Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


Successful completion of (at least) six units in the Master of High Performance Sport degree


EXSC654 Major Research Project (Part A) , EXSC655 Major Research Proj (Part B)

Unit rationale, description and aim

To optimise athlete and/or team performance, practitioners in high performance sport require advanced knowledge of theoretical concepts and evidence-based approaches to its application. This unit aims to provide a 'capstone' experience for students by affording them a research-based learning experience, involving the opportunity to investigate an area of relevance to the industry. Students will research a topic of interest, critically analyse relevant theories, concepts and/or data, and communicate the outcomes and its application in a meaningful way to a variety of audiences. Students will apply knowledge and skills developed in previous units to address the specific area of interest, with the results of their enquiry reported in a form consistent with industry expectations.

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 appraise literature and contemporary concepts relevant to research in high performance sport (GA4, GA8)

LO2 - use specialized knowledge and technical skills to undertake a substantial research-based piece of scholarship (GA4, GA7, GA10)

LO3 - display appropriate standards of technical and ethical conduct in professional practice and research (GA3, GA10)

LO4 - use systems of information/data storage, retrieval, and reporting for research purposes and communication with specialist and non-specialist audiences (GA10)

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

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

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


Topics will include: 

  • identifying industry-relevant issues/problems
  • planning and conducting an evidence-based project
  • application of bibliographic and data management software packages
  • ethical practice in research project design, implementation and reporting
  • communication of project findings

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies include active learning, case-based learning, web-based learning, and reflective/critical thinking activities, delivered over 12 weeks. These strategies will provide students with appropriate access to required knowledge, understanding and development of research skills. These strategies will allow students to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit, as well as industry-relevant 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

Standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements to enable students to achieve unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes. A range of assessment strategies are used including: a written task to assess approaches to project design and communication; and a written report or audiovisual presentation to assess knowledge and understanding of content, and research-related and communication skills.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written Proposal 

Enables students to apply of research approaches and communication skills to develop a project relevant to high performance sport and its stakeholders.


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA8

Written Report or Audiovisual Presentation 

Enables students to demonstrate research skills, critical analysis, interpretation and scholarship to draw conclusions and communicate outcomes and their application to a range of audiences.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA3, GA4, GA7, GA8, GA10

Representative texts and references

Baumgartner, T.A. & Strong, C.H. (2006).  Conducting and Reading Research in Health and Human   Performance (4th Ed.).  Sydney: McGraw-Hill.

Gratton, C. & Jones, I. (2004) Research Methods for Sports Studies. London: Routledge.

Matthews, J.R., Bowen, J.M., & Matthews, R.W. (2007). Successful Scientific Writing (3rd Ed.). Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.

Thomas, J.R. Nelson, J.K., & Silverman, S.J. (2011). Research Methods in Physical Activity (6th Ed.). Champaign: Human Kinetics.

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

Yang, J.T. (1995). An Outline of Scientific Writing. Singapore: World Scientific.

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