• Class Number 5582
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Gavin Smith
  • 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

This course gives students the opportunity to work closely with a member of academic staff in the discipline of Sociology on a research project in a field of interest. Students will develop real-world research skills and get a sense of how high-level academic research is conducted. The project, to be negotiated with a supervisor, will most often be related to work already underway by the faculty member, and the student will be offered the opportunity to join the research team. They will participate in a discrete element of the broader project.

Work submitted for assessment in SOCY3001 may not be resubmitted in whole or part for assessment in any other course, including in any Thesis (THES-coded) courses:

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. identify a research question or problem within an existing field of social scientific inquiry and devise a plan for investigating it;
  2. formulate a program of reading in consultation with a professional social scientist to provide context for the investigation;
  3. develop a timeline for the research project and manage work to that timeline;
  4. communicate research results —orally, visually and in writing — in a style consistent with academic standards; and
  5. work as part of a research team.

Research-Led Teaching

This course gives students the opportunity to work closely with a member of academic staff in the discipline of Sociology (or a related discipline) on a research project in a field of interest. Students will develop real-world research skills and get a sense of how high-level academic research is conducted. The project, to be negotiated with a supervisor, will most often be related to work already underway by the faculty member, and the student will be offered the opportunity to join and contribute to the research team. They will participate in a discrete element of the broader project.

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 knowledge transfer 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:

  • Verbal feedback of a formative nature within research teams.
  • Written feedback of a summative nature based on the reflections, draft major essay, final major essay, and the poster presentation speech.

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

Additional Referencing Requirements

Check with your supervisor which referencing system they use. The general standard is the Harvard referencing system. A detailed description of this style can be found at https://academicskills.anu.edu.au/node/80

Lectures and Tutorials

There are no lectures in this course. Instead, there are 5 substantive topics with assigned readings as well as two allocated weeks (5 & 6) for student presentations. Students will be getting face-to-face time with their supervisors (scheduling to be worked out between you and your supervisor) and at tutorials. Tutorials will be largely student-run. They will go for up to two hours. Each tutorial will be guided by the current reading topic, but will be focused around students’ own experience as part of a research team. We expect students to come to tutorials with questions about readings, assessment, or their own experience. Students may also use tutorial time as a casual and informal workshop for their research. The tutorials leading up to the final research assignment and poster presentation can also be used for workshopping written drafts and practicing presentations.


Below is the list of reading topics for the semester, along with some guiding questions. Each topic represents a major aspect of the research process. We’ve put them in order

There will be one mandatory reading for each topic. Then you will pick one additional reading from a list of supplementary texts.

All readings will be posted as PDFs on the Wattle site.

Topic 1: Identifying Research Problems

  • What’s your research problem?
  • How do you define a problem? What are the politics of problems?
  • How do you turn a problem into a research question?
  • How do you turn a question into a paper?

Topic 2: Reviewing and Using Literature

  • Where do you look for literature?
  • How to assess legitimacy/reliability/relevancy of publications, journals and discourses?
  • What role does referencing play in your work? Do you maintain the distinction between background literature and literature as the object of research?
  • How do you use literature to both answer and reconsider your original research problem?
  • How do you deal with literature that reshapes your project?

Topic 3: Research Design and Methodology

  • What method should you use? How do you determine what’s a good approach to your problem? How does your methodology change your problem?
  • What’s the distinction between pragmatic, experimental and value-laden approaches?
  • Planning? What kind of objectives does your methodology introduce? How do you create a do-able timeline?
  • Data gathering methods and theories?
  • What kind of data are you gathering? How does this affect how you carry out your research?
  • Managing your data source. How to treat literature, visuals, information, and people.

Topic 4: Disseminating Knowledge

  • Tone and style: not just reflection and not just regurgitation.
  • Collaborative writing and peer reviewing (reciprocity and generosity)
  • Choosing where to publish; the politics of publishing
  • Practicalities of writing up a research project.
  • Different “types” of writing. What kind of writing happens throughout, and what kind of writing only happens at the end?

Topic 5: Designing and Presenting Academic Posters

  • Timing, structure, argument, flow.
  • Turning papers into posters (and vice versa)
  • Poster design
  • How to make your poster and presentation work together

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Identifying Research Problems Tutorial class 1
2 Reviewing and Using Literature Tutorial class 2
3 Research Design and Methodology Tutorial class 3
4 Private Study *No tutorial class
5 Tutorial Presentations Tutorial class 4 (Tutorial Presentations)
6 Tutorial Presentations Tutorial class 5 (Tutorial Presentations)
7 Private Study *No tutorial class
8 Private Study *No tutorial class
9 Disseminating Knowledge Tutorial class 6 (Optional Research Assignment Outline)
10 Private Study *No tutorial class
11 Designing and Presenting Academic Posters Tutorial class 7
12 Private Study *No tutorial class (Research Assignment submission due 27th October 2023)

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 Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Tutorial Presentation (10%) 10 % * * 1-5
Research Assignment (50%) [4000 words] 50 % 27/10/2023 18/11/2023 1-4
Poster Presentation in Exam Period (30%) 30 % * * 1-4
Participation in Project Team (10%) 10 % * * 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.


To pass the course, students must physically attend each of the tutorial classes or produce appropriate evidence explaining why attendance was not possible.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1-5

Tutorial Presentation (10%)

In Weeks 5 & 6 (unless otherwise arranged) you will present a brief ‘work in progress’ overview of your research progress so far – your topic and your approach, the literature you are engaging with and any challenges you have faced. It’s anticipated that you will talk for about 5 minutes and respond to 5 minutes of questions from peers.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 27/10/2023
Return of Assessment: 18/11/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1-4

Research Assignment (50%) [4000 words]

The research assignment is the culmination of your work with your research team. It will likely take the form of a research paper or equivalent piece of research work to be negotiated with your supervisor.

The research assignment is an opportunity to explore some of the bigger themes and ideas raised in your research, and to situate your work within the discipline or field of inquiry. Because your supervisor is the subject expert, they will be setting the parameters of the research assignment and will provide an assessment of the quality of your submission.

How you structure your assignment will depend on your specific topic and the format you agree with your supervisor, how exactly you contributed, and what your conclusions were. However, your supervisor will be looking for a number of elements:

  • Evidence of extensive independent research which might include applied data collection, collation and analysis and creative/critical thinking.
  • A description of your specific research problem.
  • A discussion of how your problem fits into other work being done in that area.
  • A discussion of your methodology, and an explanation/justification of why that methodology was best suited to your problem.
  • A discussion of your results/conclusions, their significance/impact on the problem and the larger field, and what new questions your work opens up.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 1-4

Poster Presentation in Exam Period (30%)

To culminate your semester of research work, you will create a poster and give a 10 minute presentation of your research work. Poster presentations are very common at academic conferences, and they are a very different beast to journal articles or reports. You can use your research paper as the basis for your presentation. But remember: poster presentations are a very different style to formal academic papers! Do not just read your paper out loud. We will be discussing presentation tips and tricks in the weekly readings and in tutorials.

You will present your poster in a lecture theatre to academics from the RSSS. It’ll be an opportunity to show us your achievements over the past semester, and to make connections with other academics at ANU. The presentation will be recorded as required by ANU education policy (in case grade review is required).

You can create your poster on A3 paper or entirely digitally. If you make a paper poster, you will need to take a picture of it so that it can be displayed on a powerpoint and printed out for your audience.

15% of your mark will be based on the poster itself. We are looking for:

  • Clear and logical presentation (not cluttered or busy; easy to decipher the major research question, hypothesis, results, etc)
  • Accurate content/data
  • Attractive layout

The remaining 15% of your mark will be based on your presentation of the poster. We are looking for:

  • Clear and logical explanation of your work (i.e. clearly state the overall problem, your approach, and the findings)
  • Elaboration of major points, tables and/or diagrams
  • Persuasive presentation (i.e. we are persuaded that your topic is important, and that your research successfully investigated your problem)
  • Correlation between your poster and your speech

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 5

Participation in Project Team (10%)

Throughout the semester, your supervisor will be assessing your participation within the project team. They will be assessing:

  • The quality of your research
  • How well you work within a team
  • Your ability to work to a deadline, and within the scope of the project
  • Your problem solving skills

Your supervisor will be giving you personal feedback on the quality of your work throughout the semester, and guiding you in the right direction.

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

The research essay will be submitted using Turnitin, through the Wattle site.

Posters will be presented, but not handed in, although we do appreciate a copy for the archive. 

Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. 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

Research Assignments will be set and graded by your supervisor. Results will be made available via Turnitin.

Tutorial Presentation grades will be returned via email at the end of the mid-semester break.

Poster Presentation grades will be made available within a week of the presentation date.

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).

AsPr Gavin Smith

Research Interests

Urban ecology, surveillance, everyday life, wildlife ecology, social theory

AsPr Gavin Smith

By Appointment

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