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Unit outline_

IDEA9311: IDEA Research Internship

Semester 1, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit allows students to collaborate with a private partner on a project with a strong design research character. Such project would typically not be connected to the direct commercial goals, require a certain degree of risk, and necessitate a level of technical and design expertise that is not available by the private partner. The unit coordinator can choose to offer pre-approved client briefs from known external partners to interested students. Students need to submit a written project proposal, detailing the project objectives, the approach, the intended outcomes and timeline of the internship, and the agreement from the private partner. The proposal must describe how the outcomes of the internship will include design research work that has a clear relationship to the skills and knowledge taught in the MIDEA program. The project is written up into a final report, and may include evidence and documentation of Built Work.

Unit details and rules

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 and IDEA9102) or (IDEA9201 and IDEA9202)]
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Lian Loke,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Presentation In-progress presentation
Oral and visual presentation
5% - 10 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO4
Assignment Research report
Written document
60% Formal exam period
Due date: 08 Jun 2020 at 09:00
5000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Research journal
Journal entries
10% Formal exam period
Due date: 15 Jun 2020 at 09:00
Minimum 100 words per entry
Outcomes assessed: LO5
Presentation hurdle task Research Proposal Presentation
Oral and visual presentation
0% Week 05
Due date: 25 Mar 2020 at 09:00
10 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO4
Assignment Research proposal
Written document
10% Week 05
Due date: 25 Mar 2020 at 09:00
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4
Presentation Final project presentation
Oral and visual presentation
15% Week 13
Due date: 27 May 2020 at 09:00
20 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO4
hurdle task = hurdle task ?

Assessment summary

  • Research proposal and presentation: 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 the research aims and questions, scope, intended outcomes, initial literature review, methodology, a timeline and risk analysis. You will present a summary of your proposal in class using a mix of oral and visual presentation techniques. The in-class presentation is compulsory. A mark will not be give for the in-class presentation, but a satisfactory presentation is required as part of your proposal mark.
  • In-progress presentation: You will present a progress report on 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, and next steps.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Research journal: During the internship and conduct of your research, you should keep a weekly record of the progress of the project. At the end of semester, conclude the journal with an evaluation of what you have learnt and how you have grown as a researcher during this unit of study. Reflect on the experience of conducting a research project with an industry partner. You are encouraged to bring your journal to class and supervision meetings every week.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found in the Canvas site for this unit

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



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.


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.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

The late penalty policy for the School of Architecture, Design and Planning will be followed.

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 Seminar (3 hr)  
Week 02 1. Design research and research methods; 2. Academic integrity, citation and referencing Seminar (3 hr)  
Week 03 Guest lecture by previous MIDEA student Seminar (1 hr)  
Week 05 Research Proposal presentations by students Presentation (3 hr)  
Week 06 Lecture and Discussion: Human ethics in research Seminar (3 hr)  
Week 08 Lecture and Discussion: Qualitative research and data analysis. Seminar (3 hr)  
Week 10 In-progress presentations by students Presentation (3 hr)  
Week 12 Exercise and peer discussion: anatomy of an abstract Seminar (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, Week 10 – In- Progress 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: 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.

Required readings

  1. Fallman, D. Design-Oriented Human-Computer Interaction. 2003. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’03), ACM, New York, NY, 225-232.
  2. Forlizzi, J., Zimmerman, J. and Evenson, S. 2008. Crafting a Place for Interaction Design Research in HCI. Design Issues 24(3), 19-29.
  3. Gaver W. 2012. What should we expect from research through design?. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '12). ACM, New York, NY, 937-946.
  4. Höök, K., Löwgren, J. 2012. Strong concepts: intermediate-level knowledge in interaction design research. ACM Trans Comput Hum Interact (TOCHI) 19(3), 1–18.
  5. Stolterman, E., Wiberg, M. 2010. Concept-driven interaction design research. Hum Comput Interact (HCI) 25(2), 95–118.
  6. Zimmerman, J., Forlizzi, J., Evenson, S. Research through design as a method for interaction design research in HCI. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’07), ACM, New York, NY, 493-502.

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 in conjunction with an industry partner
  • 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.

Students would like more examples of design research case studies to help them formulate their own research project and methodology. As part of a funded Education Innovation grant, new resources will be developed to help students during the semester.

More information can be found on the Canvas site for this unit


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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