This unit of study is designed to foster students' understanding and application of advanced research methods. Students choose whether they study the quantitative or qualitative stream of this unit based on their interests as well as which stream will best support the methodology they intend to use in their research thesis. Each stream is taught in a separate class so that all students in the quantitative stream are together in one class and all students in the qualitative stream are together in another class. In both streams, the unit looks beyond strategies for data collection (methods) and analysis to consider the importance of epistemology, methodology and ethics in conducting research. This includes exploring the different assumptions that inform quantitative or qualitative methodologies, the appropriateness of different research methods in the context of the research questions being posed, the implications for knowledge claims, and for report writing. This unit also links to the research thesis component of the Honours course, in that students both give an individual oral presentation and submit a written assignment on their proposal for their thesis project.

Unit details

Online – Real Time
Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Critique the principles and assumptions that underpin different forms of research design and methodology;  
  2. Apply and evaluate advanced research methods skills including design, analysis and presentation;  
  3. Postulate appropriate research questions and justify techniques used to answer set research questions; and  
  4. Interpret the results of data analysis in a meaningful way.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Presentation Individual research proposal presentation (15-20 minutes) 30%
Assignment Individual research plan; 2 parts - 25% each (2000 words) 50%
Test Final Test (1.5 hours) 20%

Required reading

Discovering statistics using SPSS. 5th ed.
Field, A. (2018)
London: Sage.

Introducing qualitative research in psychology: Adventures in theory and methods. 3rd ed.
Willig, C. (2013)
Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.

The quantitative stream uses Field (2018) and the qualitative stream uses Willig (2013).

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this unit information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that unit information is current with the Student Contact Centre.