Last Updated S012019



Unit Code DENG700
Unit Duration 24 weeks


Doctor of Engineering

Duration 3 years
Year Level One
Unit Creator / Reviewer Dr. Srinivas Shastri/Dr. Ivan Fair/Dr. Rodney Jacobs/Dr Steve Mackay
Core/Sub-Discipline: Core
Pre/Co-requisites All 600 level units 
Credit Points  



Total Program Credit Points 120


Mode of Delivery Online or on-campus. 
Unit Workload

Total student workload including “contact hours” = 14 - 20 hours per week:

Supervisor = 1 hour (fortnightly)

Personal Study recommended - 15 hours (guided and unguided)

Unit Description and General Aims

In this unit the student has to draw upon the knowledge and skill base developed in the preceding units, and take a significant step forward in applying research, technical and communication skills to write up a research project proposal to design, evaluate, implement, analyse, and theorise about developments that contribute to professional practice or scholarship and to make a novel contribution to the field of interest. It does require a significant amount of dedicated and persistent work to propose a suitable research topic to the appropriate level (AQF 9/10).

As a critical research component of the program, this unit will demonstrate the ability to employ advanced knowledge and skills – with creativity and initiative to new situations in professional practice and/or for further learning; with high level personal autonomy and accountability; to conduct extensive literature reviews and plan a substantial research project, capstone experience and/or piece of scholarship.

Students are required to choose their own research topic; however, the topic will have to be approved by an academic panel to ensure academic integrity and adequate level in scope (and avoid the tension of the differing requirements for an industry project report against that of the required academically-based thesis). It is important that the topic selected is aligned with the student’s interest, future career goals, work history or serious interest in contributing to a particular field and has the longevity required for the full doctoral program. Proposed projects, which represent work done already by the student and are essentially largely complete, will not be acceptable.

The role of the supervisor is to guide and facilitate; it is his/her wisdom that is made available to the student to propose an adequate research topic and to complete a research proposal. The structure of the program is such that there are a number of mini projects integrated into the other independent units.  It is also through these mini projects, as well as through the research-based assignments within these units, that research skills are taught and built upon incrementally. 

A typical BE (Hon) recognised by Engineers Australia would expect a graduate to have studied research methods (either as an independent unit or integrated into the program) and also have completed a substantive undergraduate thesis. This prior and required learning is drawn upon and extended throughout this program.


Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this Unit, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Plan a research culture relating to an engineering and industry milieu

Bloom’s Level 6

  1. Develop ability to integrate knowledge into the successful planning of a project

Bloom’s Level 3

  1. Apply advanced research tools to support the work in an engineering context

Bloom’s Level 3

  1. Propose solutions by applying knowledge base to any of the unit areas previously covered, including project management - with an emphasis on the student’s specialist area

Bloom’s Level 6

  1. Design, develop and present their research project proposal at an advanced academic level

Bloom’s Level 6


Bloom’s Taxonomy

 The cognitive domain levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy:

Bloom's level  Bloom's category Description Verbs
1 Remember Exhibit memory of previously learned material by recalling facts, terms, basic concepts, and answers. Choose, Define, Find, How, Label, List, Match, Name, Omit, Recall, Relate, Select, Show, Spell, Tell, What, When, Where, Which, Who, Why
2 understand Demonstrate understanding of facts and ideas by organizing, comparing, translating, interpreting, giving descriptions, and stating main ideas. Classify, Compare, Contrast, Demonstrate, Explain, Extend, Illustrate, Infer, Interpret, Outline, Relate, Rephrase, Show, Summarize, Translate
3 Apply  Solve problems to new situations by applying acquired knowledge, facts, techniques and rules in a different way. Apply, Build, Choose, Construct, Develop, Experiment with, Identify, Interview, Make use of, Model, Organize, Plan, Select, Solve, Utilize
4 Analyse Examine and break information into parts by identifying motives or causes. Make inferences and find evidence to support generalizations. Analyse, Assume, Categorize, Classify, Compare, Conclusion, Contrast, Discover, Dissect, Distinguish, Divide, Examine, Function, Inference, Inspect, List, Motive, Relationships, Simplify, Survey, Take part in, Test for, Theme
5 Evaluate Present and defend opinions by making judgments about information, validity of ideas, or quality of work based on a set of criteria. Agree, Appraise, Assess, Award, Choose, Compare, Conclude, Criteria, Criticize, Decide, Deduct, Defend, Determine, Disprove, Estimate, Evaluate, Explain, Importance, Influence, Interpret, Judge, Justify, Mark, Measure, Opinion, Perceive, Prioritize, Prove, Rate, Recommend, Rule on, Select, Support, Value
6 Create Compile information together in a different way by combining elements in a new pattern or proposing alternative solutions Adapt, Build, Change, Choose, Combine, Compile, Compose, Construct, Create, Delete, Design, Develop, Discuss, Elaborate, Estimate, Formulate, Happen, Imagine, Improve, Invent, Make up, Maximize, Minimize, Modify, Original, Originate, Plan, Predict, Propose, Solution, Solve, Suppose, Test Theory

Student assessment

Assessment Type

(e.g. Assignment - 2000 word essay (specify topic)

Examination (specify length and format))

When assessed (eg Week 5) Weighting (% of total unit marks) Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1 (Initial Research Proposal)

Student needs to submit an initial research proposal based on his/her area of interest and literature readings. The initial proposal should include a suggested thesis title and a brief description of the research idea. The initial proposal will be refined or modified throughout the following-up supervisor-student meetings. – submission mark.
week 3 5% 1


Assessment 2 – Candidacy Presentation (30-minute Research Topic Presentation) + 20 min for questions and feedback.

Student needs to present his/her research topic in a live online presentation, with audience formed by supervisors, academics, industry guests and peer students. The presentation is marked by supervisors and feedback is provided by the audience. Student must pass Assessment-2 to progress to Assessment-
week 12 45% 2,3,4,5


Assessment 3 (Formal Research Proposal)

The formal research proposal should be based on the student’s approved research topic in Assessement-2 and include feedback received and progress made so far. Thesis proposal is a minimum 3000 words’ document that would include a schedule (MS project or similar), hypothesis; literature review (or annotated bibliography); and research methodology as a minimum.  Word count does not include references and tables.
Final week 50%  1,2,3,4,5


Continuous   1-5

Prescribed and Recommended Readings

Required textbook(s)

There is no specific textbook for this unit, however, some of the textbooks and reference materials that were used for the other Units in this course may provide useful background/supplementary information for this Unit.

Reference Materials

Additionally, suitable information may be found through the following resources:

  • Books which may be accessed at the Knovel Library:
  • IDC /EIT notes and reference texts as advised.
  • Other materials advised during discussions between the supervisor and student.


Unit Content

Students will submit a plan detailing literature reviews, research topic and methodology for this research project.

Literature Review

  • Research Databases
  • Techniques in Literature Reviews
  • Referencing Techniques (e.g. IEEE, APA or Harvard)

Research Proposal

  • Writing Strategies
  • Writing Ideas
  • Ethical issues



The process for development of a thesis proposal will require an in-depth literature review to understand the current level of knowledge in the chosen field; followed by a clear definition of the proposed topic. This will lead to the thesis proposal stating the problem, objectives, a preliminary literature review, methods to be applied and resources required. An achievable time line for completion of the individual goals leading to completion of the thesis should be detailed at this point.

It is expected that meetings are to be set up between the student and supervisor to discuss the progress of the research, and to ensure continued guidance and maintenance of academic rigour.  It is anticipated that there will be continued demonstration of research work submitted regularly. The intensity of these meetings may increase near the end of the thesis period.


Engineers Australia

The Australian Engineering Stage 1 Competency Standards for the Professional Engineer, approved as of 2013. This table is referenced in the mapping of graduate attributes to learning outcomes and via the learning outcomes to student assessment.

Stage 1 Competencies and Elements Competency
1. Knowledge and Skill Base
1.1 Comprehensive, theory based understanding of the underpinning natural and physical sciences and the engineering fundamentals applicable to the engineering discipline.
1.2 Conceptual understanding of the mathematics, numerical analysis, statistics, and computer and information sciences which underpin the engineering discipline.
1.3 In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline.
1.4 Discernment of knowledge development and research directions within the engineering discipline.
1.5 Knowledge of engineering design practice and contextual factors impacting the engineering discipline.
1.6 Understanding of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of sustainable engineering practice in the specific discipline.
2. Engineering Application Ability
2.1 Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering problem solving.
2.2 Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources.
2.3 Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes.
2.4 Application of systematic approaches to the conduct and management of engineering projects.
3. Professional and Personal Attributes
3.1 Ethical conduct and professional accountability.
3.2 Effective oral and written communication in professional and lay domains.
3.3 Creative, innovative and pro-active demeanor.
3.4 Professional use and management of information.
3.5 Orderly management of self and professional conduct.
3.6 Effective team membership and team leadership.

Software/Hardware Used


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