• Class Number 3210
  • Term Code 3230
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 to 24 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Nici Sweaney
    • Dr Sara Beavis
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 21/02/2022
  • Class End Date 27/05/2022
  • Census Date 31/03/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 28/02/2022
SELT Survey Results

This course is a compulsory component of the Honours program that provides practical training in research practice culminating in the production of a thesis.  Students develop a research topic in consultation with one or more academic supervisors, and design, plan, execute and report on their research conducted with the guidance of a supervisory panel.

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 an independent and sustained critical investigation and evaluation of a chosen research topic to generate new knowledge.
2. Systematically identify and evaluate relevant theory and concepts, relate these to appropriate methodologies and evidence, and draw appropriate original conclusions.
3. Engage in systematic discovery and critical review of appropriate and relevant information sources.  
4. If relevant, demonstrate sufficient mastery to understand, evaluate, and appropriately apply techniques and methods to collect original research data and/or develop new techniques and methods to collect original research data.
5. Analyse and interpret research data with appropriate statistical or other evaluative processes to generate new knowledge.
6. Understand and appropriately apply ethical standards of conduct in the collection, evaluation, analysis, and interpretation of data and other resources.
7. Communicate and justify complex research concepts, methods, results, contexts, and implications clearly and effectively both in writing and orally to a variety of audiences.

Research-Led Teaching

The entire course is devoted to teaching and learning research skills and conducting original research for potential publication. Students will learn core knowledge about conducting research and will implement that.

Additional Course Costs

Students wishing to undertake field and laboratory work to support their project may incur small additional costs relating the travel expenses and equipment. The School provides a Student research project allocation to the value of $900 to support students through their Honours year.

Examination Material or equipment

Not applicable.

Required Resources

Enrolled students who wish to include field and/or laboratory activity within their project must contact the relevant staff below to confirm that the activity is supportable by the School:

  • Field work - Mauro Davanzo (mauro.davanzo@anu.edu.au)
  • Laboratory work - James Latimer (james.latimer@anu.edu.au)

A series of resources will be available on the course Wattle site.

Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

Staff Feedback

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

  • Oral and class feedback for the Presentations
  • Oral and written feedback by Supervisors on drafts
  • Written feedback on the thesis from the (two) Examiners

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Other Information

Students should refer to the course Wattle site for deadlines relevant to assessment relevant to their cohort (calendar year or mid year) and load (i.e. part-time or full-time).

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 This course can be taken as variable unit course (6-24). For every 6 units of enrolment, the expectation is that the student would work a minimum of 8-10 hours/week over the course of the semester. Guidance (including details of all milestones) about how to approach the preparation of the thesis is provided in the Fenner School Honours Handbook available on the course Wattle site. The student should: Maintain a close dialogue and constructive working relationship with your supervisor(s); Plan your research program with your supervisor(s); Consider advice seriously. If advice is not taken, the supervisor should be informed and given the reasons for the decision; Consult regularly with your supervisor. Students should prepare in advance for consultations, by determining the help they require and the areas in which advice would be useful; Complete the formal requirements and milestones for the course; Complete, to the best of your ability, a well written, thorough and competent project. The supervisor should: Assist in selecting and defining the scope of a suitable topic or problem; and in devising a schedule of work; Ensure the student is appropriately trained to undertake the research, including any safety and ethics requirements; Guide the student in the selection and application of appropriate data collection and analysis procedures and advise on a solution if difficulties arise; Advise on matters of research report content, organisation and writing, including the timely provision of feedback; Meet frequently with the student to discuss and evaluate each stage of the project; Ensure appropriate ethics clearance is gained before the student commences the research work. This summary provides general information for a student enrolling in this course for the first time as a full-time student. It is expected that full-time Honours students will enrol in this course twice over consecutive semesters (18+18 units = total 36 units) along with other coursework courses that form part of the honours year to a total of 48 units in the full-year. Dates for submitting the thesis are defined based on the semester in which the student will complete their enrolment in the Honours year. For further details, please refer to the course information and related documents in Wattle, and to the Science Honours Handbook.

Tutorial Registration

Not applicable.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Thesis 100 % 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

* 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 Integrity 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 Academic Skills 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.


Planning your thesis revolves around a number of milestones which include the following:

  1. Proposal seminar
  2. Mid-term review
  3. Completion of all major data collection/field work/experiments/calculations/background reading required by no later than one month prior to submission.
  4. A complete draft of your thesis, provided to your supervisors by an agree date (at least one month prior to submission is recommended) that will allow them to give you feedback on that draft no later than two (2) weeks prior to the thesis submission deadline.
  5. Thesis submission (electronically and in paper form)
  6. Final seminar (assessed under ENVS4001 Honours Research Skills)
  7. Thesis defence

Students are required to complete all of the milestones.

Students should discuss all milestones with their supervisor(s) and familiarise themselves with the details of each milestone outlined in the Honours Handbook.


Not applicable.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 100 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7


The Honours year is an apprenticeship in the training of researchers, and the thesis will probably represent your first major engagement with independent research and writing.

Since Honours projects differ in type and content, there is no standard format for writing that is common to all theses. Nevertheless, there are several common features essential to all good writing and presentation.

The following criteria are widely accepted as defining a research thesis:

  • Should present a clearly written argument in concise, lucid prose. The author must ensure that the reader/examiner is ‘put in the picture’.
  • Should demonstrate your capacity to identify an area for research, design the research program, undertake it, report the findings, and relate these to other relevant work in your field.
  • Identifies and demonstrates your ability to understand and apply a meaningful approach to your topic. The methodology of your approach should be clearly presented and substantiated. Data/information analysis or analysis of ideas is an important part of your methodology. The analysis should both be understood and appropriate to your approach. Effective communication of this knowledge is essential.
  • Should present material that provides a good view of the phenomena, and, arguably, be the best you could be expected to collect. Methods of observation, measurement or other forms of information gathering should be fully and clearly described.
  • Should be professionally presented, i.e. word processed with figures, tables and plates properly labelled and with accurate and comprehensive referencing using an approved format.
  • The thesis must be appropriately presented for examination, and for inclusion in the School collection of Honours theses.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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

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

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Returning Assignments

Feedback will be provided in the form of written reports and/or verbally for oral assessments. Where permission has been granted by an nominated examiner, students may also be given access to an annotated copy of their thesis.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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

Resubmission is not permitted.

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 Nici Sweaney

Research Interests

Dr Nici Sweaney

Tuesday 14:00 16:00
Dr Sara Beavis
+61 2 6125 8138

Research Interests

Dr Sara Beavis

By Appointment

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