This unit of study provides students the opportunity, under guidance from a supervisor, to develop a research question and write a thesis on topics related to community development, digital media or communications. Final topic will be negotiated between the student and supervisor and will be a research area within the field of community development either in Australian and/or international context.  The research will usually be text-based, some will include fieldwork. The student who undertake fieldwork must demonstrate high-level knowledge of ethical fieldwork procedures and seeks timely ethics clearance.

Unit details

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AAA5002 - Research Methods

Students must have a distinction or above in AAA5002 Research Methods in order to undertake ASA6003 Research Thesis (Part 1).

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Investigate and distil previous research in a designated area;  
  2. Critically reflect on a range of conceptual and empirical materials and justify conclusions;  
  3. Argue findings through written communication;  
  4. Conceptually map the intersection between theory and practice;  
  5. Elucidate potential ethical problems and implement ethical research processes under supervision; and  
  6. Transform work processes and knowledge formation through collaboration with others.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Literature Review Reviewing the literature relevant to the topic of study 30%
Assignment Developing a comprehensive research proposal with the guidance of the supervisor 40%
Other Complete and submit ethics application to be reviewed by VU's ethics committee 30%
During the first part of this unit students will learn, under supervision, by doing the preliminary steps of the research process to allow time for data collection in the intervening period. Each assignment is designed as separate research/learning milestones for students to complete the research thesis. Feedback will be provided in each research milestone to prepare students for the final thesis submission. Students are required to submit a completed research thesis of 15,000-20,000 words by the end of ASA6004 Research Thesis (Part 2).

Required reading

Investigating the social world: the process and practice of research, 6th edn,
Schutt RK, 2008,
Sage Publications

Social research methods 3rd edn
Bryman A, 2008,
Oxford: OUP

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