• Class Number 7329
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Joanna Sikora
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
SELT Survey Results

The last fifty years have witnessed profound changes in the structure and social meaning of relationships, family and marriage. The main goal of this course is to examine these changes in contemporary Australia and cross-nationally. Students will gain an understanding of demographic changes, shifts in the attitudes to family and marriage, problems of the work-family balance and the effectiveness of government policy in this area. The course will also introduce sociological and social-psychological theories of marriage and the family.

A large part of the course will be devoted to the examination of special topics including gender, love and sexuality in relationships, the meaning of family and marriage across cultures, singlehood, partner selection; stress, crisis, violence and abuse in relationships; divorce, remarriage and their effect on children; childlessness as a lifestyle, same-sex relationships, globalization and outsourcing of care.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. describe, contrast and compare the leading themes in the research on intimacy, marriage and the family in Australia and overseas;
  2. identify, describe and interpret key concepts informing sociological knowledge of intimacy and the family;
  3. construct a written argument applying these concepts; and
  4. design and conduct a small small-scale research project investigating changes in the perceptions regarding intimacy, marriage and family held in the local social environment.

Research-Led Teaching

In this course, students will complete an independent research project. While some topics will be suggested, students will be able to choose a topic subject to the convenor's approval. The research project topic will need to be embedded in the course literature and students will use either in-depth interviews or networked thematic content analysis (e.g. blogs, social media posts, video transcripts or short newspaper articles). 

Whether you are on campus or studying online, 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.

Other Information

Missed workshop policy

Participation credit makeup arrangements will be available to students who have a medical certificate, or a relevant EAP. More information will be in Wattle.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Lecture 1: What this course is about. Studying relationships through a sociological lens.Workshop 1: Confluent love, liquid love: how sociologists approach relationships. Workshop 1 activity due
2 Lecture 2: Structured in-depth interviews to study relationships and families.Workshop 2: Practicum in in-depth interviews: from concepts to interview protocol. Workshop 2 activity due
3 Lecture 3: Thematic networks analysis of relationships and families.Workshop 3: Practicum in thematic network analysis. Workshop 3 activity due
4 Lecture 4: Economies of gratitude: how money and unpaid labour build relationshipsWorkshop 4: Intimate relationships and economic resources. Workshop 4 activity due
5 Lecture 5: Relationships, marriage and families through the lens of conflict theoryWorkshop 5: Historical approaches to marriage. Is marriage irrelevant in contemporary society? Workshop 5 activity dueQuiz 1 due
6 Lecture 6: What makes a family? Cultural diversity of family formsWorkshop 6: Exploring family forms in contemporary Australia and across the world Workshop 6 activity dueAssignment 1 due
7 Lecture 7: What makes a family? Cultural diversity of family formsWorkshop 7: Exploring family forms in contemporary Australia and across the world Workshop 7 activity due
8 Lecture 8: Blurred boundaries between motherhood and fatherhood?Workshop 8: How gendered are our conceptions of parenting  Workshop 8 activity due
9 Lecture 9: Living Apart Together: residential arrangements of relationships and familiesWorkshop 9: Life stages and residential arrangements Workshop 9 activity dueQuiz 2 due
10 Lecture 10: Divorce and separationWorkshop 10: Social contexts of divorce and separation  Workshop 10 activity due
11 Lecture 11: Meals make families: sociology of everyday life.Workshop 11: Families and relationships later in life Workshop 11 activity due
12 Lecture 12: Sociology of personal lives rather than sociology of families ?Workshop 12: Family expectations of young people Workshop 12 activity dueQuiz 3 dueAssignment 2 due

Tutorial Registration

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Research proposal – Design of your project - 1500 words 25 % 28/08/2023 1,2,3,4
Research report – Data analysis 2500 words 45 % 30/10/2023 1,2,3,4
Wattle Quizzes 6 % each 18 % 26/08/2023 1,2,3
Workshop participation activities 12 % * 1,2,4

* 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 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.


Participation credit will be awarded as per Assessment Task 4.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 28/08/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Research proposal – Design of your project - 1500 words

In this course, students will complete an independent research project. While some topics will be suggested, students can work on a topic of their choice, subject to the convenor's approval. The research project topic will need to be embedded in the course literature. Students will use either in-depth interviews or networked thematic content analysis (e.g. blogs, social media posts, video transcripts or short newspaper articles). The assessment criteria for the Research Proposal are:

1) A demonstrated understanding of the basic principles underpinning research ethics and interpretive methodology

2) A clear exposition of the proposed research question(s)

3) An informative description of how the research will be carried out (why, what, who, when, where and how)

4) A convincing explanation of why the proposed question is sociologically relevant.

5) Demonstrated knowledge of the course concepts introduced in readings and class activities.

More details will be available in Wattle.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 45 %
Due Date: 30/10/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Research report – Data analysis 2500 words

Upon receiving feedback on the Research Proposal, students will complete their research project and write a report.

The assessment criteria for the Research Report are:

1)  An adequate conceptualization of the research question demonstrated by choice of appropriate study design (e.g., selection of respondents or units of analysis, interview questions, etc.)

2)  An informative and purposeful description of the empirical material collected

3)  An insightful sociological analysis of the data

4)  Relating data analysis to the concepts studied in the course (up to 30% of the credit for this assessment item).

More details will be available in Wattle.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 18 %
Due Date: 26/08/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Wattle Quizzes 6 % each

Quizzes will cover lecture materials and readings. Each quiz will relate to four weeks of lectures and required readings. Multiple-choice questions will provide an incentive to do the course readings regularly, which will be help in preparing assignments. Each quiz will be available for seven days in Wattle. To have a quiz reopened, students will need a medical certificate or the equivalent statement in the EAP.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 12 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Workshop participation activities

Participation activities will be completed in class. To receive participation credit, students must engage with others in real-time during class time and upload their work to Wattle at the end of the workshop. Alternative arrangements will be available only for students with EAPs or medical certificates. More details on how to prepare for workshops will be in Wattle.

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

Assignments will usually be returned after two weeks if submitted on time.

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

Assignment resubmission will not be possible.

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).

AsPr Joanna Sikora

Research Interests

Educational inequalities; Cultural reproduction theory; Gender segregation in education and employment; Immigrant students; Gender and ethnicity in science and mathematics  

AsPr Joanna Sikora

By Appointment

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