Year
2020
Units
9
Contact
1 x 2-day supervised study yearly
Course context
Reserved for participants of the ANZSOG Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) program.
Topic description
The Work Based Project (WBP) is the final core subject of the EMPA degree and is the program’s ‘capstone experience’ subject. WBP bridges the worlds of classroom and practice by having students undertake an applied research project - on a policy or management topic of current importance to public organisations - which is capable of making relevant findings. As a capstone subject, WBP requires students to draw together and apply the knowledge and research skills they have developed throughout the EMPA program, and to reflect on individual professional development as a result of both the EMPA program and the capstone experience. An important aspect of the WBP is working in cross-jurisdictional project teams. Students select a topic from options proposed by agencies across the ANZSOG network and then work together to define the research problem, design a research strategy, apply appropriate research methods to gather and analyse data and make relevant findings. Each team is assigned a project advisor and will have access to an agency sponsor. Teams are supported by an e-learning site developed specifically for WBP participants.

WBP requires students to bring a complex task to a successful conclusion within the constraints imposed by working in a team that spans jurisdictions, organisations, disciplines and working backgrounds. Students will work through the research process from question development through to findings and conclusions. This subject will enhance collaborative learning skills which require resilience, willingness to perform difficult tasks, ability to translate knowledge from one task to another, and the broader application of social skills.
Educational aims
The purpose of the Work-Based Project is to bring to a successful conclusion a complex task within the constraints imposed by working in a team that may span jurisdictions, disciplines and working backgrounds. It will enable participants to:
  • applyrelevant theory and concepts to an actual problem confronting government, and develop genuine and sustainable solutions to this problem
  • develop the skills to conduct a major piece of applied research from problem recognition and definition through thecompletion
  • utilise appropriate strategies to respond to the challenges of working with others to complete the task and achieve an effective outcome.
Expected learning outcomes
At the conclusion of the Work-based Project unit, students will have:
  • A greater appreciation of how concepts and practices introduced in the EMPA relate to one another and how they can be applied to policy and management situations in the workplace
  • experience with undertaking primary research and an understanding of the importance of conducting research in accordance with ethical principles
  • an in-depth understanding of a public policy or public management issue in Australia and/or New Zealand
  • an enhanced capacity to apply skills in evidence-based analysis and policy design
  • an enhanced capacity in written and verbal communication skills to concisely and persuasively convey the significance of research and research findings
  • a greater appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of working in team structures and how to deal with these effectively
  • an enhanced capacity to work across government and organisational boundaries
  • an enhanced self-management skills and increased self-awareness of the ways in which the EMPA and the research project experience have influenced professional development