• Offered by Crawford School of Public Policy
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Policy and Governance
  • Areas of interest Policy Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Bjoern Dressel
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings

This course is a graduate-level introduction to empirical research in public policy. Designed for PhD students who are beginning their dissertation projects, the aim of the course is to give students the tools to pose focused research questions, develop answers with theoretical frameworks, formulate and re?ne concepts, construct valid and reliable measures, and ?nally to gather data. While other methodology courses teach students how to analyse data, this course emphasises the process of developing research questions and gathering high quality data for answering them. Particular attention is directed to problems, and strategies related to “small-n” qualitative research, for the most part setting aside the techniques of experimental, quasi-experimental as well as correlational analysis.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Distinguish between di?erent styles of social science research based on ontological and epistemological foundations in the philosophy of science.
  2. Formulate research questions, develop hypothesis/arguments and choose proper research design in its support.
  3. Show fluency in appraising strengths and weaknesses of existing methodological approaches in regard to systematic ways to make causal inferences and interpret data.
  4. Demonstrate thesis relevant knowledge of commonly used methodological tools in empirical research, including experimental and quasi-experimental designs, comparative analysis, Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), process tracing, as well as basic understanding of quantitative and qualitative data collection techniques (e.g. surveys, interviews, content analysis etc.
  5. Develop a first draft of a Thesis Proposal Review (TPR) based on the research design elements discussed in class.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Development of research questions and research hypotheses  (20) [LO 1,2]
  2. Selection and presentation of an appropriate research design (20) [LO 2,3]
  3. Development of a Thesis Proposal Review (TPR) draft (4000-6000 words) (60) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

The ANU uses 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. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Total contact time is 30 hours, conducted in person, 2.5 hours x 12 meetings. This class is generally taught over a 12 week period in Semester 1. Outside of contact hours: Preparation time of no less than 6 hours for every 2.5 hour session.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be undertaking a PhD in Policy and Governance at the Crawford School of Public Policy

You will need to contact the Crawford School of Public Policy to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Prescribed Texts


Preliminary Reading

See Wattle course site and class summary


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3971 19 Feb 2024 01 Jan 2024 05 Apr 2024 24 May 2024 In Person View
3972 19 Feb 2024 01 Jan 2024 05 Apr 2024 24 May 2024 Online View

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