Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

1 hour per week of individual supervision.

Unit rationale, description and aim

The practice of psychology is based on the scientist-practitioner model, and as such, knowledge and critical analysis of research is essential for evidence-based practice. This is the first of three units over three semesters, in which the student engages in a significant research investigation/project under supervision. The project will address an area of relevance to the specialization stream in which the student is enrolled. In this unit, students complete the groundwork for the project including a research proposal and ethics application (as appropriate). Students are expected to complete the remainder of the research project in the second year of the course. The aim of this unit is to develop a proposal for a research project in an area of psychology related to the student's specialist stream (Clinical or Educational and Developmental).

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 - Plan a significant, original research study (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA10) 

LO2 - Present a research proposal in oral form at a suitable research forum (GA5, GA9) 

LO3 - Present a concise written research proposal that provides a background and logical rationale for the study and description of an appropriate method, including the proposed approach to data collection and data analysis (GA9, GA10)

LO4 - Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical requirements of the chosen research project, and complete appropriate steps to ensure ethics clearance for the project, including submission of a full ethics application. or amendment as required (GA3, 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 

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


This unit involves exploration of possible topics with Psychology staff, selection of a topic relevant to the student’s area of specialisation, liaison with the student’s supervisor, production of a written research proposal for approval, presentation of the proposal at a relevant research forum in the School of Psychology, and completion of appropriate steps to ensure ethics clearance for the project. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The teaching strategy for this unit is, primarily, meetings with the supervisor, research team and other relevant staff members, and research activities as recommended by the supervisor. Contact time and mode are negotiated within supervision  

Attendance at the School’s research colloquia is expected in order to broaden exposure to a range of research methodologies.  

Approximately 150 hours of study time is required for this unit including project management, review writing, and associated activities. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedure will be used to meet the unit objectives consistent with University assessment requirements. The written proposal will be developed by the student under the guidance of the supervisor and will be sent to the review panel. The proposal will be presented orally to the review panel for assessment. The processes of writing and presenting the proposal allow the student to demonstrate the ability to plan a viable research project. The ethics application will be assessed by the HREC. This will ensure the project proposed is viable within the time and budget constraints, and is peer reviewed and ethical. Submission of the project to the HREC allows the student to demonstrate an awareness of ethical principles relevant to research. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written research proposal (2000 words) 

Provides the opportunity to demonstrate ability to plan a research project 




GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10 

Oral presentation (30 mins) 

Provides the opportunity to present a research proposal in oral form at a suitable research forum 




GA5, GA9

HREC application 

Provides opportunity to demonstrate ability to complete a research ethics application and knowledge of ethical issues involved in the research  



LO3, LO4 

GA3, GA9 

Representative texts and references

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. 

Supervisors may recommend texts and peer reviewed articles relevant to your topic. 

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