• Offered by POLIS: The Centre for Social Policy Research
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Social Research
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Ben Phillips
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings

This course will provide students with an understanding of how data is currently used to inform decision making and how data might be used more effectively to inform business, service delivery and policy questions. The course will build on student knowledge across a range of analytical techniques with a focus on the practical application of these techniques to real world problems. It is structured around a number of case studies drawn from business, the community sector and the public sector. Key themes include:
- the ways in which data and empirical analysis can help inform real world decisions;
- strengths and weaknesses of different types of data and empirical evidence;
- the assumptions underlying some of the main analytical techniques used in decision making; and,
- how to use data persuasively- how to used data in a tactical and strategic way.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. interpret data to inform real world decisions;
  2. understand the assumptions, strengths and limitations of different types of data for informing decision making;
  3. develop robust analytical questions and identify the most effective techniques to answer these questions;
  4. communicate complex data to a non-specialist audience; and,
  5. assess the robustness of data for decision making.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Class participation (10%) (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  2. Written Critique (1,500 words) (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  3. Data Report (2,500 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  4. Oral presentation of data report (Assignment 2) (10 minutes) (20) [LO 4]

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.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: face-to-face lectures, tutorials and online activities.
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed STAT1003 or STAT2001 or STAT2008 or STAT3011 or STAT3040 or POLS3025 or SOCY2038, or with permission of the convenor.

Prescribed Texts

To be provided on the course Wattle site.

Assumed Knowledge

Basic understanding of key social research methods.


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
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $4080
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $5280
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
3481 19 Feb 2024 26 Feb 2024 05 Apr 2024 24 May 2024 In Person View

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