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Unit of study_

IDEA9302: IDEA Research Project

Semester 1, 2023 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

The research project offers students the opportunity to work on an individual research project exploring current problems and issues in a wide range of application areas that would benefit from an inter-disciplinary design research approach to design, technology and human-computer interaction. Students can choose to follow one of the primary types of design research: design (a fundamental component of the research is the design and implementation of an artefact/system); empirical (empirical data gathering is required to understand a phenomenon); model (a computational model is generated to understand a phenomenon); and studio-based (creative/experimental design or artform is produced for exhibition). Students must prepare a research proposal outlining the research objectives and questions, a brief literature review, the research methodology and a timeline. The project is written up into a research report, and may include evidence and documentation of Built Work. This unit of study can be taken alone for students wishing to focus on the practice of design research, or in conjunction with IDEA9303 Research Dissertation for students wishing to develop their academic research capacity and with an interest in further postgraduate research study.

Unit details and rules

Unit code IDEA9302
Academic unit Design Lab
Credit points 12
48 credit points including (18 credit points from IDEA9103 and IDEA9105 and IDEA9106) and (18 credit points from IDEA9101 or IDEA9102 or IDEA9201 or IDEA9202)
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Jody Watts,
Lecturer(s) Jody Watts,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Dissertation Research report
Written report
80% Formal exam period
Due date: 07 Jun 2023 at 23:59
5,000-8,000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Presentation Research Proposal Presentation
Oral and visual presentation
0% Week 05
Due date: 22 Mar 2023 at 14:00
10 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO4
Assignment Research proposal
Written document
10% Week 05
Due date: 22 Mar 2023 at 23:59
8-12 pages, 2500-3500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4
Presentation In-progress presentation
Oral and visual presentation
0% Week 09
Due date: 26 Apr 2023 at 14:00
10 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO4
Presentation Final project presentation
Oral and visual presentation
10% Week 13
Due date: 24 May 2023 at 14:00
15 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO4

Assessment summary

  • Research proposal: The first assignment involves preparing a research proposal, describing your research topic and a plan for how you propose to conduct the research. The written proposal should include a brief summary of the state-of-the-art, identification of a gap, the research aims and questions, scope, intended outcomes, annotated bibliography, research design, a timeline and risk analysis.
  • Research proposal presentation: You will also present your proposal in class, although the presentation itself is not marked.
  • In-progress presentation: You will present in class on the progress of your project, to gain valuable feedback for the remaining weeks. The presentation has no marks attached.
  • Final project presentation: You will present an overview of your research project, using a mix of oral and visual communication techniques. The in-class presentation should cover the motivating context for the research, the research aims and questions, the methodology, results and findings, evaluation, and main outcomes and knowledge contributions. It is an opportunity for feedback on your project in preparation for writing it up in a research report.
  • Research report: The research report is a written report describing the motivating context for the research, research aims and questions, scope, literature review, research methodology/methods, results and findings, evaluation, and main outcomes and knowledge contributions. The report should start with an abstract of no more than 300 words. The implementation of the project may result in Built Work, for which documentation and/or implementation files must be submitted.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Work of outstanding quality, demonstrating mastery of the learning outcomes assessed. The work shows significant innovation, experimentation, critical analysis, synthesis, insight, creativity, and/or exceptional skill.


75 - 84

Work of excellent quality, demonstrating a sound grasp of the learning outcomes assessed. The work shows innovation, experimentation, critical analysis, synthesis, insight, creativity, and/or superior skill.


65 - 74

Work of good quality, demonstrating more than satisfactory achievement of the learning outcomes assessed, or work of excellent quality for a majority of the learning outcomes assessed.


50 - 64

Work demonstrating satisfactory achievement of the learning outcomes assessed.


0 - 49

Work that does not demonstrate satisfactory achievement of one or more of the learning outcomes assessed.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Introduction to unit of study; 2. What is research?; 3. Constructing a research proposal; 4. Literature search Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 02 1. Design research, research design and research methods; 2. Academic integrity, citation and referencing. 3. Paper critique discussion. Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 04 Human ethics in research Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 05 Research proposal presentations by students Presentation (3 hr)  
Week 07 Qualitative research and data analysis Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 09 In-progress presentations by students Presentation (3 hr)  
Week 11 How to write a good abstract. Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 13 Final project presentations by students Presentation (3 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: All Capstone research students are expected to attend all sessions of the research seminar. You must attend the compulsory sessions in Week 1 – Intro, Week 5 – Research Proposal Presentation, and Week 13 – Final Project Presentation. The aim of the Research Seminar is to provide a group environment where supervision, discussion, exchange and peer learning take place. These are complemented by weeks devoted to one-one supervision, where the student meets with their supervisor to discuss the progress of their project and receive guidance on their research. 
  • Booking supervision meetings: Each student has 7 x 30 minutes = 3.5 hours for supervision meetings. It is up to the student to negotiate suitable times with their supervisor. It is advisable to do this at the start of semester, as supervisors are busy with other academic duties. Do not leave it to the day before to book a meeting, as it is likely that your supervisor will not be available at such short notice.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 12 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 240-300 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. plan, scope and manage an independent research-based project
  • LO2. critically engage with published scholarship and trusted sources of data to identify gaps and contributions in knowledge
  • LO3. select and apply appropriate research methods to answer well-formulated research questions
  • LO4. communicate persuasively through diverse forms of media the value and validity of design research proposals, findings and solutions to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • LO5. work independently, with an ability to make independent judgements, reflect, self-evaluate and self-improve, and incorporate the guidance and feedback of others.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

The deliverables for the Research Proposal have been adjusted to better develop key research skills required for developing a solid foundation for the project.

Additional costs

This unit may require students to purchase equipment, software licenses and other general materials to support the execution of their project.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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