Vacation Research Scholarships

Are you an undergraduate student curious about research? Do you want to find out whether doing research in your field of study is your future career direction?


If you are in your second, third or honours year and have a strong academic record, a Vacation Research Scholarship may be for you. 

The aims of the Vacation Research Scholarship are to:

  • encourage outstanding UniSA students who may be interested in exploring or wish to pursue a higher degree by research
  • provide the platform to learn about the principles and practices of undertaking research

  • stimulate students’ interest in research and to interact with students and staff who are actively involved in research

  • Gauge the research aptitude of the successful applicants

These scholarships give you the opportunity to earn $300 a week undertaking research for up to 8 weeks with experienced researchers, usually between November and February, in a recognised research institute or centre within the University. The scholarships are offered annually, and applications close 13 September 2019.


How to find a placement

Think about areas in which you would like to research.

View the projects available for 2019/2020 and contact the person listed for the project(s) of your choice to find out more and to discuss your application.


How do I apply?


Refer to the Graduate Research vacation scholarship website for full details. 

Vacation Research Project Descriptions


School of Commerce

Project Title

Project Description

Corporate Social Responsibility Disclosures as a Reputation Risk Management tool post the Banking Royal Commission

Project summary: This project will explore the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Disclosures of the Big Four banks post the Banking Royal commission. The recent Banking Royal commission highlighted the deficiencies in banking practices and neglect of customer welfare, leading to a loss of reputational risk in the banking sector. The Big 4 banks (Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and ANZ) were one of the most criticised groups, given their dominance of the Australian banking sector. According to prior CSR literature, organisations often disclose their social and environmental performance in order to manage their reputational risk. This study will investigate how the Big 4 banks have sought to repair their reputational loss arising from the banking royal commission through disclosure of CSR information in their annual and sustainability reports. The reputation risk management perspective will provide the theoretical basis for this research, establishing the type of CSR information disclosed in response to the banking royal commission and assessing whether such disclosure seeks to manage reputational risk.

Contact person: Prof Sumit Lodhia / Ph: 8302 7379

Determinants of Job Searching Success Among Mature Aged Job Seekers

Project summary: Utilising a dataset of job seekers registered with a job agency in Adelaide, Australia, this project aims to identify factors contributing to job searching success of mature aged job seekers. Personal traits, human capital, situational constraints, economic need for work, individual qualities and target job will be explored as potential determinants. We wish to find whether there is a systematic difference in job searching success rate across different demographic cohorts and job categories, and how human capital and job hunting success.

Contact person: Dr Xin Deng / Ph: 8302 0743


School of Management

Project Title

Project Description

The role of personality and gender in negotiation effectiveness

Project summary: The goal of this project is to analyse data on negotiation dyads to better understand how personality and gender interact to influence negotiation outcomes. In this ongoing project, we have data on over 100 pairs of respondents who engaged in a negotiation role play. The person who is selected to work on this project will engage in the following tasks during the 8 weeks:

  • Prepare the negotiation data for analysis on statistical software like Nvivo and SPSS. The person will be provided background training on how to do this task.
  • Review and summarize the latest research on the topic of personality, gender and negotiation.
  • Conduct some preliminary qualitative themes analysis on the recording data of the actual negotiation role play. Qualitative theme analysis training will be given.
  • Develop individualised feedback reports for the participants in the negotiation role plays.

In the process of completing the above mentioned research tasks, the candidate will gain knowledge about research method and the process of problem formulation, analysis and reporting scientific findings. This could be a valuable experience for those who are interested in pursuing a higher degree by research program in the near future. If you are keen and want to know more, you can reach me via email. Please make sure you send your CV, academic transcripts and a short statement of purpose that covers why you would like to take on this opportunity and what your career goals look like.

Contact person: Dr Ruchi Sinha / Ph: 0428433413

Using technology to enhance experiences at tourism attractions

Project summary:  Conduct a literature review on the role of technology in augmenting and enriching tourism experiences. Identification of examples of tourism attractions in Adelaide (e.g. Zoo, museum, MOD) that use technology to enhance tourism experiences.

Contact person: Professor Marianna Sigala / Ph: 8302 0353


School of Marketing

Project Title

Project Description

At the crossroad of consumerism and culture: A case study of North Asia

Project summary: Consumerism refers to a social or economic order that encourages people to purchase things in ever increasing quantity. While consumerism undoubtedly drives economic growth, the downsides include wasteful consumption, harmful materialism and environment degradation. Is consumerism simply an outcome of a nation’s economic progress and prosperity? In North Asian countries like China, Japan and Korea, where Confucianism philosophy is engrained in the culture, what has culture got to do with consumerism? As Western popular culture makes inroad into these countries, to what extent does Western culture play a role in shaping North Asian consumerism? The purpose of the vacation scholarship is to shed more light on these questions through a systematic literature review.

Tasks to be undertaken by scholar: Literature Review

Contact person: A/Prof Richard Lee / Ph: 8302 7120

Buying high, buying low: loyalty to price tiers in consumer goods categories

Project summary: Consumers buy from a repertoire of brands – not only are they making selections based on quality, but they are making selections based on price. While over fifty years of consumer goods research has demonstrated the way in which brands are purchased, there has been limited research into consumers buying across multiple price-tiers. The current knowledge suggests that consumers do buy across price tiers within the same category – but are they just buying the same brand on and off price promotion? As a result, marketers cannot be entirely sure if a consumer of a low-price tier brand may also be a consumer of a premium-price tier. For example, does a consumer of low price Brand X also buy high price Brand Y? Or, are consumers of price promoted Brand X also buying regular price Brand X?

Tasks to be undertaken by scholar:

  • Conduct a literature review on consumer good buying behaviour (Sharp, 2010; Romaniuk and Sharp, 2015) with a focus on price-tier consumption (Romaniuk and Dawes, 2005)
  • Extract price-tier consumption data from TNS/Kantar's Powerview
  • Analyse the Dirichlet patterns including Double Jeopardy (McPhee, 1963) and Duplication of Purchase (Ehrenberg, 1988)

The project aims to:

  • Complete a draft of a literature overview
  • Extract relevant price-tier buying behaviour information
  • Analyse and report on the results for a minimum of one year and ten consumer goods categories

There is a potential for co-authorship on an ANZMAC (Australian & New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference) paper and a marketing journal publication (dependent on student contribution). This project will suit a student with interest in how brands compete on price and have a keen eye for detail and quantitative analysis.

Contact person: Dr Zachary Anesbury / Ph: 8302 0984

Examining new crowdfunded product survival rate

Project summary: Technology advancements have provided opportunities for firms to improve their efficiency and to innovate their products. However, new product introductions are risky undertakings, with one in three products fail in the market (Castellion & Markham, 2013; Crawford, 1977; 1987). To minimise these risks, firms often seek to explore alternative routes to develop and market their new products. Some of these routes are facilitated by the growth of the Internet and social media, allowing firms to involve potential end consumers in the product design, through a ‘co-creation’ process. The aim of this strategy is to directly capture a consumer’s point of view in the product development stage through their active participation, and to collect potential innovative ideas for future offerings. This involvement may also include a co-financing arrangement for new product launches known as ‘crowdfunding’.  Would products that are co-developed with the consumers and co-financed by the consumers survive longer in the market?

The research aims to address this gap by analysing projects launched from two biggest crowdfunding platforms: Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Data are available of all projects from 2016-2018 launched in these two platforms.

Tasks to be undertaken by scholar: Data collection and analysis, including descriptive analysis. The student is expected to
examine successful projects, and record how the products performed one to two years after the launch. Although the literature review has been done, the student is expected to acquaint him/herself to the relevant journal papers and

Contact person: Dr Arry Tanusondjaja / Ph: 8302 7374

How to Grow Wine and Alcohol Brands in China

Project summary: The Chinese market is essential for growth with its enormous population and rapidly increasing wealth. For Australia, the wine industry is a significant contributor to the economy and in 2018 exports of wine to China surpassed the 1-billion-dollar mark. Despite this, there is only a basic understanding of what happens in the China wine market and a lack of evidence regarding strategies to grow.

This vacation scholarship is an opportunity to join an ongoing research project being conducted to benefit the Australian wine industry. You will learn about sustainable brand growth and how to build the Institute's two key pillars, Mental & Physical Availability, in the applied context of China, wine and more broadly alcohol subcategories.

You will be supported in learning how to conduct a literature review, summarise secondary data and develop an understanding of media, the digital landscape and retailing in China. You will learn how to handle data that has already been collected using 'last purchase/consumption occasion' to test the Laws of Growth in this unique market, and report on managerially useful outcomes in the form of both academic and industry outlets.

Tasks to be undertaken by scholar:

  • Literature review of the theories of brand growth related to mental and physical availability and link these to actual data collected in China
  • Descriptive analysis of data collected from an ongoing research program in China
  • Interpretation of results
  • Develop a summary of the 'state of play' of the media, digital and retail landscape in China
  • Either or both (depending on time available and interest in a research degree):
    • Writing a conference paper for the Academy of Wine Business Research Conference or other conference
    • Writing a trade article for Wine & Viticulture Journal

Contact persons: Dr Justin Cohen / Ph: 8302 0074 and Prof Larry Lockshin / Ph: 8302 0261

Mind the Gap - Understanding why people say they'll give to charity but don't

Project summary: It is widely, yet blindly, believed that an individual's intention to perform a specific behaviour accurately predicts their future behaviour (e.g. Helen intends to buy a Cornetto on Friday. Friday arrives and Helen buys a Cornetto). However, this assumption is largely misleading. The evidence shows a considerable gap between what people say they will do and what they actually do. Despite this inaccuracy, marketers and researchers continuously capture consumer intentions, hoping and implicitly assuming that such measures reflect future actions.

This project investigates the intention-behaviour gap in a new context: charity giving. The project aims to benchmark the size of the 'gap' and to identify the underlying reasons why donation intentions in particular are expressed at higher levels than actual donation behaviour.

We collected data on people's intention to give time/money/goods to charity. Three months later, we followed up with the same respondents to examine the proportion of people who initially had very high intentions but did not end up giving, or very low intentions but ended up giving. More importantly, we are wanting to understand the reasons to explain why there is a gap between intention and behaviour. We also have data collected on people's intention and behaviour related to gift giving towards family/friends that can be used as a base of comparison.

The ideal long-term outcome of this research is to strengthen the non-profit sector so that it can meet unmet needs of society.

Tasks to be undertaken by scholar:

  • Literature search and critique on the topic of intentions around charity and gift giving. We already have some papers that the candidate can start with!
  • The student undertaking this project will be trained to conduct thematic analysis, whereby qualitative responses are coded and organised into key themes.
  • Some basic quantitative descriptive analysis will also be included.
  • Writing of literature review, method and results for a conference paper on the topic.

The project aims to provide an opportunity for a student to gain new research skills and co-author a conference paper.

Contact person: Dr Cathy Nguyen / Ph: 8302 0529