DWU Research Centre (DWURC)

Name: The Centre is called the DWU Research Centre (DWURC)

Focus: Research Management, Commercialization of projects and Securing of grants

• Promote development research (science & technology & issues of patency and creation of new knowledge through development and commercialized research)
• Engage International research partners in exchange programs
• Network with external research institutions and organisations
• Secure External Grants
• Engage in Collaborative and large-scale grant research
• Promote publications in referred journals leading to influence in policy and practice, both internationally and nationally


Key Performance Indicators:

The DWU Research Plan outlines the following four KPIs:

Key Indicators Outputs
  • • Papers accepted for publication in international refereed journals
  • • Papers accepted for publication in national refereed journals
  • • Book chapters
  • • Edited or sole books
Higher Degrees by Research (HDR)
  • • Number of Completion rates
External Competitive Research Grants
  • • Number of grants and total income
Commercial and public sector research grants
  • • Number of grants and total income


DWU Research Centre – Terms of Reference, Aims and Objectives

1. The DWU Research Centre (‘the Research Centre’) is established as an entity within Divine Word University (‘the University’).

2. The aims of the Research Centre are to undertake research activities in any areas or disciplines relevant to the broad interests of the University and in line with the DWU Research Plan.

3. The term ‘research activities’ shall be not be limited to, but may taken to include: conducting research with the resources of the centre; assisting other members of the University with research and research supervision; providing advice to the University on research policy, standards and performance; seeking external funding for research; assisting staff and students with applications for research grants and fellowship schemes; liaison with national and international research bodies and institutions, especially those the University has formal research linkages with; hosting self-funded researchers from other institutions; and the dissemination of research findings.

4. The University may appoint research or administrative staff to positions within the Research Centre to further its research activities and the Research Centre may recommend to the Director, University Human Resource Management such appointments.

5. The University may allocate funds to the Research Centre to further its aims and objectives.

6. The Research Centre may seek external funding sources, manage funds so obtained, and use such funds for research activities.

7. The Research Centre may affiliate external, self-funded pre-doctoral researchers as Research Visitors; and, subject to the approval of the Vice President for Research and Postgraduate Studies, may affiliate external, self-funded postdoctoral researchers as Visiting Fellows.

8. An Annual Report of the activities of the Research Centre, including a financial statement, shall be submitted to the Research and Higher Degrees Board before 01 February of the following year.

Higher Degrees


The main purpose of graduate study at DWU is to encourage independence and creativity of thought in the quest for knowledge.

The Doctor of Philosophy Degree (PhD) will be awarded in recognition of a student’s erudition in a broad field of learning and for notable accomplishment in that field through innovative and substantial contribution to knowledge.

The candidate’s research must reveal high critical ability and powers of imagination and synthesis, and may be in the form of new knowledge, or significant and creative/unique adaptation, application and interpretation of existing knowledge


The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program is completed by a research thesis on an approved topic under the guidance of a principal supervisor. For some students, relevant units taught at the University may be prescribed after consideration of a candidate's background studies and research experience.

Doctorate programs signify that the holder has completed a program of postgraduate studies by research under proper academic supervision, has submitted a thesis that the examiners have declared to be a significant contribution to knowledge, the candidate demonstrates the capacity to carry out independent research, and has presented the thesis in a scholarly fashion.

A candidate for the doctoral degree must be an enrolled student at the university and is required to carry out a prescribed program of research for a specified period under the direct supervision of a team of academic staff and/or an approved external supervisor/mentor. The candidate, together with the team, is responsible for developing the research program to be followed. Reports are submitted twice a year, midyear and end of the year, on the project.

The PhD requires a candidate to submit a thesis, the length of which may vary across disciplines but which would not normallyexceed 100,000 words.

Mode of Study

The PhD can be undertaken both full time and part time at the Madang Campus.

A part time student must be physically present on the campus two weeks per semester during the first year of study. After the 2nd semester for full time students and after the 3rd semester for part time students, the candidate for a PhD can negotiate physical attendance with his/her supervisor.


The Doctor of Philosophy Degree should not take more then six years part time and not more then four years full time to complete.


Divine Word University offers excellent modern residential, teaching and computer facilities in a beautiful, safe and peaceful environment.


Admission Requirements

Candidates are provisionally admitted into a PhD program and will usually have graduated with a Master’s degree from a university that requires the completion of a publicly available thesis or research project to an acceptable standard.

Candidature Milestones

Full time candidates are given 6 months and part time candidates 12 months to confirm their candidature, which requires successful completion of the following requirements:

  • A 6,000 word Research Proposal

  • A Letter from the University Research Ethics Committee confirming Ethical Clearance granted

  • Approval to present their Confirmation Seminar at an assigned date, time and venue, and advertised publicly by the Postgraduate Research Centre.

Candidates are required to submit the documentation to the Office of the Vice President, Research and Postgraduate Studies, who oversees the PhD program on behalf of the Research Higher Degrees Board.


                1. Doctor of Philosophy Application form
                2. Doctor of Philosophy program brochure


This new postgraduate program is designed to meet the needs of the DWU Strategic goal to advance research and that of the PNG government to promote national growth and development, in efforts to keep pace with the demands of the 21st century global competitiveness, driven by a knowledge economy. Participation in the knowledge economy requires research education, which is critical to generating a new body of knowledge and enhancing upon existing information. The Master of Research Methodology (MRM) will equip graduates with research knowledge, skills and scholarly aptitudes to become critically and ethically oriented researchers, leaders and managers in government, industry, development and/or professional, churches and community-based organisations in Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Pacific Region and beyond. Successful completion of the program will increase opportunities for candidates seeking to undertake doctoral or PhD studies once they learn to write good research proposals leading to possible successful grant and scholarship applications. The program will also enhance personal and professional performance, for those currently employed. For those seeking employment within public, private, nongovernment and development agencies with a strong evidence-based research focus, the program offers employment opportunities.

The program will prepare candidates to design their research proposal as the blue print for their research dissertation. Candidates will be equipped with appropriate knowledge, skills and dispositions to initiate and undertake research projects. The skills of this program cover the whole research cycle: from problem identification, research design, literature review and research question development, to data collection, data analysis and report writing

This program is a combination of coursework and a major research component. It is designed to include core research methods units culminating in the write up and submission of a research dissertation of 20,000 words.

Students are required to gain 100 credit points of which, submission and assessment of the research dissertation is mandatory, to be eligible for graduation.

Program Units

RM610 Research Theory and Methods for Applied Research

This unit offers candidates an introduction to the theory and methods of scholarly and scientific research. It is informed by the goals and priorities of the PNG National Research Agenda 2015 2025 and other national research policies. The unit explores key research theories and paradigms to learn which ones are most suitable in particular situations. It considers differences in methodological approaches and their influence on research outcomes. Students will Investigate examples of scientific and social research, including indigenous research, and study a range of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research tools and explore the context for their use.

RM611 Research Methods to advance the Sustainable Development Goals

All 193 member states of the United Nations, including PNG, are committed to meeting targets set by the Sustainable Development Goals. In contrast to the preceding Millennium Development Goals, which were not achieved, the PNG government has expressed an urgency to make sure PNG does meet the new goals and targets in health, education, water & sanitation, sustainable cities and so on by 2030. But what methods should be used to tell if PNG is on track, and will succeed in the end? In this unit, students will: become familiar with SDG concepts, and cross-cutting SDG themes such as gender equality in development; learn which PNG government departments are responsible for the implementation of which SDG programs; will acquire the skills to be able to measure progress with the SDGs; will gain an understanding of basic statistical concepts and will use Excel to aggregate data, present charts, and calculate SDG indicators.

RM606 Ethics in Research

This  unit introduces  students  to ethical  concepts and/or  ethical  theories that underpin applied ethical decision making in the areas of research that involve human participation. It also examines the historical and legal context that makes ethics relevant to research today and provides an overview of national and international ethical guidelines pertaining to ethical issues in research involving human participants. In particular, the unit focuses on ethical issues in the context of research involving indigenous people and communities of Papua New Guinea. The unit also prepares students for the requirement of a research proposal and the submission of the research proposal to an Institutional Review Board or Ethics Committee (ie. The University Research Ethi8cs Committee: UREC), as well as to acquaint intending research studentw with the ethics requirements for their research.

RM612 Methods in Research Design

Building on the knowledge gained in RM610, this unit will deepen candidates understanding of diverse aspects of research design guided by different perspectives: application of research, mode of inquiry or the purpose of the study.  Stages in developing own research design will be introduced and necessary knowledge and skills provided. The unit will introduce students to conceptualization and measurement in inductive and deductive mode of inquiry to equip them with skills necessary to construct conceptual and theoretical frameworks. Further the unit will provide an overview of qualitative and quantitative sampling techniques and data collection instruments.

RM613 Resources for Applied Research in Papua New Guinea

Where does a researcher look for existing baseline resources for research in Papua New Guinea? The unit will introduce students to the ‘foundation documents’ for multi-disciplinary research in PNG. These include the main archival resources in PNG institutions and libraries; PNG’s museum collections, cultural centres, and archaeological resources; the language resources of the Western Pacific area; information of individuals, including church registers, health clinic books, archived village books, and electoral rolls; resources for topographic mapping and satellite imagery; development data from ‘integrated rural developmentprojects; development data and reports produced by PNG’s many national research institutions and universities. By the end of the unit, students should know where to find background information for any imaginable research topic.

RM603 Crafting the Literature Review

This unit aims to assist students to master the skills in selecting relevant key research literature that will inform their research topics. It is also aimed to assist students to critique significant literature that will inform their research topics and make sense of the discussions presented in them. In addition, it aims to assist students to know where to search for quality research reports and how to access them. It further aims to assist students to use the information they have read and use them to informed their written discussions on them and be able to link the discussions to their research topics, and be able to present their own voice/perspective in the discussions.

RM607 Developing the Research Proposal

The purpose of this unit is to assist candidates to define, plan and develop a research proposal in their respective fields that meets the requirement of the University’s Research Ethics Committee. Thus, building on the knowledge gained in the various units offered in this program, the unit will offer deeper understanding of expectations and functions of the research proposal. With personalized support from the supervisor the candidates will be engaged in genuine enquiry to 1) identify and explore the proposed research topic, 2) link proposed research issue with knowledge in the field of inquiry, 3) identify suitable theoretical orientation, 4) establish appropriate methodological approach, 4) discuss anticipated ethical issues pertaining to the proposed study, and 5) develop all required instruments for the proposed research study.

RM605 Interpreting and analyzing data

This unit provides the students with knowledge and skills necessary to complete their research project initiated in the previous semester. With the data collected during the fieldwork, the emphasis is given to organizing, coding and displaying research data for analysis and interpretation. The students become familiar with different techniques for the qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods (triangulation) of data presentation and analysis.

In order to manage the collected research data and analyze the data into tangible results the students are introduced to using data management software applications for quantitative data (SPSS) and qualitative data (QDA Minor Lite).

RM608 The Research Dissertation (20 points)

The purpose of this unit is to assist students in completion of their research project.  In the course of the unit students work closely with their supervisor so that the progress of the research process, data analysis and interpretation are closely mentored and monitored. Further, the unit familiarizes students with various strategies of presenting qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods studies. The conclusion of this unit is the production and examination of dissertation of a maximum of 20,000 words. Students will also be guided how to convert their thesis into peer-reviewed journal article. 


Students are required to attend in Madang during each semester. Directed and practical assignments relating to workplace applications are completed in the student’s own time. The program is conducted through a fulltime conventional mode using well-established principles of adult learning applied to our Papua New Guinea context, and employs collaborative classroom teaching and learning approach.


Divine Word University offers excellent contemporary residential, teaching, and computer facilities in a beautiful, safe and peaceful environment.

Admission Requirements

Candidates who hold a bachelor honours and/or postgraduate coursework degrees in Arts, Humanities; Business Studies; Community Development; Education, Developmental Studies; International Relations Public Health; Public Administration; Social Sciences, or a related field with at least two years work experience can enrol in the program.


K100 non-refundable application fee

K5000 per semester for tuition, internet access when on campus and supervisory services.

Travel, accommodation and meals are additional. Current fee for on-campus accommodation and meals is K1470 per semester (K105 per day). Day students can have morning tea and lunch on campus for a fee of K280.00 per semester.

Account details for fee payments

Bank:                    BSP Madang
Branch No.           960
Account No.        1000 433 578
Account name:    TDEC/DWU

           1.MRM Program Application form
           2.Notes on MRM application
           3.MRM Program Brochure


Centre for Social Research

The Centre for Social Research (CSR) is a new unit that is initially being housed under the Centre for Postgraduate Studies and Research. Once fully established, CSR will be an independent self-funding centre to promote excellence in social research. The central role of CSR is to advance innovative research across the disciplines of social sciences, humanities and education. It will be guided by these specific DWU core values of academic excellence, service and community engagement, diversity, and social responsibility.

Under the leadership of the Director, CSR will focus its research initiatives in addressing and helping citizens to understand the political, social, economic, educational, cultural, environmental, and community development challenges in Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, the Pacific and the region. It will also provide leadership in educational research, governance and leadership, ethics and values-based leadership and management in the public and private sectors, and promote research in cross cultural and gender leadership, conflict resolution and leading and managing change in development contexts.

Research Outcomes

Summary Research Activities by Faculties/ Division

Summary Research Activities by Faculties/Division

Faculty/Division Publications Articles
in Press
in Progress
Postgraduate Research Centre 4 1 8 1 14
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences 2 0 5 3 10
Faculty of Business and Informatics 9 18 8 10 45
Faculty of Education 2 1 1 6 10
Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences 12 10 34 3 59
Total 29 30 56 23 138


Summary of Publication Sources

Faculty/Division Book Chapter
in Book
PNG Journal
Postgraduate Research Centre 1 2 1 0 0 0 4
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences 0 0 2 0 1 0 3
Faculty of Business and Informatics 0 0 7 0 2 0 9
Faculty of Education 0 0 1 0 1 0 2
Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences 0 0 9 5 13 16 43
Total 0 0 19 5 17 16 61



Since the 2011 Academic Audit by AUQA, Divine Word University has advanced its research profile in significant ways. The Office of Vice President, Research and Postgraduate Studies (VPRPS) was created in late 2011 followed by the subsequent appointment of the VPRPS in early 2012. The VPRPS is responsible for ensuring quality leadership and management of two core academic activities; Research and Postgraduate Studies, the latter, is inclusive of master and doctoral programs. Whereas all formal research activities are aligned to the DWU Research Plan 2011-2016, our postgraduate studies operate within the Regulations that Guide Research Higher Degree Programs.

The Research Plan, derived from the DWU Strategic Plan 2006–2016, is intended to drive the triple mission of DWU; the acquisition of knowledge (the mission of research), the transmission of knowledge (the mission of teaching), and the application of knowledge (the mission of community engagement). Faculties have begun and will continue to be active participants in the plan as they measure their performances against the key research performance indicators.

Regarding postgraduate studies, except for the Doctor of Philosophy Program, which is offered both full and part time, all other postgraduate masters programs are offered through flexible learning. As the university expands to meet the demands of higher education in PNG, some of these postgraduate masters programs will be offered either on full time basis, online, or through blended learning. For now, the demand to study part-time whilst remaining connected to the workforce, workplace environment, and the social support and security of family, determines the nature of our postgraduate masters programs at DWU. This can pose various challenges, including, that of sustaining quality postgraduate programs in a changing higher education landscape in PNG.

Dr Maretta Kula-Semos (PhD)