Describing the Extent of Student Autonomy in the RSD: revising the Level descriptions

The Research Skill Development framework articulates the extent of student autonomy in researching, critical thinking or problem solving. From 2013 version of the RSD, these levels have been:

Prescribed Research- Level 1
Bounded Research – Level 2
Scaffolded Research- Level 3
Self-actuated Research – Level 4
Open Research – Level 5

The first three descriptions seem to work well in many context, as does the final one. There are two aspects that can be clunky:

1) the term ‘self actuated’. Its not such a common term, so people can tangle on it- maybe students too.
2) use of the word ‘level’. Gets confused or conflated with Level of university study. Its all about ‘extent of autonomy’ but in English ‘Extent 1’. ‘Extent 2’ etc doesn’t work.

I would love your perspective on changes to these for a new version of the RSD for later in the year. Please vote for your preference.



Feel free to make further suggestions about improvements to the RSD in the ‘comment’ field for the blog

For those of you attending the Masterly RSD Symposium in Adelaide 23 September, we will look at the results from this poll. Hope to see you then.

kind regards


Author: johnwillison

Senior Leturer, Discipline of Higher Education, School of Education, University of Adelaide.

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