• Class Number 3893
  • Term Code 3330
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr John Noel Viana
    • Dr John Noel Viana
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 20/02/2023
  • Class End Date 26/05/2023
  • Census Date 31/03/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 27/02/2023
SELT Survey Results

This course will provide students with an introduction to both quantitative and qualitative research methods as they relate to the fields of science communication and engagement.  This will include, but not be limited to, surveys, interviews, content analysis, focus groups and social network analysis. The course has been structured to (i) provide students with an in-depth theoretical understanding of each research method, (ii) gain experience in designing actual research projects in the fields of science communication and engagement, and (iii) develop practical skills in data collection, analysis and interpretation. The course will also introduce students to the critical ethical considerations associated with undertaking scientific research.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate an applied understanding of the role and importance of quantitative and qualitative scientific research methods within the context of science communication.
  2. Identify and critically evaluate quantitative and qualitative research methods within the scientific literature.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the challenges (both logistical and ethical) associated with applying quantitative and qualitative research methods to science communication, and strategies for overcoming these challenges.
  4. Develop and articulate research hypothesis, and design quantitative and qualitative research projects to address these hypothesis, in relation to science communication.
  5. Undertake exploratory data analysis for a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods, and report research results both in writing and visually.

There are no prescribed texts for this course, and reading materials will be provided for each session. However, for students seeking relevant material to support their learning, the following texts are suggested:

Luker, K (2010) Salsa dancing into the social sciences research in an age of info-glut. Cambridge, MA and London, England. Harvard University Press. Available online through the ANU Library.

Bryman A (2016) Social Research Methods. 5th ed. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Available at the ANU Chifley Library.

Recommended student system requirements 

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

  • Video materiala, 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/scans for handwritten work
  • Home-based assessments

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 and stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or Wifi, then check if performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal disruptions 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:

  • 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.

Other Information

All teaching activities related to this course will be delivered entirely online.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction to SCOM 4019/8019 and philosophy of social research
2 Conducting literature reviews
3 Ethical issues in social research and overview of the ANU ethics application process
4 Canberra Day Holiday (reading assignment on building a reference library and research/methods diary)
5 Social network analysis
6 Conducting interviews and focus groups. Writing a research project proposal.
7 Questionnaires, polls, and surveys
8 Textual analysis in the humanities
9 Ethnographic and other place-based methods from human geography
10 Participatory research design
11 To be confirmed (method discussed will be based on students' suggestion)
12 Review of concepts and methods discussed

Tutorial Registration

There is no need to register for tutorials. They will be on Tuesdays at 3 to 5 pm.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
In-class quiz 20 % * * 1,2,3,4,5
Completion of a human ethics application 20 % 24/04/2023 12/05/2023 1,3
Analysing and critiquing a science communication publication 25 % 22/05/2023 02/06/2023 1,2
Designing and writing a research project proposal 35 % 02/06/2023 16/06/2023 1,2,3,4,5

* 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 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.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

In-class quiz

The first assessment item involve in-class quizzes. There will be a quiz each week to assess your understanding of the theory covered in each lecture and tutorial. Quizzes will consist of 10 multiple choice questions and will be given at the beginning of each tutorial. Results will be returned within a week. 

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 24/04/2023
Return of Assessment: 12/05/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,3

Completion of a human ethics application

Any research involving human participants requires Human Research Ethics approval prior to data collection. This assessment task will help students develop a deeper understanding of Human Research Ethics protocols and will provide them with practical experience in completing an ANU Human Research Ethics application. Students will be required to complete an ANU ethics application form, including a participant information sheet. Students who already have a project that involves human participants will create an ethics application for their project. For those whose research does not involve human participants or do not have a project yet, a project will be provided for students to base their ethics application on. Students must demonstrate an awareness of the risks associated with their research (i.e. risks to human participants) and the types of strategies that can be used to mitigate those risks. The word count limit for this assessment task is 2,200 words.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 22/05/2023
Return of Assessment: 02/06/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Analysing and critiquing a science communication publication

Peer review is an important part of the academic publication process. Before papers are published in journals, they are usually reviewed by two to three experts in the field. In addition to ensuring the validity of publications, peer review provides authors the opportunity to improve their research and peer reviewers knowledge on latest developments in their field. This assessment task will provide you with the opportunity to experience the peer review process, developing your ability to analyse and critique publications. You will provide feedback on an academic publication by determining if it has provided enough background (and literature review) for the study, appropriate methods to address the research question/objective, properly presented and analysed results, discussed findings in relation to relevant studies, and reflected on the implications and limitations of the study. Each lecturer will provide a paper for review, and students will draw lots to determine which paper they will analyse for this assessment task.

For this output, students need to:

  1. Provide a brief summary of the paper
  2. Review the title and Introduction
  3. Critically analyse the research methods
  4. Provide feedback on the presentation and analysis of the study's results
  5. Provide feedback on the discussion and conclusions
  6. Give an overall appraisal of the paper and its suitability for publication

The word count limit for this task is 1,500 words.    

Assessment Task 4

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 02/06/2023
Return of Assessment: 16/06/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Designing and writing a research project proposal

Writing a research proposal will encourage you to clarify your objectives and key ideas. It will enable you to think about each stage of the research process so that you can develop a clear and detailed plan. It will also help you to foresee problems that you may encounter during your research and allow you to think about how you will manage them when they arise.

The research proposal will help you:

  • Propose a research project that will result in a significant contribution to knowledge
  • Formulate a detailed plan of the project, including methodological approach and theoretical framework
  • Ensure that the proposed research is achievable within the required time and with the available resources for your degree

The required content and structure of a research proposal varies from one field of study to another. In general, however, a research proposal consists of the following elements:

  • Background to the topic, significance, and research problem
  • Research aims and questions
  • Review of relevant literature
  • Study/project design
  • Timeline
  • Expected outcomes/impact

This assessment item is designed to develop your skills in developing and writing a strong research proposal, based on the research question that you have selected. Specifically, you will develop a comprehensive research proposal that clearly articulates:

  1. A title that outlines the intent of the proposal
  2. The background to the topic, including significance of the research problem. In this section, it is important to situate your questions within the broader literature on the topic (i.e. incorporate a literature review).
  3. The overarching research questions, and specific study aims and objectives
  4. Proposed study design, including specification of methods which will be used to address the research question, and a justification for the methods you have selected
  5. Potential limitations of your proposed study design
  6. Type of data that will be collected/generated and method for analysing your dataset
  7. Reference list

The word count limit for this assessment task is 2,700 words (excluding title and references).

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.

Returning Assignments

Assessment items submitted through Turnitin will be returned through the system with electronic comments.  

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

Re-submission of assignments will not be 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 John Noel Viana

Research Interests

Bioethics, biopolitics, science and technology studies, responsible innovation, science communication, equity and diversity in STEM

Dr John Noel Viana

Thursday 14:00 16:00
Thursday 14:00 16:00
By Appointment
Dr John Noel Viana

Research Interests

Dr John Noel Viana

Thursday 14:00 16:00
Thursday 14:00 16:00
By Appointment

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