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RSD Facets and Levels of Student Autonomy

The Research Skills Development (RSD) Framework draws together six facets of research with five levels of student autonomy in the inquiry process.


The six facets of research clarify the research process. These facets have been identified from the literature and modified according to Bloom’s taxonomy and academics’ experiences of using the framework http://www.adelaide.edu.au/rsd/. The facets of research are associated with affective domain.

Facet A: Embark & Clarify
Respond to or initiate research and clarify or determine what knowledge is required, heeding ethical, cultural, social and team (ECST) considerations .

Facet B: Find & Generate
Find and generate needed information/data using appropriate methodology.

Facet C: Evaluate & Reflect
Determine and critique the degree of credibility of selected sources, information and of data generated. Metacognitively reflect on the research processes used.

Facet D: Organise & Manage
Organise information and data to reveal patterns and themes, and manage teams and research processes.

Facet E: Analyse & Synthesise
Analyse information/data critically and synthesise new knowledge to produce coherent individual/ team understandings.

Facet F: Communicate & Apply
Write, present and perform the processes, understandings and applications of the research, and respond to feedback, accounting for ethical, cultural, social and team (ECST) issues.


Students engage in research at different levels of autonomy. Inquiries can be classified as ‘closed’ (lecturer specified) or ‘open’ (student specified) in relation to: the question, hypothesis or aim of the task; the procedure followed or equipment used; and the answer, resolution or need for further inquiry which is arrived at (Hackling and Fairbrother, 1996).

The Research Skill Development Framework has five levels of student autonomy for every facet. Level 1 corresponds to a low degree of autonomy, describing students working at a level of closed inquiry and requiring structure and guidance. Level V corresponds to a high degree of autonomy describing students functioning at the level of open inquiry http://www.adelaide.edu.au/rsd/.