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Research Methods (CHEN90034)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeCHEN90034
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date


The aim of engineering and scientific research is to produce new knowledge. To be useful, new knowledge must be able to stand up to scrutiny, and its presentation to other researchers and/or to the public must be persuasive.
This subject is an introduction to the processes of research as they apply to chemical and biochemical engineering, including chemical and biological safety and risk assessment, locating and critically analysing relevant literature, designing experiments, analysing data, writing papers, writing research proposals giving presentations and refereeing. Underlying all of these, the subject will foster the development of critical thinking, a sceptical, scientific perspective, and professional ethics.


Topics covered include safety and risk assessments. Training in databases such as Web of Science and Scifinder scholar. Scientific ethics. Research impact measures and methods to maximise impact. Statistical analysis of data and proper reporting of data. Methods for scientific presentations; how to present engaging and entertaining scientific presentations. Guide to writing research proposals. Critically evaluating scientific manuscripts.

Intended learning outcomes


On completion of this subject the student is expected to:

  1. Understand the importance of safety and risk assessment in the conduct of experimental research
  2. Describe the roles of rigour and scepticism in producing results of high impact
  3. Understand relevant statistical techniques including the use of error bars, t-statistics, ANOVA and non-linear linear regression analysis
  4. Explain the ethical guidelines governing academic research
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of and experience in research planning, conduct and analysis and in written and spoken communication.

Generic skills

  • Safety in the laboratory and in engineering/chemical research
  • Ability to communicate scientific ideas in a range of formats, inducing written and spoken
  • Ability to critically evaluate scientific research.

Eligibility and requirements


Enrolment in 351AA PhD in Engineering



Non-allowed subjects


Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



  • Literature review approximately 2000 (10%). Time commitment of approximately 13-15 hours. Due week 6. Intended Learning Outcome (ILOs) 2, 4 and 5 are addressed in the Literature review
  • Oral presentation (20%). Assessed week 10 and 11. ILO 1, 2, 4 and 5 are addressed in the oral presentation
  • Research proposal - maximum 5 A4 pages (20%). Time commitment of approximately 25-30 hours. Due week 9. ILO 1, 2, 4 and 5 are addressed in the research proposal
  • Critical review of research manuscript - maximum two pages (10%).Time commitment of approximately 13-15 hours. Due week 12. All ILOs 5 are addressed in the review
  • A two hour end-of-semester exam (40%). All ILOs are addressed in the exam.

Hurdle requirement: Passing the final exam and attendance at a minimum of 6 Departmental Seminars are required to pass the subject

Dates & times

  • Semester 1
    Principal coordinatorDavid Dunstan
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours1x 3 hour lectures per week and 6 x 1 hour seminars per semester
    Total time commitment200 hours
    Teaching period 4 March 2019 to 2 June 2019
    Last self-enrol date15 March 2019
    Census date31 March 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail10 May 2019
    Assessment period ends28 June 2019

    Semester 1 contact information

Time commitment details

200 hours

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    There are no specifically prescribed or recommended texts for this subject.

  • Subject notes


    The subject will be delivered through 1x three hour lectures per week and 6 x one hour seminars per semester Total. Time Commitment: 200 hours


    Students will have access to lecture slides through LMS.


    The skills gained in this course are vital for careers in academia and industrial research. Importantly, the comprehensive safety topics covered will further prepare students for the importance of safety at all work places including industry and academia. The subject will prepare students for a range of research careers in the process and chemical manufacturing industries, as well as medical and biotechnology research fields.

  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

    Additional information for this subject

    Subject coordinator approval required

Last updated: 18 May 2019