Research Project IV (Thesis Preparation)

Course CodeBGN301
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment
Home Study Course


  • Learn to prepare for and plan a thesis
  • Start any time, work at your own pace
  • Be guided by highly qualified and experienced academic tutors

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  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
  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
  3. The Literature Review Part Two
    • Critical reading
    • Literature review structure
    • Writing
    • Verbs
    • Quotations
    • Presentation of work
  4. The Hypothesis
    • What is a hypothesis
    • Definitions
    • Scientific method
    • Structuring a hypothesis
    • What is not a hypothesis
    • Null hypothesis
    • Correlation vs cause and effect
    • Occam's razor
  5. The Method
    • Introduction
    • Structuring your research method
    • Research strategy
    • Data collection
    • Quantitative data
    • Qualitative data
    • Data sampling
    • Sampling methods
    • Research integrity
  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
  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
  8. Thesis Writing
    • Nature of thesis structure
    • Thesis structure guidelines: different types
  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


  • Construct a problem statement
  • Identify related literature resources which correspond to ‘the problem statement’

What You Will Do

  • ACS Distance Education is unique. We allow you to choose how you study, where you study, what you study, how much you study, and when you study.

Take Your Research Skills to the Next Level

Until you start undertaking higher levels of research, the whole research project can seem relatively straight forward. As you learn more though, you will begin to understand all of the variables that require decisions when you undertake any type of research task. If your task is not defined in very well considered and precise terms, it can be very easy to make errors or to place emphasis in one area rather than another, creating a bias.

There are well established ways of undertaking research, all designed to ensure the final result is not biased, and is as far as possible true and in line with the initial purpose.

In order to keep research focused, and make optimum use of resources available; it is critical that you formulate well defined goals for the research (prior to starting work).

Research questions or problem statements need to lend themselves to data collection and the analysis of that data.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research is research that involves collecting data in the form of numbers and statistics such as experimental research.
Quantitative problems usually include those that are:

  • Descriptive research questions
  • Relational research questions
  • Difference research questions

Quantitative research usually relies on deductive reasoning.  Deductive logic is reasoning that starts with a theory, develops a hypotheses, tests this based on observation and then provides confirmation (or not) of the hypothesis and therefore the theory.   It is known as a top-down approach and can be easily modeled by “If…, then…, but…, therefore...”
For example:

  • If flavour of food is determined by its colour,
  • then all green food should taste the same,
  • but avocados and apples taste different,
  • therefore the hypothesis is incorrect.

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research: is research that involves collecting data that reveals the why not how of its topic.  Information collected is unstructured and may be collected from a wide range of resources.  The information collected is not numerical and is often used to gain insight into behaviours.
Qualitative problems usually include those that are:

  • Historical research questions
  • Legal research questions
  • Ethnographic research questions

The reasoning used in qualitative research is primarily inductive.  Inductive logic is a type of reasoning that allows for the possibility that conclusion is false even when the premise is true. Thus is often known as bottoms up reasoning.  It starts with an observation, develops patterns and hypothesis and eventuates with a generalised theory.
For example:

  • I drew 3 green apples out of a bag;
  • Therefore, all apples in the bag are green.
  • Frequently research may involve both types of reasoning, but it pays to be aware of these and keep them in mind when developing a problem statement.  What you are trying to find out specifically will lead you into either direction.


Work fast or slow –you choose the intensity of study

Start, pause or restart according to changing demands of work, family or lifestyle.