Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


(SPHY301 Swallowing, Feeding, and Mealtime across the Lifespan AND SPHY302 Speech Pathology Practice 3A AND SPHY309) OR (SPHY302 Speech Pathology Practice 3A AND SPHY308 Multimodal Communication Across the Lifespan )


ALHT412 Honours Research Methods for Allied Health

Unit rationale, description and aim

The role of speech pathologists is to support individuals with communication, swallowing and mealtime difficulties, but also to support families and communities to maximise the function, activity and participation of people with these difficulties and to advocate for the communication and swallowing needs of all. To deliver appropriate services to families and communities, speech pathologists need to work with them to understand their needs and then to undertake preventative, promotional and/or educational projects. Research and project-based work are core competencies required by Speech Pathology Australia at entry into the profession.

In this unit, students will explore the role of speech pathologists in advocating for, and creating, optimal environments that facilitate successful communication, mealtime and swallowing experiences. They will consider ways in which communication and swallowing needs relate to human rights, human dignity, ethics, and the Common Good. Students will be required to analyse community-based data to identify health needs related to communication, mealtimes and swallowing, and to plan a project to address the environmental factors (both social and physical) that may act as barriers to participation in these activities.

Additionally, this unit contains a learning outcome from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum Framework (HCF, 2014) specifically addressing the HCF cultural capability- Clinical presentations.

The aim of the unit is for students to recognise the work of the speech pathology profession as it relates to individual, targeted and universal/systemic services, in particular to community development and public health initiatives, and to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate skills in working with communities to address their goals and needs.

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 the scientific process particularly in relation to community health projects, research, and outcome measures (GA6, GA7, GA8)

LO2 - Utilise a range of methods to evaluate the strengths and needs of families and communities in collaboration with stakeholders (GA1, GA2, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8)

LO3 - Explain the role of speech pathology in public health and community-based rehabilitation, and describe community and/or public health projects that optimise communication and swallowing (GA1, GA2, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8)

LO4 - HCF 9.3* Apply local epidemiology and population health data in diagnostic thinking, and develop strategies for community-wide approaches to prevention (GA2, GA6, GA7, GA8)


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 

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 


Topics will include:

Public Health

  • Human rights, health/education/disability policies
  • Social determinants of health
  • 3 tiers of service provision: universal, targeted and individual
  • Public health (universal provision), the Common Good and Ethics
  • Speech pathology and public health


  • Components of the ICF
  • Environmental Factors: Barriers and facilitators (including access and equity)
  • Speech pathology and Environmental Factors

Scientific process in community/public health

  • The scientific process and community health
  • Undertaking a needs assessment/analysis
  • Consulting and collaborating with professional groups and services
  • Building a community profile

Community-based projects

  • Developing strategic partnerships; building capacity
  • Strategy, program and project development
  • Strategies and processes for implementation of community development programs and projects
  • Monitoring and evaluation of projects

Community-Based Rehabilitation

  • What is community-based rehabilitation?
  • Principles of community-based rehabilitation
  • Models of community-based rehabilitation
  • Context and sites of community-based rehabilitation and development
  • Strategies and processes for supporting people/personnel engaged in CBR services

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit applies a blended learning approach to draw on the strengths of online and face-to-face delivery and maximise student engagement with the learning materials and participation in the learning activities. The blended learning strategy will combine lectures, in which key information will be presented to students, and interactive tutorials, in which students will have opportunities to discuss and apply that information. Lectures will be delivered to the whole cohort of students, while tutorials will include small group, collaborative learning. The blended approach will support students in the exploration of knowledge relating to the role of speech pathologists in advocacy and community development, to extend their understanding of the scientific method and its application in community projects, and to apply this learning in the completion of a public health project related to speech pathology.

This unit involves 150 hours of learning inclusive of a combination of face-to-face and online delivery, interactive and independent learning, and assessment tasks.

Assessment strategy and rationale

This unit provides students with opportunities to demonstrate their learning across three authentic assessment items, utilising different modalities.

Assessment 1 requires students to demonstrate their understanding of the role of speech pathologists in advocacy, community development and public health and community-based rehabilitation, through preparing a Position Statement, which outlines the work undertaken by clinicians in this area of practice and communicates this in a manner suitable for the general public.

Assessment 2 requires the completion of a needs analysis and community profile (Assessment 2), which will be undertaken as a group. Students will be required to apply research skills introduced in years 1 and 2 of the program, such as literature searching, analysis and synthesis, data collection, analysis, integration and interpretation, but to apply these at a community level. Application of these research skills will enable them to identify communication and swallowing needs within a given community, and barriers and facilitators to participation, leading to the identification of a health promotion project to address these needs. Assessment 3 (health promotion project) is an independent task and requires students to draw upon the needs analysis to plan an appropriate project to target the communication and/or swallowing need they have identified.

It is an expectation of Speech Pathology Australia that students participate in research with others, and that they complete preventative, promotional and/or educational projects during their training. These assessment tasks are designed to provide students with these opportunities, so as to meet the competencies required for entry-level speech pathologists.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Position statement: Requires students to recognize the role of speech pathologists in community development, advocacy and public health 



CBOS Alignment Occupational

4.5, 7.2


1.1-1.3, 2.1,2.3; 4.1-4.5


Occupational Competencies

4.5-4.6, All unit 5, 6.1, 7.1, 7.4

GA1, GA2, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8

Needs assessment/ analysis:

Students will work in groups to gather and analyse data about a community to determine health needs relevant to speech pathology


LO1, LO2, LO4

CBOS Alignment Occupational


All unit 5,

6.1, 7.1, 7.4


1.1-1.3; 2.1-2.3; 4.1-4.5

Occupational Competencies

4.5, 7.2

GA1, GA2, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8

Health promotion project:

Students will work independently to plan a project that would address the health needs of a community


LO1, LO2, LO3

CBOS Alignment Occupational


All unit 5, 6.1, 7.1, 7.4


1.1-1.3; 2.2; 4.1-4.5

Occupational Competencies

4.5-4.6, All unit 5, 6.1, 7.1, 7.4

GA1, GA2, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8

Representative texts and references

Speech Pathology Australia (2010). Code of Ethics. Author.

Speech Pathology Australia. (2020). Position Statements. Available from:

United Nations. (1998). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948-1998. United Nations Dept. of Public Information.

World Health Organization (2015). Community-based rehabilitation: CBR guidelines. Available from:

World Health Organization (2001). The international classification of functioning, disability and health. Author.

World Health Organization, Unesco, và International Labour Office (2004), CBR: a strategy for rehabilitation, equalization of opportunities, poverty reduction and social inclusion of people with disabilities. World Health Organization.

Wylie, K., McAllister, L., Davidson, B., Marshall, J., & Law, J. (2014). Adopting public health approaches to communication disability: challenges for the education of speech-language pathologists. Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica, 66(4-5), 164-175.

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