Research Project II

Study research at home learning to monitor processes, identify research issues, get information, use statistics, plan and design research for science or social sciences.

Course CodeBGN201
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Learn to monitor, analyse and evaluate a common process (or processes) relevant to the discipline you are studying or working in.

For the purpose of this course/module; a "process" is defined as any distinct series of events or changes over a period of time, and which is directly related to the area of study.

Lesson Structure

There are 6 lessons in this course:

  1. Identifying research issues
    • The nature of research
    • Finding research ideas
    • Experience
    • Literature
    • Requests for research
    • Curiosity and imagination
    • Considering all options
    • Formulating a research project
    • Is the research topic feasible
    • Terminology
    • Types of questions: descriptive, rational, causal
    • Units of analysis
    • Validity
    • Conclusion validity
    • Internal validityConstruct validity
    • External validity
    • Fallacies
    • Variables
    • Structure of a research project
    • Components of a research project
    • Nature of a relationship
    • Patterns in relationships
    • Timing of research
    • Ethics in research
  2. Acquisition of technical information
    • Literature review
    • Research methods
    • Methods of collecting information
    • Experimental methods
    • Correlation methods
    • Questionnaires, surveys, tests
    • Interviews
    • Document reviews
    • Focus groups
    • Case Studies
  3. Specialised research techniques
    • Specialised research
  4. Research planning and designing
    • Introduction
    • The scientific method
    • Testing hypotheses
    • Common mistakes when applying the scientific method
    • Hypotheses, models, tyheories and laws
  5. Statistics
    • Types of data: quantitative vs qualitative
    • Overview of statistics for research
    • Sources of statistics
    • Statistical data (Plural sense)
    • Statistical Method (Singular sense)
  6. Conducting research
    • Analyzing and interpreting information
    • Start with research goals
    • Analysis of quantitative information
    • Analysis of qualitative information
    • Interpreting information
    • Example of a report
    • Pitfalls to avoid
    • Evaluation
    • Evaluation strategies
    • Types of evaluation
    • Evaluation questions and methods

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Develop evidence of your ability to collect, collate and interpret data and prepare reports in ways relevant to the work environment;
  • Monitor and evaluate one’s own work in order to develop a responsible attitude to workplace performance and quality assurance;
  • Discuss areas where there is a valid need for research which are relevant to area of study;
  • Explain research methods, including experimental techniques, commonly used in your area of study;
  • Undertake basic statistical methods used for research;
  • Locate, collect and evaluate information for a specific research purpose;
  • Prepare a research report in a format which conforms to normal industry procedures.

Research Projects Focus on Answering Well Defined Questions
There are three basic types of questions that research projects can address:

Descriptive.  This is when a study is designed primarily to describe what is going on or what exists. For example, public opinion polls are primarily descriptive in nature. If we want to know what percent of the population would vote Liberal, Labor, or Democrat in the next Federal election, we are simply interested in describing something.

Relational.  This is where a study is designed to look at the relationship between two or more variables.   A public opinion poll that compares what proportion of males and females say they would vote for a Liberal, Labor, or Democrat candidate in the next federal elections is basically studying the relationship between gender and voting preference.

Causal.  This is where a study is designed to determine whether one or more variables (eg. a program or treatment variable) causes or affects one or more outcome variables.  If we did a public opinion poll to try and determine whether a recent political advertisement changed voter preferences, we would be studying whether the campaign (cause) changed the proportion of voter who would vote Liberal, Labor or Democrat (effect).
These three question types could also be viewed as cumulative. A relational study assumes that you can first describe (by measuring or observing) each of the variables you are trying to relate. A causal study assumes that you can describe both the cause and effect variables and that you can show that they re related to each other.

The Actual Topics Studied are Largely Your Choice
This course allows you a great deal of flexibility in what you apply research methodology to. If you are studying health sciences, for instance; you can choose to apply your work in this course to health. Whatever the discipline; you can apply it to that discipline.
We do however want to see a measure of reality in your work. Once you have thought of a research topic, you then need to think about whether the study is feasible.  There may also be major considerations to think about, including making trade offs between rigour and practicality. To do a study well from a scientific point of view, you may have to consider a range of tasks and activities, some that you may not have done before, or may not normally do. You may have to control the implementation of the program more carefully; or ask program participants questions that you usually wouldn’t if you weren’t doing research.

If you had unlimited resources and unchecked control circumstances, you would always be able to do the best quality research. Unfortunately, this seldom occurs and researchers are quite often forced to look for the best trade offs they can find in order to get the rigour they want.

There are also several practical considerations that need to be considered when deciding upon the feasibility of a research project. Firstly you need to take into consideration how long the research will take to accomplish. You then need to consider whether there are any ethical constraints. Thirdly, can you achieve the needed cooperation to take the project to a successful conclusion; and finally, how significant are the costs of conducting the research. Failure to consider any of these factors could lead to the cessation of the project.



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