• Class Number 2749
  • Term Code 3230
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 12 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Jill Sheppard
    • Dr Jill Sheppard
  • 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 in research processes, quantitative and qualitative research methods is core for students in the areas of politics and government. It prepares students for demanding investigation of the content and process of political behaviour in a wide variety of settings. Students will be taught advanced research skills to interpret and explain political processes, drawing on debates over the choice of appropriate research methodologies for many different political and social settings.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. plan and execute the steps of their own research process;
  2. formulate research hypotheses and research designs;
  3. apply quantitative and qualitative research techniques;
  4. assess quantitative and qualitative measures of concepts; and
  5. conduct and assess a social science analysis.

Whether you are on campus or studying remotely, there are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos 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/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.

ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.

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). 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.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Welcome to Honours research Meet your Honours cohort, discuss your plans for the honours year, and become acquainted with research questions and conducting your own research project
2 Theories, concepts, and measures Turning a question or intuition into something that we can study (in approximately eight months)
3 Research design Designing a research project based on your theories and concepts, and preparing logistics (ethics, fieldwork etc)
4 Relationships, description, and causation Defining relationships of interest, and considering the difference between describing a relationship and attributing causation
5 Qual methods: Case studies and process tracing Testing theories with a small number of cases
6 Qual methods: Interviews and content analysis Two popular methods of generating qualitative data
7 Quant methods: surveys and sampling large populations Make inferences about large populations
8 Quant methods: choosing statistical methods Learning to identify, select, and interpret statistical analyses of quantitative data
9 Mixed methods: bespoke approaches Often, neither quant nor qual methods alone can satisfactorily answer our research question; this week looks at how to combine different methods for greater validity
10 Student presentations Present your final research design, in preparation for your School-wide presentation
11 Student presentations Present your final research design, in preparation for your School-wide presentation
12 Student presentations Present your final research design, in preparation for your School-wide presentation

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Concepts and measurement 15 % 2,3
Understanding relationships 15 % 4
Data collection and management 15 % 4
Identifing methods 15 % 1,4
Class Participation 10 % 2,3,5
Research design paper 30 % 5

* 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.


Regular participation - whether in-person or online - is expected not only for the sake of assessment, but because Honours research is greatly enhanced by being around your peers and supervisors. I have yet to see a really excellent Honours thesis submitted by a student who did not participate in coursework and cohort life.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 2,3

Concepts and measurement

This assessment encourages students to understand and explain the differences between concepts, measures, and variables, and the importance of 'explaining your terms' in both empirical and critical research. Students are required to submit a 1000 word paper on the concepts, measures and variables relevant to their honours research topic, with reference to political science theory and literature.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 4

Understanding relationships

Often, political science is concerned with relationships between an independent variable and a dependent variable. While this is not true of all political science, it is nonetheless vital that all political scientists understand the concepts and methodologies of causal relationships. In this exercise, students will submit a 1500 word paper describing the relationship between an independent variable and a dependent variable, either related to their thesis topic or otherwise. The description should be critical with regard to both confounding factors and the respective roles of structure and agency.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 4

Data collection and management

Data are central to any research exercise, whether empirical or critical. It regularly shapes the nature of research - we might have brilliant research questions or ideas, but no access to data that allows us to undertake it. In this exercise, students will submit 1500 words on identifying: the data necessary to complete their thesis; potential obstacles to collecting that data; what the data will look like once collected; and how it will lend itself to analysis.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,4

Identifing methods

Methods can often seem like the driving force of a research project - I want to use regression; I want to use critical discourse analysis - but it needs to be both motivated by the research question and achievable. In this exercise, students will present a 1500 word paper identifying and justifying the most appropriate research method for their honours thesis project.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,5

Class Participation

As students move from regular undergraduate courses to honours courses, the value of class participation increases substantially. This course expects students to create and participate, in a cohort of honours students, helping to develop each other's research interests while learning to be constructively critical. Engaging in academic research networks (including with fellow students, but also extending to attendance at research seminars and consultation with academics) is a vital part of the honours process, and this assessment formalises this engagement.

Assessment Task 6

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 5

Research design paper

This assessment forms the core of a student's honours project. In 3000 words, students are required to outline their research question, the literature that underpins that question, the hypotheses arising from that literature, and an outline of the data and methods that will test that hypothesis. In the case of non-empirical research, the research design will map the existing critical and empirical literatures, and explain and justify how the honours project advances our understanding.

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

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

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.

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.

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 Jill Sheppard

Research Interests

Dr Jill Sheppard

By Appointment
Dr Jill Sheppard
6125 7898

Research Interests

Dr Jill Sheppard

By Appointment

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