Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


EDCP600 Interpreting Literature and Data or EDRS602 Evidence in Contemporary Education or EDRS603 Methods of Educational Research  or EDRS604 Overview of Educational Research


EDRS600 Capstone Research Project, EDRS610 Capstone Applied Project

Unit rationale, description and aim

At a time of rapid ongoing change as a result of globalisation, internationalisation and the continuing development of information communication technologies, the ability of educators and allied professionals to read, interpret and apply findings from their analyses of research literature and data is of critical importance. The imperative to use evidence to inform practice has assumed a high priority in contemporary education as well as most professional contexts. In this final capstone unit in the Master of Education, Master of Contemporary Literacies, Master of Educational Leadership, Master of Leadership, and Master of Religious Education, students will integrate and apply theories and specialised knowledge gained in previous units by: proposing a scholarly endeavour (e.g., a comparative analysis, a review of literature, or a data mining project); implementing the endeavour by analysing and interpreting a specific set of information (e.g., policies, research studies or data); recommending strategies for improving professional practice (e.g., learning experiences or institutional effectiveness); and communicating findings effectively. Therefore, the aim of this unit is to equip students with the skills to formulate specific and coherent evidence-based recommendations based on their review of the research literature, student achievement data, or data from educational institutions, organisations and other relevant sources.

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 understanding of key research principles and methodological approaches applicable to educational research;(GA3, GA5; APST 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4)

LO2 - Demonstrated skills in the evaluation of literature to conceptualise a research topic (GA4; APST 6.1, 6.2, 6.3)

LO3 - Plan, manage and execute a scholarly project (GA5, GA8; APST 6.2, 6.3, 7.1)

LO4 - Analyse and interpret educational data to make expert judgements about teaching and learning practices and environments (GA3, GA5, GA8; APST 3.6, 5.4, 6.2, 6.4) results for educational theory and practice (GA5, GA8, GA9; APST 6.2, 6.3, 7.1).

LO5 - Communicate complex ideas and concept when discussing major findings and the implications of these results for educational theory and practice (GA5, GA8, GA9; APST 6.2, 6.3, 7.1).

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4-think critically and reflectively

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession

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

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


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

3.6    Evaluate and improve teaching programs (Lead)

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)

6.4    Apply professional learning and improve student learning (Lead)

7.1    Meet professional ethics and responsibilities (Lead)


Topics will include:

  • Role of research in informing professional practice
  • Review of major qualitative, quantitative and mixed approaches to research in education
  • The design and implementation of a scholarly endeavour
  • Management and evaluation of a scholarly endeavour
  • Various topics according to the nature of the endeavour being undertaken.

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 their capstone. Students will attend online tutorials to participate in the construction and synthesis of this knowledge. Students will communicate online individually or in allocated groups with the unit teaching team to guide them as they plan and execute their scholarly projects or endeavours.

Students will participate actively in discussion forums as initiators and responders as mediated through the LEO site to facilitate their learning.

This is a 20-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 300 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.

The assessment tasks and their weighting for this unit are mapped to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes and the related academic and professional standards. In order to pass this unit, students are required to successfully complete all assessment tasks regardless of their mode of enrolment. Further, students completing their course with a named specialisation MUST focus their project on a topic that is directly related to their specialisation.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Critical review of a research article (1000 words).

Critique a research article that reports on an educational problem, contentious topic or new innovation relevant to your professional practice. Critique the article focussing on how (i) the authors have identified the problem, (ii) reviewed the literature to frame the study (iii) described and justified the methodological approach and assumptions (iv) reported their findings, and (v) interpreted their findings relevant to the problem noting any limitations.


LO1, LO2

GA3, GA4, GA5,

Assessment Task 2: Project Proposal* (see note below) – 2000 words

Develop a detailed proposal for a scholarly capstone project/endeavour in your discipline or professional practice. The proposal should include an introduction, aims, an initial review of relevant literature with a focus on seminal works or articles with significant impact, a research plan and a list proposed reference and resources that are accumulated based on a systematic library search of Australian and International databases.


LO1, LO2, LO3 , LO5

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Assessment Task 3* Capstone Project Report (5000 words) * see note below

Develop an extended report that documents the implementation of the scholarly endeavour based on an edited version of the proposed plan (assessed Assessment Task 2). For the project/endeavour you may choose one of the following options after the approval of the unit LIC:

a. A meta-analytical or qualitative review of the literature;

b. Secondary analysis of a reliable data set related to learning and teaching in school or system settings; or

c.  A small-scale action research study to implemented in participant’s classroom or school setting that informs their professional practice and enriches their student learning.

The capstone project report should include: A research focus, clearly justified; related to learning and teaching issues or needs and well-contextualised within relevant literature; specified and justified approach or methods for gathering information as applicable to the chosen option; research procedures; presentation of findings; and discussion and conclusion sections.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

*NOTE: Students completing a named specialisation MUST focus their project on a topic that is directly related to their specialisation.

Representative texts and references

Abbott, A. L., & Wren, D. G. (2016). Using performance task data to improve instruction. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 89(1), 38-45. doi:10.1080/00098 655.2016.1138924

Bernhardt, V. L. (2013). Data analysis for continuous school improvement (3rd ed.). London: Routledge.

Creswell, J. & Guetterman, T. (2019). Educational Research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (6th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.

Mills, G. E. (2014). Action Research: A Guide for the Teacher Research. (5th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Rankin, J. G. (2016). How to make data work. London: Routledge.

Rankin, J. G. (2016). Standards for reporting data to educators. London: Routledge.

Rockoff, J. (2004). The impact of individual teachers on student achievement: Evidence from panel data. The American Economic Review, 94(2), 247-252.

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

Thomas, G. (2017). How to do your research project: A guide for students in education and applied social sciences (3rd ed.). London: SAGE Publications.

Wilson, E. (2017). School-based research: A guide for education students (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

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