Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning

Unit rationale, description and aim

Competency in evidence based speech pathology practice is a requirement for entry into the speech pathology profession as university graduates accredited by Speech Pathology Australia. Thus, the demonstration of evidence based speech practice is a key learning outcome of the ACU Bachelor of Speech Pathology Course.

This unit introduces students to foundational knowledge and skills related to evidence based practice in speech pathology. Students will learn evidence based practice skills of locating and analysing information from different sources of evidence, including the research literature, the client, and the clinical background. Research designs and processes in quantitative, qualitative, and mixed method approaches will be introduced and students will develop beginning skills in reading and appraising the research literature.

Concepts relevant to assessment and outcome measurement including the purpose of measurement, psychometrics, and statistics are introduced. Students will also learn about ethical principles in evidence based speech pathology practice. The aim of this unit is to facilitate the development of foundational knowledge and skills required for evidence-based practice through the explicit learning of theoretical concepts and application to clinical case scenarios. 

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 basic understanding of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research approaches (GA5, GA8, GA9)

LO2 - Demonstrate understanding of measurement and statistics in research and clinical practice (GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO3 - Apply knowledge and skills of ethical evidence based practice to speech pathology (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, 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 

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

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


Topics will include:

Evidence Based Practice:

  • Defining EBP and relevance to speech pathology
  • Types of evidence
  • Steps in EBP: Asking, locating, organising, analysing and evaluating research
  • EBP and ethical practice

Research Design and Methods

  • Quantitative approaches
  • Qualitative approaches
  • Research Processes, including:

o   Sampling

o   Data Collection

o   Analysis

o   Interpretation of results

  • The structure of a research paper
  • Ethics


  • Measurement scales types
  • Purpose of tool (screening, descriptive, evaluative, predictive)
  • Type of tools: standardisation
  • Clinical utility / practicability
  • Psychometric properties: validity and reliability
  • Standard errors of measurement


  • Descriptive statistics, including: 

o   Measures of central tendency and variability

o   Normal distributions

  • Inferential statistics, including:

o   Probability

o   Hypothesis testing

o   Significance and effect sizes

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit uses a blended learning approach to support students in the development of their knowledge and skills in evidenced based practice in speech pathology. The blended learning approach utilises teaching and learning strategies such as face-face lectures, tutorial classes, and online lessons. Students are able to explore the essential knowledge about ethics, evidence based practice, research, and statistics underpinning clinical practice in speech pathology in a series of on campus lecture style classes and online lessons. Students are required to participate in facilitated tutorial classes to engage and interact with other students in their acquisition, construction, and application of the knowledge and skills involved in the foundational clinical reasoning processes for evidenced based practice in speech pathology. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The sequence of assessments allows students to progressively develop their knowledge and skills to the level of sophistication where they are able to demonstrate their knowledge and skills related to evidence based practice in a given clinical case scenario.

Assessment 1, quizzes are designed for students to demonstrate acquisition and early assimilation of theoretical knowledge, provide them with feedback about their learning. The knowledge demonstrated in assessment 1 will provide a foundation for the final two assessments. Assessment 2 and Assessment 3 are designed around a given clinical case scenario. 

Assessment 2, a literature search and summary report, requires students to apply the knowledge and skills acquired to demonstrate emerging competencies in the EBP processes of finding and reading research literature relevant to the given clinical case scenario. 

Assessment 3, an analysis and evaluation report, uses the same clinical scenario as Assessment 2 and aims to builds upon the EBP skills demonstrated in Assessment 2. Assessment 3 requires students to demonstrate emerging competencies in the EBP processes of analysing and evaluating the research literature in relation to clinical practice.  Assessments 2 and 3 combined allow students to experience and demonstrate their knowledge and skills in the processes involved in evidenced based speech pathology practice.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Quizzes (Multiple choice and short answer question  task/s) 

Enables students to demonstrate their acquisition of knowledge and early assimilation of key theoretical concepts.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA8

Literature Search and Summary Report

Enables students to assimilate and apply knowledge and skills relevant to evidence based practice to demonstrate foundational skills in searching for, reading, and interpreting research evidence in relation to speech pathology practice


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Literature Analysis and Evaluation Report

Enables students to assimilate and apply knowledge and skills relevant to evidence based practice in analysing and evaluating the research literature to demonstrate beginning foundational skills in analysing and evaluating research evidence to make ethical clinical decisions for speech pathology practice



GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

In order to successfully complete this unit, students need to complete and submit all assessments and obtain an aggregate mark of 50% or greater. 

Representative texts and references

Centre for Evidence based Medicine website -

Dollaghan, C.A. (2007). The handbook for evidence-based practice in communication disorders. Maryland: Paul. H. Brooks Publishing Co. Inc.

Greenhalgh, T. (2014). How to read a paper: The basics of evidenced-based medicine. Chichester, UK: Wiley

Hoffman, T., Bennett, S., & Del Mar, C. (2017). Evidence-based practice across the health professions. (2nd ed.). Chatswood: Elsevier Australia. ISBN: 978072954135

Liamputtong, P. (Ed). (2013). Research methods in health. Foundations for evidence based practice. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

National Health and Medical Research Council (2000). How to review the evidence: Systematic identification and review of scientific literature. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.

Polgar, S. & Thomas, S.A., (2014) Introduction to research in the health sciences. London: Churchill Livingstone. 

Sackett, D., Straus, S., Richardson, W. S., Rosenberg, W., & Haynes, R. B. (2010). Evidence-based medicine: How to practice and teach EBM. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

SpeechBITE™ (Speech Pathology Database for Best Interventions and Treatment Efficacy) website

The Speech Pathology Association of Australia Ltd. (2010). Evidence based practice in speech pathology. Melbourne: Speech Pathology Australia.

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