This unit will introduce students to a range of contemporary approaches to human subject research, and the epistemologies and theoretical perspectives that frame typical approaches. The Unit focuses on the skills required for drafting a research question or objective, selecting appropriate research methodology and method(s), literature review, research design, and the preparation of a research proposal and a research ethics submission. The Unit will introduce quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research approaches. The Unit will encourage students to identify methodologies and methods that are appropriate to their likely fields of study and offer each student the opportunity to gain advanced skills in one of several alternative research methods. These are likely to include: survey research, grounded theory, ethnography, theological action research, and discourse analysis. A student who successfully completes this Unit will be better equipped to write a research essay and/or draft an HDR research proposal.

Unit code: DP9734W

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

Delivery Mode: Online

Proposing College: Whitley College

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Learning outcomes


Demonstrate a working knowledge of terminologies, theoretical foundations, and methodologies that are of relevance for human research.


Critically review and synthesise scholarly literature relevant to research subjects and their related research methods


Critically evaluate research methodologies and their alignment with human research objectives


Demonstrate research project design skills that integrate a research question, research methodology, and research method(s), within a coherent thesis structure.


Demonstrate an appreciation of the nature, purpose, ethical responsibilities, and limitations of research.


Understand the importance of, and demonstrate the skills required for, successful submission to a Human Research Ethics Committee

Unit sequence

This unit is foundational for the Minor Thesis and may be taken in the Graduate Certificate in Research Methodology, all Graduate Diplomas, all Masters awards, and all Doctorates.


  • Self-directed learning modules and compulsory online seminars and tutorials
  • Self-directed modules will include recorded lectures, course readings, asynchronous student forums, self-assessment and reflection learning, research-design mini-practicums, and other online-appropriate pedagogies.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Barry, Ralph. The Research Project: How to Write It. 5th Edition. New York: Routledge, 2004.
  • Bryman, A. Social Research Methods. 5th Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.
  • Cameron, H., and Catherine Duce. Researching Practice in Ministry and Mission: A Companion. London: SCM Press, 2013.
  • Charmaz, K. Constructing Grounded Theory. 2nd Edition. London: SAGE Publications, 2014.
  • Crotty, M. The Foundations of Social Research. London: SAGE Publications, 2007.
  • Denzin, N. The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research. 5th Edition. London: Sage Publications, 2018.
  • Fink, A. Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to the Paper. 3rd Edition. London: SAGE Publications, 2010.
  • Gray, D. Doing Research in the Real World. 4th Edition. London: Sage Publications, 2018.
  • Osmer, R. Practical Theology: An Introduction. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008.
  • Swinton, J., and Mowat, H. Practical Theology and Qualitative Research. 2nd Edition. London: SCM Press, 2016.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Critical Review - Critical review of a human research method

A critical review of a journal article describing a research method and its applicaiton

1500 20.0
Essay - Evaluate of a human research method

Selection, description, and evaluation of a human research methodology and method of relevance to your research

2500 30.0
Report - Human Research Proposal

Prepare a Human Research Proposal

3500 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 22 Sep, 2021

Unit record last updated: 2021-09-22 21:01:37 +1000