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Introduction to Research Methods (RM095-6)

(Honours and Postgraduate research requirement)


Online, every semester


Felix Chung


On successful completion of this unit, students will...

Know and understand 

  • The nature of research and related debates relating to its purpose, value, ethics, paradigms and epistemology.
  • Critique the research methods most often used in a candidate’s proposed field of research.

Be able to 

  • Identify a researchable topic and articulate the research question, or hypothesis being explored.
  • Articulate the conceptualization underpinning the research proposal.
  • Develop a research plan that demonstrates capacity to manage the research project.

Be in a position to 

  • Write a clearly set out research proposal that can be completed within the time allowable.
  • Satisfactorily complete an Ethics Protocol where human subject participant is required.


  1. The philosophy of research
  • The place and value of student research in higher education
  • The purpose of research
  • Epistemological issues in research
  • Paradigms in research
  • Integrity in research: awareness of ethical issues and honesty with evidence
  • Issues of personal motivation for beginning and sustaining research

2. The resources of research

  • Resources in the college: staff, library, peer interaction
  • Resources beyond the college: other researchers and research groups, internet, conferences and consultations.
  • Learning to use the tools and access the sources for efficient research
  • Qualitative and quantitative research: the importance of methodology
  • Managing and reporting data: collection and maintenance
  • Literature reviews: library and other electronic resources

3. Administration of research

  • The candidate-supervisor relationship
  • Supervisor’s role and responsibilities
  • Candidate’s role and responsibilities
  • Compatibility, styles of supervisions and dispute resolution
  • Risk in research

4. Project Management

  • Time path of research
  • Scoping
  • Sketching argument and structure
  • Developing work programs
  • Establishing a schedule for the production of written materials; parts of the whole paper of a thesis/project; accumulation of data from survey research; supervisor’s scrutiny of the parts and feedback

5. Analysis and interpretation

  • Handling evidence and data
  • Research in the service of Christian ministries
  • Research in ministry – design and practice

6. Focus and production

  • Formulating a proposal: defining the topic; setting realistic, achievable goals; benefits
  • Safeguards in ‘human subject research’: the evidence necessary for project approval by an ethics committee; ethics protocols for research involving human subjects
  • Final form of the thesis/project: revision of style and accuracy of writing; consistency in use of conventions; supervisor’s final approval; research writing for critique and publication.


Available on the ACT Website


If you are enrolled in the Research Methods unit, you may access it from the 'Resources' menu of this site, or click here.