• Class Number 8091
  • Term Code 3060
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Steven McEachern
    • Dr Steven McEachern
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 27/07/2020
  • Class End Date 30/10/2020
  • Census Date 31/08/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 03/08/2020
SELT Survey Results

This course provides an introduction to the main empirical social science methods, types of data, and techniques for collecting social science data. The course will provide students with the skills to apply social science methods to the generation and analysis of data to inform policy, business and service delivery decisions.

Content will cover: overview of main social and behavioural theories (rational choice; nudge and behavioural insights; complexity theory), introduction to research design (observational designs; intervention and experimental designs and action research), techniques for collecting data (quantitative surveys; qualitative interviews; behavioural and experience methods), measurement issues, participatory approaches to research, vulnerable populations, and ethics and privacy considerations.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. discuss in broad terms the main social and behavioural theories and their evidence base;
  2. specify a research question that is answerable using empirical methods;
  3. propose a clear research design that can provide the information required to inform policy, business and service delivery decisions;
  4. understand the assumptions, strengths and limitations of the main techniques for collecting data; and
  5. comprehend the particular issues related to researching vulnerable populations.

Research-Led Teaching

This subject focuses on the core research methods used in the design of research and collection of data in the social sciences. The content taught in this subject provides the basis for understanding and critiquing research designs in social research.

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 Introduction to the course; Introduction to social research
2 Designing research questions; Research designs in social research
3 Concepts and indicators; Measurement, validity and reliability
4 Designing questions for surveys, Survey design software
5 Designing questionnaires
6 Populations and sampling Assessment One - Research question
7 Secondary data
8 Qualitative theories
9 Qualitative research designs
10 Qualitative methods I
11 Qualitative methods II
12 Qualitative data analysis Assessment Two – Fieldwork and Instrument Design
13 Exam period Assessment Three – Take home exam

Tutorial Registration

Not applicable

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Designing a research question 20 % 03/09/2020 24/09/2020 1,2
Designing fieldwork and research instruments 50 % 02/11/2020 23/11/2020 2,3,4
Critiquing research designs – take home examination 30 % 16/11/2020 01/12/2020 3,4

* 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.


Students are expected to attend classes through Wattle each week as a core requirement of this course.


There is a take-home examination in this class completed via Wattle

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 03/09/2020
Return of Assessment: 24/09/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Designing a research question

Word limit (where applicable): 1200 words

Value: 20 percent of final grade

Due date: Monday 3rd September 2020, 10.00am, via Turnitin on Wattle

You are required to submit a written paper outlining a proposed research question relevant to a social research problem and an overview of the key concepts you wish to study. This paper should include the following:

  • Clearly stated research question
  • A brief review of literature/justification for your research question, theory/theories and hypothesis/hypotheses. (What do we know about the issues so far, what are main limitations in existing knowledge
  • Identified theories and/or hypotheses related to the research question (this might take the form of home main hypothesis and presentation of alternative plausible hypothesis/es OR a series of main hypotheses)
  • Identification of your dependent variables, independent variables and control/intervening variables. A conceptual diagram of the relationships between these variables is expected.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 02/11/2020
Return of Assessment: 23/11/2020
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4

Designing fieldwork and research instruments

Value: 50 percent

Due date: Monday, 2nd November, 2020, 10.00am

Details of task: Details will be provided through Wattle.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 16/11/2020
Return of Assessment: 01/12/2020
Learning Outcomes: 3,4

Critiquing research designs – take home examination

Value: 30 percent

Due date: Monday 2nd November to Monday 16th November 2020 (examination may be completed at any time during this period)

Details of task: Details will be provided through Wattle.

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

Not applicable

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.

Returning Assignments

Student work will be returned via Wattle.

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

There is no resubmission of assignments in this course.

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 Steven McEachern

Research Interests

Dr Steven McEachern

By Appointment
Dr Steven McEachern

Research Interests

Dr Steven McEachern

By Appointment

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