Research Practices and Methodologies

Master Course Unit

COUN6061 Research Practices and Methodologies

Level: Masters

Credit points: 4

Prerequisites: none

Unit description

This unit integrates the theory and practice of social research. The unit equips students with analytic abilities and practical skills that will enable them to critically evaluate sound and unsound research methodologies, and to develop their research proposals for their own projects. Students will learn the principles and practices of ethical research and reporting through the completion of ethics applications for their proposed research, in order to appropriately identify and seek to minimise ethical risks to participants. This unit equips students with skills applicable to work and study situations in which they may be required to conduct formal research, and to the critical reading of published research.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to: 

  • design and develop a research proposal
  • critically analyse and evaluate the rigour of published research studies
  • identify ethical risks to participants in research methods and plan to minimise those risks appropriately
  • develop technical skills in a range of qualitative and or qualitative research methods

Unit content

  • The Role of Research in Professional Practice
  • Research Paradigms
  • How to Design a Research Proposal
  • Social Policy Development
  • Strategy and Planning
  • Program Evaluation and Review
  • Ethical Dimensions of Research
  • Research Method and Application
  • The Case Study
  • In-depth Interviewing
  • Focus Groups
  • Participant Observation and Ethnography

Unit workload

The workload for this unit is 13 hours per week.

Assignment summary



Word count


Evaluation of three published research studies relevant to the topic of your proposal




Research Proposal




National Ethics Application Form

Hurdle requirement

Not applicable


Graduate attributes

The following graduate attributes will be developed in this unit:

  • Creative self-expression
  • Reasoned criticism
  • Multiple research methodologies
  • Complex data acquisition techniques and analysis
  • Written expression and reasoned argument from empirical data
  • Evaluating possible outcomes of alternative courses of action

Recommended texts

Bryman, A. (2012). Social research methods (4th ed.). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. Please refer to for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of the semester.