): June 6: Writing workshop 6 Speaker: ASLC
11 No class
12 Seminar - Week 12: June 19: Student presentations Speakers: students

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Participation 10 % 19/06/2019 24/06/2019 1, 2, 3
Peer group discussion and tasks 20 % 19/06/2019 24/06/2019 1, 2, 3
Oral presentation 20 % 19/06/2019 24/06/2019 1, 2
Research paper 50 % 10/07/2019 09/08/2019 1, 2

* 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: 10 %
Due Date: 19/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 24/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3


Details of task: Students are expected to participate actively in discussions and activities during seminar classes, and to post comments on Wattle, which reflect on the reading and the discussion questions set for each week, and engage with other students’ individual and group comments.

For students on campus, the mark for participation is based on involvement in discussions and activities during seminar classes. For those undertaking the course externally, the mark for participation is based solely on comments posted on Wattle.

Value: 10% (pass/fail)

Submission requirements: Written comments should be posted by the student on Wattle, no later than midnight on the Friday before class.

Word limit (for written comments from external students only): 600 words (+/- 10%) x 5 weeks (weeks 2-4, 6-7)

Due date (for written comments): No later than 3 days before the relevant class.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 19/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 24/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Peer group discussion and tasks

Details of task: You will be expected to participate in peer group discussions for the duration of the course and to complete two tasks, as set out below. You will be assigned to a peer group in week one. Peer groups will have 2-4 members.

In order to complete the group tasks, each group will have to meet for a minimum of one hour per week, at a time and place to all group members’ convenience. Where a peer group has a member who is not on campus, that person should join the group electronically (online via Skype or similar, or via speaker telephone).

(a)… Group comment on reading

Each week for five weeks (weeks 2-4, and 6-7), each peer group will be asked to submit a single written comment on the readings for that week, no later than midnight on the Friday before class. The comment should offer some critical reflections on the readings, and raise one or more questions for discussion. The prose need not be polished, but keep it tight: do not write more than asked. Get to the point. Concentrate on drawing out the most important ideas and themes from the readings, develop questions and interrogate ideas.

(b)… Group work and notes on group meetings

Details of task: Weeks 2-7: Each peer group will be required to work together on tasks assigned for these weeks. The tasks are set out in the weekly outline below, under Preparation and group work. These tasks, to be completed before the class each week, are aimed at helping students to work toward the final assessment items – the Research Paper and the Oral Presentation, set out below.

Weeks 8-12: Peer group members are expected to continue meeting in these weeks (and beyond!) to function as a supportive community, providing each other with constructive, critical feedback and suggestions as you work toward your final course assessment items and on your dissertations.

When commenting on peers’ work in the groups, proceed in two steps: (1) discuss what you liked and/or learned about each others’ work, what ideas you might have gotten from others for your own work, and where you see the strongest potential; then, (2) offer constructive criticism and tactful recommendations. Remember that the purpose of peer review is to be supportive and informative, not judgmental; and, that feedback needs to be directed to the contents and style of the work, not towards its author personally.

At the end of each meeting, the group should briefly reflect on the discussion, consider what you have appreciated about it, and what improvements can be made for later weeks.

Value: 20% (pass/fail)

Submission requirements: Each peer group is asked to assign one person per week to write up the group’s comments on reading and notes on group meetings, and send them directly to the course convenor by email. Each peer group member should take responsibility for at least one week's notes.

The notes should be brief, clear and to the point. Dot points are acceptable.

Word limit (for Item 2 (a) and (b) combined):… 600 words (+/- 10%) x 6 weeks (individuals to be assessed on 2 x 600 words each).

Due date: No later than 3 days before the relevant class

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 19/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 24/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2

Oral presentation

Details of task: At the end of the course we will hold a one-day workshop in which you will have 15 minutes to present on the draft of your written paper, and time to respond to short questions from the audience. The workshop will be attended by all course participants and supervisors (for the duration of panels on which their students sit), and will be advertised to all academic staff and PhD candidates at the Bell School to attend. It will give course participants an early opportunity to present formally on their research in an academic setting and in front of scholars and peers, but in a friendly setting and without the pressure that comes with their Thesis Proposal Review (TPR) presentation or a full-length seminar. It is modeled after an academic conference, but with each peer group forming a panel (rather than panels by themes or topics), and each speaker having 10-15 minutes to present, followed by 15-30 minutes for questions from the floor for the whole panel.

As in a conference setting, one challenge at the workshop is to get the gist of a lengthy paper across to an audience in the space of only a few minutes. A number of strategies exist for this purpose. One strategy is to synthesize and summarize key findings, to give a sweeping overview of the paper. Another is to concentrate on one aspect of the paper and discuss it in more depth. Whatever the strategy, in the final weeks of the course all participants should work in their peer groups to resolve on the best approach to the presentation, to prepare for it, try it out and hone it.

The two weeks between the workshop date and submission of the final paper allow the presenter time to make revisions to the paper that come with reflections on the presentation, and in response to comments or questions from the floor. Because we will have only a short time for discussion from the floor, as is the practice at academic conferences, presenters should take the opportunity to identify staff or fellow HDR candidates at the workshop with whom to have follow up conversations, and if possible, to send the draft for further comments.

Value: 20% (graded)

Method of assessment: Assessment for this item will be by peer review. Each member of the audience (not including fellow panelists) will be requested to complete a short form for each of the speakers heard. Numerical values will be assigned to the rubrics (from 1 for “needs a lot of work” to 5 for “outstanding”) and the total multiplied by five to obtain a percentile. The percentiles will be averaged across the completed forms to arrive at a final grade for the item. Completed forms with comments will be returned to each of the speakers, and copies given to supervisors. A dummy form and information sheet is provided in Appendix 2.

Due date: Wednesday 19 June

Estimated return date (of completed questionnaires): 24 June

Assessment Task 4

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 10/07/2019
Return of Assessment: 09/08/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2

Research paper

Details of task: Upon completion of the course you will be required to submit a paper. The paper may either be a critical literature review or an exploratory research essay.

Much of the first year of an HDR programme is spent reading literature relevant to the research topic, thinking over and reconsidering the contents of the initial PhD research proposal that accompanied the candidate’s application, and discussing new ideas with supervisors and peers. The research paper presents an opportunity to read, discuss and write at the same time: to draw together and work with ideas as they are developing out of the readings and conversations with staff and counterparts in the School.

Although all course participants are in the first year of candidature, nevertheless participants are at different stages in their overall progress and may have different needs and interests to pursue at time of undertaking the paper. Therefore, participants may choose between one of two alternative types of assessment. All participants must consult with their primary supervisor on the best option for them at their stage of candidature, and in view of other coursework and unit requirements. The final decision of which type of assessment item is undertaken lies with the primary supervisor, based on his or her experience and awareness of the needs of the student at this stage of candidature. The supervisor’s decision must be communicated via email to the course convenor by week 9 of the course.

The two options for this assessment item are: (1) critical literature review, or (2) exploratory research essay.

Option 1. Critical literature review

HDR candidates in the Bell School are generally encouraged to read deeply and widely: to explore the literature of a field or subfield thoroughly, but also to look into cognate fields, and to follow up on leads and hunches, perhaps from conversations with peers or from attending seminars and lectures.

The literature review essay encourages habits of reading and writing at the same time. It is also an opportunity to communicate with the field constructively, to engage with and critique the existing literature. Instead of simply identifying weaknesses and gaps in existing literature, participants should point to and draw upon those works that are most pertinent to their proposed research, and have a dialogue with them.… 

A literature review does not iterate the contents of everything read thus far. Rather, it requires choices about what material to include and exclude, and how to relate the ideas of one author to another, and to one’s own work. Above all, it demands attention to key works and authors in the field and considered regard for how they relate to one another, as well as to the proposed research. It should be attentive both to theoretical and empirical bodies of literature, and bring them into conversation with one another.

The literature review should:

  • Set out a research problem that delimits its contents and guides its discussion;
  • Give an overview of the body of literature being reviewed, noting key authors and works;
  • Identify and address one or more significant debates in the field;
  • Indicate the parameters and boundaries of the field, and if certain works or bodies of literature from the field are omitted from the review, note the reasons for omission;
  • Be attentive to whether or not a consensus exists in the literature about preferred approaches to research (qualitative, quantitative, mixed), and what research methods are commonly used;
  • Relate the literature back to the research problem, and offer some indication of how the findings of the proposed research might inform, complement or challenge existing debate; and,
  • Contain an abstract of no more than 200 words.

The literature review for this course is intended to contribute towards dissertation research by encouraging participants to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for the dissertation literature review; however, it should be treated as an exploratory and critical survey of one or more fields or subfields relevant to the intended research and not as a miniature or preliminary version of the dissertation’s literature review.

Reviews from which to obtain ideas about approaches, style and structure can be found in a wide variety of sources. Start by looking at the literature review chapters or sections in theses completed in the Bell School, other parts of the ANU and other institutions for good examples. Many academic journals regularly feature “state of play” review articles on current literature and trends, and the Annual Reviews series (in political science, sociology, anthropology, law and social science, etc.) specialize in having writers capture current trends and identify key works in a given field. Working paper series also have stand-alone review essays from time to time. Edited volumes often do the same in one or more of the opening chapters (see for instance Lichbach and Zuckerman, Comparative Politics or any of the Oxford Handbooks of Political Science). Monographs frequently survey the field in the introduction or an opening chapter, especially where they are first monographs by authors based on, or building upon, dissertations.

Option 2. Exploratory research essay

Course participants with a good grasp of the general literature relevant to their field who are interested to pursue and develop a specific research problem can try out their ideas and develop their skills by writing an exploratory research essay. The research essay will be most useful for those course participants who are ready to try to sharpen the focus of their projects, and to make, as early as possible, the necessary transition from a vague topic or set of interests to a well-focused, worthwhile and achievable doctoral study, but who may as yet have a number of competing ideas among which they are keen to explore one with particular promise.… 

The exploratory research essay is not a free writing exercise. On the contrary, it requires careful attention to a specific problem, explored through attention to relevant readings, in conversation with pertinent and available primary or secondary source material. This material may include, for example, newspaper articles, annual reports of government agencies, archival material from a variety of sources, publicly available documentation of advocacy and special-interest groups, or census data. Participants who have fieldwork notes or documents collected prior to beginning their candidature that may be useful for this assessment item but are uncertain about ethics protocols should talk about the material with their supervisors.… 

The National Library of Australia contains extensive holdings of primary and secondary sources in English and Asian languages (in particular, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, Thai, Burmese). Course participants doing this item of assessment could use it as an opportunity to search available materials at the Library, and introduce themselves (or seek an introduction via the course convenor or another member of staff) to the relevant librarian.

The research essay should:

  • Specify the research problem;
  • Explain the problem’s significance to the field and indicate its potential relevance to the larger research project;
  • Show evidence of relevant reading in the field and application of the arguments, approaches and findings of key authors and works to the research problem;
  • Articulate a specific research method or methods adopted to address the problem, and justify the choice of method;
  • Draw on available primary and/or secondary source data;
  • Offer a tentative answer to the research problem posed; and,
  • Contain an abstract of no more than 200 words.

Although the research paper might develop into the candidate’s research topic for the dissertation, it should not be written as if it were a preliminary attempt at the larger topic. Instead, plan and write it as a discrete piece of work. Treat it as if it were a draft article for a peer-reviewed journal in the field, and use exemplary articles from that journal or related journals as models. One way to do this would be to identify a specific journal and write for that publication, particularly if the research problem in part constitutes a response to a debate being had in that journal, or a response to an influential article published in the journal.

Value: 50% (graded)

Word limit: 5,000 words (+/- 10%)

Submission requirements:

Referencing and layout: All research papers, irrespective of type, should be formatted according to academic standards. As a basic rule, the requirement is for submitted work to be in Times, 12-point font, double-spaced, with ample (minimum one-inch) margins. The Bell School’s preferred style for referencing is Chicago 16th edition; however, depending on discipline, participants may prefer, or be required, to use a different style (e.g. APA, Harvard, MLA). Course participants should consult with their supervisors about a preferred style.

Course participants who do not yet use an automated referencing system and are interested to try one should consider downloading and using the latest version of Endnote from the ANU Library website. Bear in mind that all programmes for automation of referencing have their limitations and prior to submission should be checked for consistency against the official guide for the relevant style.

Submission and marking: Research papers are submitted using Turnitin in the course Wattle site. 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.

The course convenor will distribute the submitted research papers to students’ primary supervisors. Supervisors are asked to submit comments and a mark for the item to the student and the course convenor within four weeks of the date submitted, as per the rubric provided in the ANU Policy Statement on Student Assessment, below, consistent with their expectations for first year HDR candidates at the relevant level. Although the course is graded on a pass/fail basis, the numerical grade coupled with constructive, practical comments will assist the candidate to gauge his or her level for the purposes of their HDR candidature, with a view to making improvement. Supervisors may also find it useful to refer to the AQF levels for a PhD, on the “relevant qualification level”.

Due date: 10 July

Estimated return date: 9 August

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

No submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded.

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).
Prof Tamara Jacka
6125 0923

Research Interests

Social and political change in contemporary China; gender; rural-urban inequalities and rural-urban migration in contemporary China; rural development in China

Prof Tamara Jacka

Tuesday 09:30 12:30
Prof Tamara Jacka

Research Interests

Prof Tamara Jacka

Tuesday 09:30 12:30

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