Credit points


Campus offering

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EDRS602 Evidence in Contemporary Education, EDRS603 Methods of Educational Research, EDRS604 Overview of Educational Research

Unit rationale, description and aim

At a time of rapid ongoing change as a result of globalisation, internationalisation and the development of information communication technologies, the ability of educators and allied professionals to read and interpret research literature and data is of critical importance. Within the education sector and beyond, professionals are increasingly expected to use reliable evidence to inform their practice. In this first unit of the capstone experience in the Master of Education, Master of Contemporary Literacies, Master of Educational Leadership, Master of Leadership, and Master of Religious Education, students will develop advanced knowledge and understanding of how to: identify, review and interpret relevant research literature; access and evaluate available data in an ethical manner; utilise findings to inform professional practice (e.g., in curriculum design, policy development, implementing teaching practices, leading learning, faith formation, and leadership); and develop an initial proposal for a scholarly endeavour. Therefore, the aim of this unit is to enable graduates to develop an advanced understanding of how to apply research evidence including findings from various datasets appropriately and productively in their contextual situation to improve the learning and development of children and young people.

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 - Identify, analyse and synthesise quality educational research literature (GA3, GA4, GA8, GA10; APST 6.1, 6.2, 6.3)

LO2 - Locate and interrogate information delivery systems and educational databases (GA4, GA8; APST 5.4)

LO3 - compose extended texts using sophisticated and scholarly academic communication forms including data representation and English language proficiency (GA9, GA10; APST 6.3)

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 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards:

5.4       interpret student data (Lead)

6.1       identify and plan professional learning needs (Lead)

6.2       engage in professional learning and improve practice (Lead)

6.3       engage with colleagues and improve practice (Lead)


Topics will include: 

  • Academic literacies (literature reviewing, literature databases, academic writing and style conventions)
  • Data sets and student information databases (NAPLAN, PISA, PERLS, school information systems and other relevant sets of data) 
  • Approaches to the collection of data
  • Basic techniques, tools, computer programs and strategies designed to assist the analysis and interpretation of data related to professional endeavors in educational settings and/or professional contexts.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is offered in offered in multimode and uses an active learning approach to support students in the development of knowledge and skills related to interpreting literature and data. Students have the opportunity to attend synchronous online webinars to participate in the construction and synthesis of this knowledge. Such an approach allows flexibility for students are largely engaged in full-time work. 

Where required by cohorts, part or all of the unit could be delivered face-to-face with students engaging in lectures and workshops as well as students accessing digital resources and activities available through the LEO site. 

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video, workshops, and assignments etc.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures are used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes and professional standards and criteria consistent with University assessment requirements.

In order to successfully complete this unit, students need to complete and submit a hurdle task and two graded assessment tasks. The assessment strategy used allows students to demonstrate their knowledge related to literature and data analysis in a theoretical and practical manner.

The assessment tasks are sequenced to support the student in developing expertise in utilising databases to conduct a preliminary search of the research literature, in constructing an annotated bibliography of the literature relevant to a specific issue under investigation, and finally, in developing an interpretation of a scenario or case in which a given set of data must be analysed. This sequence of tasks provides students with the necessary foundation for the final capstone unit.

In order to pass this unit, students are required to successfully complete all assessment tasks (including the hurdle task) regardless of their mode of enrolment.

Hurdle Task 

This unit includes a hurdle task. This is a task or activity that is marked on a pass/fail basis and is required to pass the unit but does not contribute to the final grade. The hurdle task will provide an opportunity to explore what data you have access to and how that data might be used to address some problem or issue that you or your organisation/school is confronting.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Hurdle Task


Identify an educational issue of concern as well as an existing set of data available in your context that relates to the issue.




Assessment Task 1

Review of the Literature

Develop an extended critical analysis and synthesis of published research that addresses the identified issue of concern


LO1, LO3

GA4 GA8 GA9 GA10

Assessment Task 2


Develop an initial proposal for a scholarly endeavour that draws upon findings from the review of literature as well as a preliminary analysis of an existing data set.


LO2, LO3

GA4 GA8 GA9 GA10

Representative texts and references

Beuving, J., & de Vries, G. (2015). Doing qualitative research: The craft of naturalistic inquiry. Amsterdam The Netherlands: Amsterdam University Press.

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

Datnow, A., & Park, V. (2014). Data-driven leadership. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. [eBook]

Field, A. (2018). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS Statistics (5th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Fink, A. (2013). Conducting research literature reviews: From the internet to paper (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Johnson, A. P. (2012). A short guide to academic writing (5th Ed.). Lantham, NY: University Press of America

Renshaw, P., Baroutsis, A., van Kraayenoord, C., Goos, M., & Dole, S. (2013). Teachers using classroom data well: Identifying key features of effective practices. Final report. Brisbane, QLD: University of Queensland. Retrieved from

Rosenfeld, R. (2013). Statistics for K-8 educators. New York: Routledge.

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