Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


HLSC640 Interpreting Health Research ; AND EITHER (HLSC646 Qualitative Research Methods OR HLSC647 Quantitative Research Methods OR HLSC642 Biostatistics for Health Sciences ) AND a minimum GPA of 6.0 across completed units plus approval from the relevant Head of School or delegate

Teaching organisation

300 hours of focussed learning

Unit rationale, description and aim

The unit involves the completion of a research project leading to the preparation of an academic Dissertation normally be up to 15,000 and no more than 18,000 words in length. This unit is required by students to ensure the fulfilment of the requirements of their Master course, that is, the Australian Qualifications Framework's requirement for independent project work in the Master by coursework.

This unit supports students in applying a range of theoretically-based advanced knowledge and skills that foster culturally safe, high quality effective health care through the supervised conduct of a defensible individual research project in order to provide insight into an identified research question. In so doing, students will be supported to evaluate the role of evidence-based ethical practice in creating an effective solution to a unique health-related administrative, leadership, educational or clinical challenge. The resultant enquiry will be reported in the form of a Dissertation to be submitted for independent examination.

The aim of this unit is to provide students with the opportunity to bring their research to a conclusion and transition to life-long learning as a self-reliant and critically reflective professional.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Demonstrate knowledge and skills in research processes by designing and conducting a substantial research project (GA4)

LO2 - Demonstrate conceptual understanding of the relevant literature, hypothesis or research question and research method as applied to a research project (GA4, GA8)

LO3 - Conduct the research in an ethical and methodological way (GA3)

LO4 - Critically report results and draw valid conclusions (GA4, GA8)

LO5 - Demonstrate an ordered, critical and reasoned exposition of the knowledge gained through the research project (GA4, GA9)

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


The specific content will focus on the topic selected for investigation. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Modes of delivery in this unit include online, email, telephone and/or face to face communication between the student and the supervisor. Students will conduct an individual research project supervised by an academic appointed by the Head of School and / or nominee. A variety of teaching and learning approaches will be used according to the needs of the research project and the student such as: workshops, small group tutorials and seminars. Students will have at least fortnightly contact with their supervisor.

The student will be supported in meeting the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit and the broader course learning outcomes. The student is respected as an independent learner and will take responsibility for their own learning.

Students exiting university need significant life-long learning skills to deliver sound, ongoing, evidence-based practice as a member of the health professional workforce. To embed life-long learning skills, students must demonstrate increasing reflective capacity to identify what is being done well and what requires additional work in progressing toward required learning outcomes. Located in the final year of the Master by coursework course, this unit provides students with the opportunity to bring their research study to a conclusion and transition to their professional role as a self-reliant and critically reflective individual. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements.

Achievement of the unit objectives will be determined through assessment one and two, the presentation for internal review of the six chapters of the Research Dissertation. Following review and comment by the supervisor and Lecturer-in-Charge of the unit, the six chapters are collated to make the Research Dissertation. Once completed, the Research Dissertation is submitted for internal and external examination.

These assessments are required to build student knowledge and skills in research which, by the conclusion of their course, will enable them to graduate the Master course as a self-reliant and critically reflective professional.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Introductory chapter, background, methods


Enables students to demonstrate competence in research design, research activity and academic writing.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA8

Results, discussion/conclusion


Enables students to demonstrate competence in research design, research activity and academic writing.


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA3, GA4, GA8, GA9

Aggregated Document – Research Dissertation Part A and B


Enables students to demonstrate competence in research by bringing the research project to a conclusion and preparing a Dissertation for examination.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA3, GA4, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Bettany-Saltikov, J. (2012). How to do a systematic literature review in nursing: A step-by-step guide. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press, McGraw-Hill.

Booth, A., Papaioannou, D., & Sutton, A. (2016). Systematic approaches to a successful literature review (2nd ed.). London: Sage

Bush, H.M. (2012). Biostatistics: An applied introduction for the public health practitioner. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning.

Hoffmann, T., Bennet, S., & Del Mar, C. (2013). Evidence-based practice across the health professions (2nd ed.). London: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Holly, C., Walmond, S. W., & Saimbert, M. K. (2011). Comprehensive systematic review for advanced nursing practice. New York: Springer.

Liamputtong. P. (Ed.). (2013). Research methods in health: Foundations for evidence-based practice (2nd ed.). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2017). Essentials of nursing research: Appraising evidence for nursing practice (10th ed.). Philadelphia, Pa.: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

 Torraco, R. J. (2005). Writing integrative literature reviews: Guidelines and examples. Human Resource Development Review, 4(3), 356 – 367.

Tashakkori, A., & Teddlie, C. (2010). Sage handbook of mixed methods in social and behavioural research (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

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