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GEOP8000 – Research Project in Geography and Planning

2020 – Session 2, Fully online/virtual


As part of Phase 3 of our return to campus plan, most units will now run tutorials, seminars and other small group learning activities on campus for the second half-year, while keeping an online version available for those students unable to return or those who choose to continue their studies online.

To check the availability of face to face activities for your unit, please go to timetable viewer. To check detailed information on unit assessments visit your unit's iLearn space or consult your unit convenor.

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff
Greg Walkerden
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Permission by special approval
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

This unit introduces students to the process of designing and undertaking research in the field of geography and planning and provides an opportunity to undertake a small supervised research project. Students will work with a supervisor within the department on their selected study option. The overall aim of the unit is to allow students to demonstrate a capacity for independent research. Enrolment in the unit is by special permission and students are required to contact the unit convenor with a proposed research topic at least 3 weeks before the start of the semester in which they intend to enrol.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Develop a critical understanding of research practice in geography and planning relevant to a specific area of research interest.
  • ULO2: Prepare and, where appropriate, execute a research project proposal of modest scope in the field of geography and planning
  • ULO3: Contextualise a research interest within the scholarly literature in geography and planning
  • ULO4: Demonstrate an understanding of contemporary research ethics processes and principles in the field of geography and planning
  • ULO5: Present written evidence of research skills at a high standard.

General Assessment Information

GEOP8000 is an individualised unit of study. To successfully complete the unit, you must complete the learning contract negotiated with your supervisor at a standard of performance that is appropriate to postgraduate study. 

To develop your learning contract please contact Dr Greg Walkerden, the unit convenor, prior to or as soon as you enrol in this unit (greg.walkerden@mq.edu.au).

Assessment and individual task assessment dates will be determined in the learning contract.  As a postgraduate unit it is suggested that the word length of the combined assessment tasks comes to approximately 5,000 words - however this may be adjusted according to the project and activity. Suggested configurations include study options A, B, C or D, as detailed above. Students need to select one of these four study options in discussion with their supervisor. 

Assessment of your performance in GEOP8000 will be agreed in your learning contract and marking criteria will be available through iLearn. You should keep a copy of your learning contract and ensure that your supervisor has a signed copy of the contract. 

All assignments must be submitted directly to your university supervisor via email as a word document and submitted via the relevant Turnitin link in the GEOP8000 iLearn site. The submission dates for the assessment tasks will be negotiated with your supervisor, but all tasks must be completed by the end of week 13 in the semester of offer. You must keep a clean electronic copy of your assignments.

In the event that you are unlikely to meet one of the assessment deadlines negotiated with your supervisor, you should discuss this with your supervisor or via email and request, with appropriate documentation and explanation, an extension before the deadline falls. If an extension is not requested or granted prior to the assessment deadline you must submit a Special Consideration request otherwise (a) a penalty for lateness will apply – two (2) marks out of 100 will be deducted per day for assignments submitted after the due date – and (b) no assignment will be accepted more than seven (7) days (incl. weekends) after the original submission deadline. 

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Study Options 100% No Dependent on Study Option and Learning Contract

Study Options

Assessment Type 1: Project
Indicative Time on Task 2: 140 hours
Due: Dependent on Study Option and Learning Contract
Weighting: 100%

Study Option A Research preparation option: Review of relevant literature on research topic (2,000 words) 40%; Review of relevant methodological literature (2,000 words) 40%; Brief research proposal (1,000 words) 20%

Study Option B Research development option: Project proposal and work program (1,000 words) 30%; Ethics application and progress report (1,500 words) 30%; Research report (2,500 words) 40%

Study Option C Small scale research project option: Research proposal and ethics application (1,500 words) 30%; Response to feedback on proposal (500 words) 10%; Dissertation (4,000 words) 60%

Study Option D Work practice option: Report on tasks undertaken while at work (3,000 words) 60%; Work experience journal (2,000 words) 40%

On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Develop a critical understanding of research practice in geography and planning relevant to a specific area of research interest.
  • Prepare and, where appropriate, execute a research project proposal of modest scope in the field of geography and planning
  • Contextualise a research interest within the scholarly literature in geography and planning
  • Demonstrate an understanding of contemporary research ethics processes and principles in the field of geography and planning
  • Present written evidence of research skills at a high standard.

1 If you need help with your assignment, please contact:

  • the academic teaching staff in your unit for guidance in understanding or completing this type of assessment
  • the Learning Skills Unit for academic skills support.

2 Indicative time-on-task is an estimate of the time required for completion of the assessment task and is subject to individual variation

Delivery and Resources

Learning and teaching processes

The overall aim of the unit is to support students in developing and demonstrating the skills and understanding necessary to undertake research in the disciplines of geography and planning.  In this unit students will be introduced to the task of developing research aims and questions, identifying and building upon relevant literature, and addressing questions of research methods, research ethics and research practice.  GEOP8000 provides a useful introduction to research practice and for students who may be interested in a Master of Research.

GEOP8000 is a supervised research unit (or work practice unit) in which you will be allocated to an individual supervisor who you will meet on a regular basis throughout semester. It is a requirement of the unit that the details of your project, assessment and supervision procedure are negotiated as a formal learning contract, signed by yourself and your supervisor and a signed copy provided to the unit convenor. Your supervisor will also be selected on the basis of your research topic and supervisor availability.  The unit provides a flexible framework for supporting research training, research development and small-scale research projects by students in a variety of postgraduate programs.

There is no set reading for GEOP810. Supervisors may provide a specific topic-based reading list, but as a research unit, it is anticipated that part of the task is to demonstrate your skills in searching and documenting literature relevant to your topic.

Using the iLearn site

The Unit's iLearn site is fundamental to delivery of the Unit.  Read it carefully to prepare for this unit. Any adaptations to Unit delivery that arise from Covid-19 will be documented there.

Using the research literature

Citing peer reviewed research is essential for all assignments. Access peer reviewed journal articles through the University Library’s website; use MultiSearch. Google Scholar is an excellent starting point. If you are off-campus, accessing Google Scholar from the university library's home page (see link below the Search box) will make it easier to get to journal articles. 

The following databases of journal articles accessible through the University Library are also particularly recommended:

  • Academic Search Premier
  • Scopus
  • Web of Knowledge
  • Web of Science.

The library has also put together helpful research guides for many disciplines relevant to this unit. See the Unit’s iLearn pages for further information.

Unit Schedule

The unit schedule is flexible depending on the Study Option and the contract negotiated between student and supervisor.  In most cases the unit schedule will involve regular online meetings with your supervisor.  It is important you come to these meetings having completed assigned tasks and ready to discuss progress and any issues arising. See the unit's iLearn site (https://ilearn.mq.edu.au) for further information.

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct​


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au or if you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to help you improve your marks and take control of your study.

The Library provides online and face to face support to help you find and use relevant information resources. 

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

If you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.