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PSYC664 Research 1

Unit rationale, description and aim

The practice of psychology is based on the scientist-practitioner model, as knowledge and critical analysis of research is essential for evidence-based practice. This is a double-weighted unit in which the student completes research in an area of relevance to their specialisation stream (Clinical or Educational and Developmental). The student will write a research report in journal paper format and submit it for examination. Students will also be required to present their research in a suitable forum associated with the School of Psychology.
The aim of this unit is for students to apply their knowledge of psychological research by producing a publishable research report and promote their transition to life-long learning as a self-reliant and critically reflective professional.

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 knowledge and skills in conducting an original, well-designed and ethical research project (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA10);

LO2 - Use specialized knowledge and technical skills to implement a substantial research-based project or piece of scholarship (GA4, GA7);

LO3 - Complete a substantive original research study that is communicated effectively in written and oral forms to a specialist audience. (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10).

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.


The specific content will focus on the topic selected for investigation in PSYC664 Research 1. In this final stage students will continue writing a research report in the format of journal article and make a public presentation of their thesis research to staff and peers.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The teaching strategy for this unit is, primarily, meetings with the relevant staff and/or research team involving reflective/critical-thinking activities. Teaching and learning strategies will reflect the expectation of students as independent learners. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within supervision sessions. Contact time and mode are negotiated on an individual basis. Attendance at the School’s research colloquia is expected in order to broaden exposure to a range of research methodologies. Students should anticipate undertaking 300 hours of study for this unit including project management, report writing, and associated activities. 

Students exiting university need significant life-long learning skills to deliver sound, ongoing, evidence-based practice as a member of the health professional workforce. To embed life-long learning skills, students must demonstrate increasing reflective capacity to identify what is being done well and what requires additional work in progressing toward required learning outcomes. Located in the final year of the Master by coursework course, this unit provides students with the opportunity to bring their research study to a conclusion and transition to their professional role as a self-reliant and critically reflective individual.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit objectives consistent with University assessment requirements. The main assessment task is to produce a final research report for examination. In preparation for the final submission student will present their work for peer review at the annual ACU Psychology conference or similar school-based forum. This allows the opportunity for the student to demonstrate the ability to present research methodology and results concisely in oral format to peers. Students will be required to have their performance over the course of the semester signed-off by a staff member. This is to ensure the student has met expectations of the research group, such as return of data/equipment in accordance with HREC requirements, satisfied the data collection requirements, or alternative contribution to the research team. Submission of an empirical research paper allows the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to write a formal research report. In order to ensure objectivity, the report will be examined by two independent examiners. If there is a significant discrepancy between the two reports, the Research Committee will appoint a third examiner. Students must complete all assessment tasks and achieve a pass grade for the research paper to pass this unit.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

5000 word Research Report:  

Requires students to demonstrate their ability to write a research report in publishable form


LO1, LO2, LO3

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

Presentation of research at School Conference:  

Requires students to demonstrate communication skills



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

Supervisor Sign-off:  

Requires students to demonstrate collaboration and ethical behaviour in research


LO1, LO3

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

Representative texts and references

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. 

Sternberg, R. J., & Sternberg, K. (2016). The Psychologist’s Companion: A guide to professional success for students, teachers and researchers. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

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

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