Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit is designed to introduce early career teachers (ECTs) to research paradigms, methodologies and methods. It will use critical enquiry for evidence-based practice as a paradigm for analysing and evaluating the role of research in the profession of teaching. This unit will equip early career teacher with the skills necessary to apply evidence-based practice as a means of informing teaching and learning. The unit focuses on the professional knowledge of teachers, relating to both students (APST 1) and content (APST 2), and how evidence-based practice facilitates the alignment of curriculum, learning, teaching, and assessment to enhance schools students' learning outcomes and experiences. The unit will consider ways to collect and use a broad range of data, including qualitative and quantitative, to evidence teacher standards and student learning. It will prepare early career teachers for the construction and implementation of an evidence-based research project in the Professional Practice and Internship specialisation units (EDPP600 and EDPP601) in the second year of this Master of Teaching (Secondary) (Professional Practice) and Master of Teaching (Secondary) (Internship).

The unit aims to provide early career teachers with knowledge about how to collect and interpret evidence from multiple sources, in order to undertake research-informed practice which aligns curriculum, teaching and assessment across discipline areas.

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 - critically analyse the processes, theories, problems and necessary skills related to critical enquiry in respect to evidence-based practice (GA4, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9; APST 1.2, 3.6)

LO2 - demonstrate a repertoire of skills for the identification, collection, collation, analysis and reporting of evidence of teaching performance and student learning (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9; APST 3.6, 5.1, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5)

LO3 - apply skills in identifying, collecting, critically analysing, and synthesising educational research literature as a source of professional learning (GA4, GA8; APST 1.2, 6.2, 6.4, 7.4)

LO4 - critique a range of potential intervention strategies that responds to identified student need/s in light of the literature and the available student achievement evidence to inform future learning and teaching (GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9; APST 1.5, 2.3, 2.5)

LO5 - demonstrate in-depth understanding of and apply principles and practices of ethical conduct in human research (GA3, GA7, GA8, GA9; APST 7.1)

LO6 - communicate in writing in a proficient, professional and scholarly manner (GA9).

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 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

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, pre-service teachers should be able to:

1.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.

1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 

2.3 Use curriculum, assessment and reporting knowledge to design learning sequences and lesson plans.

2.5 Know and understand literacy and numeracy teaching strategies and their application in teaching areas.

3.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge of strategies that can be used to evaluate teaching programs to improve student learning.

5.1 Demonstrate understanding of assessment strategies, including informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative approaches to assess student learning.

5.3  Demonstrate understanding of assessment moderation and its application to support consistent and comparable judgements of student learning

5.4 Demonstrate the capacity to interpret student assessment data to evaluate student learning and modify teaching practice.

5.5 Demonstrate understanding of a range of strategies for reporting to students and parents/carers and the purpose of keeping accurate and reliable records of student achievement.

6.2 Understand the relevant and appropriate sources of professional learning for teachers.

6.4 Demonstrate an understanding of the rationale for continued professional learning and the implications for improved student learnings. 

7.1 Understand and apply the key principles described in codes of ethics and conduct for the teaching profession.

7.4 Understand the role of external professionals and community representatives in broadening teachers’ professional knowledge and practice.


Topics will include: 

  • The nature of educational research and major approaches and designs applicable to applied educational research within professional contexts
  • Principles and tools for identifying and critically reflecting upon high quality research (literature reviewing, databases, bibliographic tools, research quality)
  • Practice-based enquiry, including processes and approaches to defining and justifying a research problem, researchable questions and creating a conceptual framework derived from the literature
  • Data and evidence for teaching and learning, including processes and approaches to collecting, organising, analysing and reflecting on quantitative and qualitative data 
  • Critical reflective practice, covering professional practice and student learning 
  • Conventions of professional academic writing and publishing, including research proposals and reports
  • Principles of the ethical conduct of research and enquiry, including data collection and analysis techniques commonly used in educational research

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Engagement for learning is the key driver in the delivery of this curriculum which is offered in online mode. The unit’s purpose is to introduce research paradigms, methodologies, and methods to early career teachers (ECTs) completing a qualification at a Master level (AQF 9). The content is modularised to provide for the needs of ECTs in the context of professional practice. Each module will provide core content, relevant readings, and online learning activities to consolidate learning.

As such, the teaching and learning strategies are focused on ensuring that ECTs have a broad knowledge of the processes and practices of research within the context of practice-based enquiry in the profession of teaching. The unit uses a range of teaching and learning strategies that supports this praxis-oriented engagement with the core content of this unit. These include interactive learning activities and experiences; student-led discussions and group work; and directed reading and writing learning activities.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement against the course learning outcomes by demonstrating academic and professional standards. The assessment in this unit focuses on developing knowledge and skills for the application of research to teaching and learning. The two tasks are sequenced to allow feedback and progressive development in understanding, reading, and using educational research (Task 1); and developing skills in identifying, organising and analysing data and evidence for use in the conduct of research (Task 2). The two tasks are equally weighted to reflect the significance of both tasks, reading and conducting research, to the professional practice of teachers. Students should also note that the capacity to write to the word limit is considered important to both tasks. Students are expected to keep within the stated word count. Markers will stop reading when the Page 7 Version: 3.1 06072020 word limit has been reached and any text beyond that will not contribute to judgments made about the criteria. A range of assessment procedures is used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes and professional standards and criteria consistent with University assessment requirements.

In order to pass this unit, you are required to successfully complete both tasks. Pre-service teachers must also complete CTITE2 which requires the annotation of Task 2. The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1:

Literature Review

Critical analysis of at least four empirical research articles related to a selected topic or question with a synthesis of findings for application to professional practice


LO1, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9

Assessment Task 2

Analysis of Learner Achievement and Needs

Collection and critical reflective analysis of data and evidence of learning needs of a selected cohort of students, including identification of teaching strategies to be included in a practice-based enquiry


LO1, LO2, LO4, LO5, LO6

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Recommended references

Australian Government (2007). Australian code for the responsible conduct of research.

Australian Government (2007). National statement on ethical conduct in human research.

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

Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2018). Research methods in education (8th ed.). New York: Routledge. 

Creswell J. W. (2015). Educational research: Planning conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (5th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R., & Nixon R. (2014). The Action Research Planner: Doing Critical Participatory Action Research. Singapore: SpringerMertens, D. M. (2015). Research and evaluation in education and psychology (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Seiber, J., & Tolich, M. (2013). Planning ethically responsible research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd.

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

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

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