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Unit of study_

MUED3629: Honours: Research in Music Education 1

The aims of this unit of study are to develop an understanding of music education research processes, and to identify research methods suitable for individual students' research topics. It examines a range of music education research paradigms which can broadly be categorised as qualitative and quantitative and introduces students to related research procedures. Readings and seminar activities are designed to facilitate students' critical analysis of research in terms of the relevant research methodologies. Students will also develop strategies for locating and reviewing literature pertaining to their fields of research interest. As an outcome of this unit, students will submit a preliminary literature review and preliminary research proposal.


Academic unit Music Education
Unit code MUED3629
Unit name Honours: Research in Music Education 1
Session, year
Semester 1, 2020
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Michael Webb,
Lecturer(s) Michael Webb ,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Participation Seminar participation
10% Multiple weeks Ongoing
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2
Assignment Reading assignment
Written task
30% Week 06 1000-1200 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Assignment Literature review
Written task
50% Week 13 3000-3500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Assignment Preliminary proposal
Written task
10% Week 14 (STUVAC) 800-1200 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
  • Reading assignment: This assignment is made up of two parts; a bibliography of 8-10 publications on your developing research topic; and annotations relating to 5 publications in your bibliography.
  • Literature review: Compile a set of at least 20 publications relating to your chosen research topic, including at least six research publications. Reference should be made to journal articles, books and, if appropriate, quality Internet resources. Write a review of the compiled publications. Your review of the literature should include both a description and critical discussion of content and research methods. This might include, in the case of research literature, discussion of the purpose and type of research, methodology, analysis of data, findings and contribution of the literature to the field. 
  • Preliminary proposal: Students will submit a list of several precisely formulated research questions, with a summary of the research procedure proposed to address these. Key methodological issues to address might be: Topic; Research questions; Paradigm; Research design; Sample (participants) / Sampling procedures; Data collection methods; Proposed research timeline.
  • Seminar participation: Students’ attendance and their participation in seminar activities will be assessed. In preparation
    for each seminar, students need to summarise the issues raised in the readings related to the weekly topic and be prepared with written points to discuss that summary in the seminar. Preparation for and response to the two scheduled consultations will be included in this portion of the assessment.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The following assessment criteria are used for written work in this unit of study:

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Demonstrates high level of initiative in research and reading; sophisticated critical analysis of evidence; high level engagement with theoretical issues, innovative use of reading/research material and impressive command of underlying debates and assumptions; properly documented and written with style, originality and precision.


75 - 84

Demonstrates initiative in research and wide, appropriate reading; complex understanding of question and ability to critically review material in relation to underlying assumptions and values; analyses material in relation to empirical and theoretical contexts; properly documented; clear, well-developed structure and argument with some signs of literary style.


65 - 74

Evidence of broader understanding than pass level; offers synthesis with some critical evaluation of material; coherent argument using a range of relevant evidence; some evidence of independent thought, good referencing. A high credit (70-74) shows some evidence of ability to problematise and think conceptually.


50 - 64

Written work meets basic requirements in terms of reading/research; relevant material; tendency to descriptive summary rather than critical argument; makes a reasonable attempt to avoid paraphrasing; reasonably coherent structure; often has weaknesses in particular areas, especially in terms of narrow or underdeveloped treatment of question; acceptable documentation.


0 - 49

Work may fail for any or all of the following reasons: Unacceptable paraphrasing; irrelevance of content; poor spelling; poor presentation; grammar or structure so sloppy it cannot be understood; failure to demonstrate understanding of content; insufficient or overlong word length.

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.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

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.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Course introduction & Library resources Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 02 Research paradigms Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 03 Evaluating research and reviewing the literature Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 04 Qualitative methods. Ethnography: fieldwork methods, access, observation, contextualisation Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 05 Consultation week Online class (2 hr)  
Week 06 Qualitative methods. Ethnography: interviews, verification of data; Evaluating qualitative research Online class (2 hr)  
Week 07 Research Data Management Reading Week Online class (2 hr)  
Week 08 Qualitative methods & Case studies Online class (2 hr)  
Week 09 Qualitative methods & Action research Online class (2 hr)  
Week 12 Consultation week Online class (2 hr)  
Week 13 Presentations of research in progress Online class (2 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

  • Lecture recording: Lectures for this unit of study will be recorded and made available to students via the Learning Management System (LMS) 
  • Attendance: Students are expected to attend a minimum of 90% of timetabled activities for a unit of study, unless granted exemption by the Dean, Head of School or professor most concerned. The Dean, Head of School or professor most concerned may determine that a student fails a unit of study because of inadequate attendance. Alternatively, at their discretion, they may set additional assessment items where attendance is lower than 90%.

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 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 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. understand a variety of research methods, concepts and research designs relevant to music education research
  • LO2. critically review literature and develop a literature review appropriate for their proposed research study
  • LO3. design research questions addressing a project of their choosing and create a preliminary plan with which to investigate these questions.

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


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