Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Research in high performance sport settings is critical for providing athletes and practitioners with evidence-based strategies for improving performance and maintaining athlete well-being. This unit addresses evidence-based approaches to the formulation, design and conduct of projects in the high performance sport environment. Students will develop an ability to critically appraise the process and planning of projects designed to investigate questions in the applied setting, and gain awareness of alternative approaches used in sports science research. Students will develop an implementation plan for a project designed to investigate a problem of practical relevance to the student's industry, workplace or research goals. The aim of this unit is to develop skills in reviewing appropriate literature and the appraisal of available field, laboratory and/or software technologies for data acquisition and analysis, with a focus on developing scientific/report writing and presentation skills.

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 - Display appropriate standards of ethical and professional conduct when designing an industry-relevant research project (GA2, GA3) 

LO2 - Design an evidence-based project that involves acquiring, analysing, interpreting and reporting data (GA2, GA4, GA8, GA9, GA10) 

LO3 - Critically appraise literature and contemporary concepts relevant to high performance sport (GA4, GA5) 

LO4 - Communicate the design of an evidence-based project in written and/or oral forms to specialist and non-specialist audiences (e.g. coaching staff; support staff; stakeholders; academic peers) (GA9) 

LO5 - Defend and further develop work with respect to external critique (GA2, GA5, GA9)

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

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 

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


Topics will include: 

  • Evidence-based practice 
  • Overview of the research process 
  • Preparing and planning for a project 
  • Developing a project topic 
  • Developing a research question and hypothesis 
  • Introduction to research methods 
  • Experimental 
  • Quasi-experimental 
  • Case study 
  • Surveys 
  • Ethical considerations in the design and implementation of investigative projects 
  • Guidelines for Human Experimentation (National Health and Medical Research Council) 
  • Academic honesty 
  • Designing a project 
  • Rationale, aims and hypotheses 
  • Study design and feasibility 
  • Scientific writing, report writing and presentation 
  • Manuscript writing 
  • Industry report writing 
  • Oral presentation 
  • Poster presentation 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies include active learning, case-based learning, individual and group activities, cooperative learning, web-based learning, and reflective/critical thinking activities, delivered over 12 weeks. This range of strategies will provide students with appropriate access to required knowledge and understanding of unit content, and opportunities for development of research skills. These strategies will allow students to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit, as well as professional practice standards. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group activities.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to best enable students to achieve unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. A range of assessment strategies are used including: a case study to assess the application and implementation of knowledge, understanding and skills; an oral presentation to assess communication skills and the use of visual media; peer review to assess the ability to critically appraise work and provide insightful feedback and receive formative assessment of the project; and a written assignment to assess the application of ethical and research knowledge using a real world format (i.e. funding application).  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Ethics Case Study:  

Enables students to demonstrate their understanding and application of ethical principles by reviewing a case study. This includes demonstration of reporting and communication skills. 




Oral Project Presentation and Peer Review:  

Enables students to demonstrate their skills in oral communication and the use of visual media by presenting an original, evidence-based project suitable for a high performance sport setting. In addition students will demonstrate their ability to reflect on and critically appraise peer projects. 


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5 

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10 

Project Proposal: 

Enables students to demonstrate their application of ethical and research knowledge and skills by developing and presenting an evidence-based project in a formal written manner.  


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5 

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10 

Representative texts and references

Baumgartner, TA & Strong, CH 2006, Conducting and reading research in kinesiology, 5th edn, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.  

Gratton, C & Jones, I 2004, Research Methods for Sports Studies. Routledge, London, UK. 

Leedy, PD & Ormond, JE 2010, Practical Research Planning and Design, 9th edn, Pearson, Upper Saddle River, NJ. 

Matthews, JR, Bowen, JM & Matthews, RW, 2007, Successful Scientific Writing, 3rd ednCambridge University Press, Cambridge.  

Thomas, JR, Nelson, JK & Silverman, SJ, 2011. Research Methods in Physical Activity, 6th ednHuman Kinetics, Champaign, IL. 

Williams, C & Wragg, C, 2004, Data Analysis and Research for Sport and Exercise Science. Routledge, New York, NY. 

Yang, JT, 1995, An Outline of Scientific Writing. World Scientific, Singapore. 

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