• Class Number 3870
  • Term Code 3230
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 to 24 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Anna-Sophie Jurgens
    • Dr Anna-Sophie Jurgens
  • 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

The Master of Science Communication Research Project involves a substantive investigation of an approved topic in science communication.

Students devise their own science communication research project in collaboration with the supervisor, or can pursue a topic already offered by the supervisor. The project should be devised and conducted with journal publication in mind as the desired end goal.

The course can be taken as 18 or 24 units completed within a single semester, or two consecutive semesters. Students will complete a minimum of 18 units in this course, but students who hope to use the Master of Science Communication program as a stepping stone to higher degree research are advised to complete a total of 24 units. The course convener can advise on this decision.

  • The 18-unit version of the course entails a research project with a significant original component, aspiring to professional-level data collection and analysis, with ethics approval required for any human participant element. 
  • The 24-unit version of the course involves a research project as for the 18-unit version, plus compulsory research methods training. This training could involve completing specific, externally provided research training activities (such as the online courses offered by the Statistical Consulting Unit) to an acceptable standard, or completing a 4000 word literature review on relevant research methods to an acceptable standard, or similar. The research methods training is a hurdle requirement which doesn't contribute to the final mark, but has to be completed to pass the course. The course convener will set and assess this item, in consultation with the supervisor and student.

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 an appropriate supervisor can be found.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, 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.
  2. Systematically identify relevant theory and concepts, relate these to appropriate 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 developing 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, will be asked to reflect on their research journey, and will translate their research for a broader audience.

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal discussion to clarify, upon student request.

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.

Other Information

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Students will engage in self-directed research for most of the course, under supervision. The convener will organise two workshops/meetings (at the start and end of semester) for training in writing review papers, writing research papers, human participant ethics, authorship ethics, writing for 'The Conversation', and the journal paper publication process. They will also organise informal meetings throughout the semester to share progress and receive peer support, together with SCOM3003. These are not compulsory, but students are strongly encouraged to attend them. Provision can be made for students to attend virtually via Zoom or similar upon request. The course can be taken as 18 or 24 units. The default is 18 units, but students who hope to use the Master of Science Communication program as a stepping stone to higher degree research such as a PhD are advised to enrol in the 24 unit version of the course. The course convener can advise on this decision. Projects must be completed within a single semester, or within two consecutive semesters. In rare circumstances where students are compelled to take a semester off study for external or personal reasons, an exemption to this rule may be granted, and a student may be given permission to complete the project over two non-consecutive semesters. This summary provides general information for a student enrolling in this course following 6+12 or 6+18 pattern of enrolment. It is expected that a student will complete a research project of 18 or 24 units. The date ranges provided are a general indication only for a student commencing their research project in semester 2 and submitting their research project in semester 1 of the following year. Assessment due dates and milestons are to be negotiated with the supervisor and/or course convener within the first 2 weeks of the first enrolment.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Research Report 84 % 1,2,3,4,5,6
Article 10 % 6
Reflective Blog Posts 6 % 6
Research methods assignment 0 % 3,4,5

* 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 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 Academic Integrity . 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: 84 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Research Report

Research report

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

Due: Thursday 11.59pm, exam week 1

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. If your chosen journal is something other than Public Understanding of Science, please ensure you note this on your assessment task to allow examiners to check you have complied to the appropriate submission requirements.


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 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.

NOTE: You are welcome to create a video abstract for your report if your chosen journal allows video abstracts!

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 6


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

Due: Thursday 11.59pm, exam week 1

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 project 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 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.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 6 %
Learning Outcomes: 6

Reflective Blog Posts

3 blog posts worth 2% each, to be submitted on set dates across the duration of the project

Due: Wednesday 11.59pm in semester weeks 4, 8 and 11

Returned: within a week of submission

Details of task:

This assignment is designed to help you think reflectively and personally about the research process and your own journey with your project.

Your posts will be submitted on a private blog that only current students in this course and SCOM3003 have access to. There you will find an ‘Instructions’ page (see tab in top right corner) and you should follow the instructions.

In the first and last posts you will have a specific set of questions you must answer in your reflection. For the second post you have a list of questions to choose from.

Marking criteria:

To be eligible for a pass on each post:

You must submit the post by the due date to a reasonable standard and length. No late posts will be accepted. If you complete it on time and to this standard each blog post will be worth 2% of your final mark.If you do not, or you submit it even 1 minute late, you will get 0.

What your assignment should demonstrate:

  • A post in which you spend a reasonably long, detailed paragraph answering each question.
  • Reflection on the research process rather than mere description.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 0 %
Learning Outcomes: 3,4,5

Research methods assignment

A hurdle requirement for students enrolled in 24 units of SCOM8000 during their degree. Students only enrolling in 18 units of SCOM8000 do not complete this assignment.

Due: Thursday 11.59pm in week 11 of first semester of enrolment

Returned: within a week of submission

Details of task:

This assignment is designed to enhance your skills and knowledge in research methods appropriate to your project.

The specific assignment will be negotiated between you, your supervisor and the course convener.

There are three standard options:

  1. For quantitative projects: complete the three online statistics modules offered by the ANU Statistical Consulting Unit.
  2. For qualitative projects: research and write a 3000 word essay (±10% - including all references [reference list, in-text references, etc.]) about the research methods you will be using (e.g. survey methods, thematic analysis, etc).
  3. For projects that are highly ethically sensitive: research and write a 3000 word (±10% - including all references [reference list, in-text references, etc.]) essay about the ethical landscape of the subject matter you are studying and your responsibilities as a researcher, based on your standpoint with respect to the sensitive issues.

Other options are possible but must be approved by the course convener during negotiations.


Marking criteria:

Your work must gain at least a credit standard to demonstrate your competence in the chosen topic. If you achieve this standard you will pass the hurdle. The marking criteria may vary depending on the topic, but in general:

  • For the statistics modules the mark you are given within the modules will be used to evaluate this.
  • For essay options, your assignment must be heavily based in the methods or ethics literature and it must incorporate recent as well as foundational approaches to the methods.

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

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.
  • The exception to this is the Assignment 3 Reflective posts. No late submissions will be accepted for this assignment.

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

Feedback on all assignments will be returned via email.

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 Anna-Sophie Jurgens

Research Interests

Science in culture; science and popular entertainment/performance; history of science; humour and science communication

Dr Anna-Sophie Jurgens

By Appointment
Dr Anna-Sophie Jurgens
6125 0498

Research Interests

Dr Anna-Sophie Jurgens

By Appointment

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