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

Understanding research design, methodology and statistics is fundamental for exercise scientists to engage in effective evidence-based practice. Additionally, an awareness of the ethical considerations, in both prescribing exercise and conducting research, underpins any effective practice in the Exercise Science industry. This unit introduces students to key principles of ethics, research methodology and statistical analysis in Exercise Science. Students are required to critically appraise research methodology, and apply this knowledge and understanding as well as appropriate analysis methods to research design contexts. The aim of this unit is to provide students with an understanding of ethics in Exercise Science, research methodology, as well as to develop skills in critical evaluation and statistical analysis.

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 - Describe ethical and legal principles to challenges encountered in Exercise Science practice and research (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5)

LO2 - Critically appraise research methodology in Exercise Science (GA4, GA5)

LO3 - Understand and perform relevant statistical analyses and interpret results (GA5,GA8,GA10)

LO4 - Apply knowledge of ethical considerations, research methodology and statistical analysis to a scientific investigation (GA4,GA5,GA6,GA7,GA8,GA9)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

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 

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 

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


Topics will include: 

  • Ethical/legal principles and processes in Exercise Science research
  • Ethical/legal principles and processes in Exercise Science practice
  • Fundamentals of conducting Exercise Science research
  • Research methodology in Exercise Science
  • Evaluating research
  • Academic writing
  • Statistical considerations and assumptions
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Comparative statistics
  • Relationship statistics
  • Introduction to non-parametric statistics

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 practical skills in statistical analysis. 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: (i) quiz assessment to assess student learning of content; (ii) research project to assess the application of this learning; (iii) a written examination to assess critical appraisal of research methodology; and (iv) practical examination to assess competency in skills required for professional practice (hurdle task).

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Quiz Assessment:

Enables students to demonstrate their understanding of unit content through a series of multiple choice questions corresponding to specific weeks of lecture content.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8

Mid Semester Exam:

Enables students to critically appraise research methodology in exercise science


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Research Project:

Enables students to apply their knowledge of ethical considerations, research methodology and statistical analysis as part of a scientific investigation


LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9

Competency (practical skills) examination:

Enables students to demonstrate competency in in data analysis and statistical techniques.



GA5, GA8, GA10

Representative texts and references

Baumgartner, T.A. & Strong, C.H. (2013). Conducting and reading research in health and human performance (5th Ed.). Sydney: McGraw-Hill. 

Kerridge, I., Lowe, M., & McPhee, J. (2005). Ethics and law for the health professions (2nd ed.).Sydney, NSW: The Federation Press.  

Peat, J. & Barton, B. (2005). Medical statistics: A guide to data analysis and critical appraisal. Melbourne: Blackwell Publishing.

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs