• Class Number 2830
  • Term Code 3430
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr David Heslop
    • AsPr David Heslop
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 19/02/2024
  • Class End Date 24/05/2024
  • Census Date 05/04/2024
  • Last Date to Enrol 26/02/2024
SELT Survey Results

Students will apply concepts explored within EMSC8017: Research Methods of Earth Sciences to develop a written Research Proposal for their Research Project (EMSC8030) under the guidance of a nominated supervisor. As a part of this proposal, students will critically review relevant literature and contextualize their research aims and methods. They will summarize their research plans to a peer audience, via an oral presentation.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Synthesize and critically evaluate peer-reviewed literature relevant to their research project topic.
  2. Critically evaluate the research methods used in the literature cited.
  3. Develop research questions and critical thinking, building on the literature relevant to their topic.
  4. Integrate diverse methods and theories to develop and design their own Earth Sciences research project and contextualize their research aims and methods.
  5. Communicate ideas, both orally and in writing, to both a peer and non-specialist audience.

Research-Led Teaching

The course involves the development of an independent research project in collaboration with a supervisor.

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.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Class introduction
2 Development of research proposal with supervisor
3 Development of research proposal with supervisor
4 Development of research proposal with supervisor
5 Development of research proposal with supervisor
6 Development of research proposal with supervisor
7 Development of research proposal with supervisor Submission of literature review
8 Development of research proposal with supervisor
9 Development of research proposal with supervisor
10 Development of research proposal with supervisor
11 Development of research proposal with supervisor
12 Development of research proposal with supervisor Submission of research proposal and final presentation

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
Literature Review 30 % 15/04/2024 29/04/2024 1,2,5
Research Proposal 40 % 24/05/2024 07/06/2024 3,4,5
Research Presentation 30 % 31/05/2024 07/06/2024 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.


In person participation is required.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 15/04/2024
Return of Assessment: 29/04/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,5

Literature Review

In research writing, you need to demonstrate how your research makes a contribution to knowledge in your academic field. Writing a literature review is an important step in this process. The literature review is a survey of the current state of knowledge on your topic or issue. It establishes what is known or not known and, therefore, where there are gaps in knowledge that your study could fill. In doing so, the literature review provides a rationale for your research in terms of what has gone before, and a justification of its value and significance. The literature review is therefore never just about the literature but where your study fits within the literature, justifying your central research question and the tools, techniques or methods by which you address your research question/s or aim/s. Your literature review will be assessed by your supervisor and the Masters program convenor. It can be a maximum of 10 pages and up to 2000 words (including figure captions but excluding references). To be submitted (via TurnItIn on the course Wattle site) immediately after the mid-semester break. Further advice on literature reviews can be found here: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/learning-development/research-writing/literature-reviews.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 24/05/2024
Return of Assessment: 07/06/2024
Learning Outcomes: 3,4,5

Research Proposal

In addition to a literature review, students are expected to produce a research proposal demonstrating that they understand the process of scholarly inquiry, in particular, that 'good' research starts with the identification of an important problem or 'gap' in knowledge, which can be realistically addressed. A persuasive research proposal identifies a knowledge gap that must be filled, proposes a hypothesis and, subsequently, suggests a series of aims and objectives to be accomplished, using appropriate methods, that will address the hypothesis.


Various components of the Research Methods (EMSC8017) course have provided information on the stages involved in designing a research project, from understanding the purpose of a research proposal to what to consider when writing one. Further material, complementing what you have learnt, is available here:



Research proposals should be developed in line with current Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project (DP) regulations, with detailed instructions here:


These instructions should be read, in detail. Students are expected to complete (tailored) versions of the following sections:

  • Part A – Administrative Summary.
  • Part B – Classifications and Other Statistical Information.
  • Part C – Project Description.
  • Part E/F – Project Cost & Budget Justification.

A template is provided here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1u8kzhol585d2vz/Proposal_Template.doc?dl=0. Part C, which is no more than 10 A4 pages long, must include a timeline/schedule for your entire project. It is also where you cover the background to your project (a summary – the separate literature review allows you to cover this in more depth), providing a rationale for your research in terms of what has gone before, a justification of its value and its significance.

The proposal will be assessed by your supervisor and the Masters program convenor. Assessors will use the following assessment criteria:

  • Established relevance of the study.
  • Demonstrated an understanding of the central concepts in the field of study.
  • Integrated and synthesised information, with emphasis on important points and critical evaluation of the literature.
  • Documented support for the approach or framework of the proposed study.
  • Identified gaps in current knowledge.
  • Clearly identified hypotheses to be tested and/or research question to be investigated.
  • Provided plausible significance and outcomes for study.
  • Well explained experimental design and/or appropriate methodology.
  • Provided reasonable budget and realistic timeline.
  • Accurate referencing and citations that follow content and format expectations for publication.
  • Clear and logical presentation of text.
  • Self-explanatory and appropriately referenced figures and tables.
  • General writing style free of formatting, spelling and grammatical errors.

Proposals should be submitted via TurnItIn on the course Wattle site. Detailed marking guidelines are on the course wattle site. We aim to return feedback on your Research Proposal within two weeks of submission.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 31/05/2024
Return of Assessment: 07/06/2024
Learning Outcomes: 3,4,5

Research Presentation

You will deliver a 20-minute oral presentation to a peer audience, which summarises: (i) the background, motivation and aims of your project; (ii) the hypotheses / research questions you will be testing; (iii) the methods you intend to use; and (iv) a timeline for the project. Assessment will consider your presentation skills, organisation and the general quality of the seminar. This seminar will provide your supervisors, personal tutors and members of the school with the opportunity to participate and provide constructive comments on your proposed research project.

Detailed guidelines for the assessment of presentations are provided below. Consistent with the Research Proposal, presentations will be assessed by your supervisor and the Masters program convenor.

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

Written feedback will be provided to the students (via email) within 2 weeks of each submission.

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

Not 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).

AsPr David Heslop

Research Interests


AsPr David Heslop

By Appointment
AsPr David Heslop

Research Interests

AsPr David Heslop

By Appointment

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