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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Improve your Thesis Writing 

  • Develop skills in undertaking research and preparing your own thesis.
Prerequisite: Research Project III

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Do you have a thesis to write and want to improve your writing and organisation?

Then this could be the course for you.
  • Expand your research skills and at the same time be guided to develop a plan for doing a thesis.
  • You are supported throughout the course by our highly experienced tutors.
  • Plan for a major research project that will culminate in a thesis paper.
  • Study online or by eLearning - the course requires approximately 100 hours of study to complete.
  • ACS courses are available to start at any time, and you study at your own pace.


Lesson 1.  The Problem Statement
  • Introduction
  • What is a problem
  • Selecting a topic
  • Structure of a problem statement
  • How does a problem statement relate to quantitative and qualitative research
  • Referencing and reference types
Lesson 2.  The Literature Review Part One
  • What is a literature review
  • Relating your literature review to the problem statement
  • Types of literature
  • Collecting information
  • Finding literature: text books, journal articles, indexes, abstracts, internet
Lesson 3.  The Literature Review Part Two
  • Critical reading
  • Literature review structure
  • Writing
  • Verbs
  • Quotations
  • Presentation of work
Lesson 4.  The Hypothesis
  • What is a hypothesis
  • Definitions
  • Scientific method
  • Structuring a hypothesis
  • What is not a hypothesis
  • Null hypothesis
  • Correlation v. cause and effect
  • Occam's razor
Lesson 5.  The Method
  • Introduction
  • Structuring your research method
  • Research strategy
  • Data collection
  • Quantitative data
  • Qualitative data
  • Data sampling
  • Sampling methods
  • Research integrity
Lesson 6.  Data Collection
  • Introduction
  • Primary and secondary sources of data
  • Quantitative data
  • Qualitative data
  • Data collection
  • Literature review
  • Key informants
  • Experimental
  • Correlation
  • What is correlation?
  • Questionnaires, Surveys and Tests
  • Interviews
  • Documentation
  • Observation
  • Focus groups
  • Case studies
  • Combination and triangulation
Lesson 7.  Research Proposal
  • Introduction
  • Outline
  • Cover Page, abstract, introduction, problem statement, hypothesis, context background, literature survey, research methodology
  • Time schedule, budget, terminology, resource list, appendix
  • Academic writing
 Lesson 8.  Thesis Writing
  • Nature of thesis structure
  • Thesis structure guidelines: different types
Lesson 9.  Ethics
  • Ethics of collecting data
  • Human research
  • Non human research
  • Ethics committee
  • Categories of research
10.  Where To From Here
  • Pitfalls
  • Finalising a thesis submission


Primary data sources are those where you get the information first-hand. This includes information you have collected it yourself through observation, surveys or interviews. It may also include books etc. depending upon the research involved. This is the preferred source of information for research, however they may not always be available for several reasons such as the original language the source was written in or the source is out of print. Collecting data from primary sources is often called field research.
Secondary data sources are those where the information is not first-hand. They may include commentaries, reviews, summaries, explanations, other research articles etc. Secondary data is also very useful in that it may point the researcher to many other sources of primary data, it is also easy to obtain, but the researcher must always be careful with the information. Collecting data from secondary sources is referred to as desk research.

Quantitative Data

Quantitative data includes information that can be directly measured numerically. It uses numbers to measure and describe the subject (quantity = quantitative). For example: trees per hectare: 124 trees/ha, average height: 32.3 m. Quantitative data is:
  • precise
  • reliable
  • structured
  • easier to analyse.
You would use quantitative date if:
  • you want to do statistical analysis
  • you know exactly what you want to measure
  • you are covering large groups.

Qualitative Data

Qualitative data includes information which can be observed but not measured. It is descriptive and deals with the quality of the subject (quality = qualitative). Eg: types of trees on property: E. maculata, E. pipperita, height: tall. It provides responses which reflect:
  • attitudes
  • descriptions
  • judgement.
You would use Qualitative data if:
  • you want anecdotal information or personal information, and/or
  • are not entirely sure what you want to measure, and/or
  • are not required to quantify your results.

Data Collection

Data collection techniques include:
  • Using available information - Literature.
  • Using available information - Key informants.
  • Surveys.
  • Interviews – degrees of flexibility.
  • Focus Groups - discussion.
  • Observation – of behaviour, of the current state of an object.
  • Mapping – important visual representation of geographic relationships.
  • Scaling – gain other’s opinion.
Literature Review
The literature review provides a framework within which to investigate the field of interest. The aim is to provide you with sufficient working knowledge of a topic in preparation for studying that topic. It will also help focus you in your proposed area of research.
Key Informants
A key informant is someone who is considered very knowledgeable or has experience in your field of research. They may be a community member, an academic or a survivor who tells their story. They provide an opportunity to access available information.
This method is one in which a researcher manipulates a variable (anything that can vary) under highly controlled conditions to see if this produces (causes) any changes in a second variable.
All scientific disciplines use this method because they are interested in understanding the laws (cause-and-effect relationships) of nature. The power of the experimental method derives from the fact that it allows researchers to detect cause-and-effect relationships
In order to see cause-and-effect relationships the researcher must be sure that his manipulations (the independent variable) are the only variables having an effect on the dependent variable. He does this by holding all other variables, variables that might also affect the dependent variable, constant (equivalent, the same).


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Meet some of our academics

Alison Pearce (animal)B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Masters Degree in Ecotourism. P.G.Cert. Ed. (Science). Alison's first job was in 1982 as a stockwoman, working with pigs in Yorkshire. Within a few years she of that she was working for the University of Western Australia as a Research Technician and instructor with their school of Agricultural Science.In 1989 she moved to Melbourne University as Unit Manager and Instructor in Animal Husbandry. By the mid 1990's she moved back to England to work in Animal Care and Veterinary Nursing at Cambridgeshire College of Agriculture. Throughout her career, Alison has developed and delivered courses in veterinary nursing and animal sciences for vocational colleges and universities in Australia, New Zealand and Australia. She has built a high level of expertise and an outstanding international reputation as an expert in animal sciences.

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