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ACO410 - Communication Research Methods


2020 unit information

Important Update:

Classes and seminars in Trimester 2/Semester 2, 2020 will be online. Physical distancing for coronavirus (COVID-19) will affect delivery of other learning experiences in this unit. Please check your unit sites for announcements and updates one week prior to the start of your trimester or semester.

Last updated: 2 June 2020

Enrolment modes:Trimester 1: Burwood (Melbourne), Cloud (online)
Trimester 2: Cloud (online)
Credit point(s):2
EFTSL value:0.250
Unit Chair:Trimester 1: Deirdre Quinn-Allan
Trimester 2: Deirdre Quinn-Allan




Incompatible with:


Typical study commitment:

Students will on average spend 300-hours over the teaching period undertaking the teaching, learning and assessment activities for this unit.

Scheduled learning activities - campus:

Trimester 1: 1 x 2-hour seminar per week

Scheduled learning activities - cloud:

Online Independent and Collaborative learning activities x 2-hours per week. This will include a range of activities including seminar recordings and synchronous and asynchronous participation in online classroom activities


This unit is designed for students who will undertake research in Communication disciplines such as Advertising, Digital Media, Journalism, Media Production/Design, Public Relations and Media Studies.

Students engage with theoretical frameworks to inform research design, ethics, sampling, measurement, data collection, analysis, and interpretation of results.

Students will be introduced to common research methods such as surveys, depth interviews, content analysis, and textual analysis. These are selected as typical methods commonly used for exploratory and descriptive research in communication and allied media industries.

With a focus on all stages of the research process students will be able to develop and present a research proposal for a quantitative and/or qualitative research project intended to inform policy, decision making and professional practices related to communication disciplines.


These are the Learning Outcomes (ULO) for this unit

At the completion of this unit, successful students can:

Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes


Design a research project and choose a suitable theoretical framework based on critical examination and application of research paradigms and theories

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO2: Communication

GLO4: Critical thinking

GLO5: Problem solving


Apply analytical and critical thinking skills to evaluate the validity, reliability, generalisability, and heuristic value of published research and to be able to propose alternative explanations to published research findings

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO2: Communication

GLO4: Critical thinking

GLO5: Problem solving


Apply ethical reasoning and judgement which is sensitive to the relevant issues for a selected research topic

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO4: Critical thinking

GLO5: Problem solving

GLO8: Global citizenship


Select, justify and apply a range of data analysis techniques for a selected research topic

GLO1Discipline knowledge and capabilities

GLO3: Digital literacy

GLO4: Critical thinking

GLO5: Problem solving

These Unit Learning Outcomes are applicable for all teaching periods throughout the year


Trimester 1:
Assessment Description Student output Grading and weighting
(% total mark for unit)
Indicative due week
Assessment 1 - Research and Writing Exercise 2400 words
or equivalent
30% Information not yet available
Assessment 2 - Research Methods Exercise 2400 words
or equivalent
30% Information not yet available
Assessment 3 - Research Proposal 3200 words
or equivalent
40% Week 11

The assessment due weeks provided may change. The Unit Chair will clarify the exact assessment requirements, including the due date, at the start of the teaching period.

Learning Resource

The texts and reading list for the unit can be found on the University Library via the link ACO410
Note: Select the relevant trimester reading list.

Please note that a future teaching period's reading list may not be available until a month prior to the start of that teaching period so you may wish to use the relevant trimester's prior year reading list as a guide only.

Unit Fee Information

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