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OTHY108 Evidence-Based Practice and Health Conditions OR SPHY105 Foundations of Speech Pathology Practice

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focussed learning

Unit rationale, description and aim

The use of best evidence is a critical element of competent allied health practice that ensures effective client care and service delivery. Demonstration of competent evidence informed practice requires the ability to understand and apply research that informs professional reasoning. In this unit students will learn about using the evidence-based practice process considering research evidence; client values, preferences and circumstances; professional expertise; and practice context. Students will develop their understanding of research paradigms, ethics and quantitative and qualitative approaches. Students will develop the knowledge and skills to locate and appraise research literature and interpret research findings. Building upon an introduction to evidence-based practice in prior units, students will further develop their ability to translate findings for professional practice and communicate this to colleagues and clients in this and future units.

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

The overall aim for this unit is to develop knowledge and skills to apply evidence-based practice as an allied health 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 - Use the evidence-based practice framework to inform professional reasoning (GA1, GA3, GA5, GA8).

LO2 - Apply knowledge of research ethics, design, methods, and analysis (qualitative and quantitative) to critically appraise and synthesise literature to inform allied health practice. (GA1, GA3, GA5, GA8, GA9)

LO3 - Apply knowledge translation strategies that utilise research informed practice and interprofessional communication in allied health. (GA1, GA3, GA5, GA8, GA9)

LO4 - HCF 8.2  Analyse the contemporary role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals, organisations and communities in delivering culturally safe health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients (GA1, GA3, GA5)

Graduate attributes

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

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

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

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include:

Application of evidence based practice (EBP) principles and processes in allied health

  • Review of EBP frameworks and processes
  • Professional standards and ethics
  • Culturally safe health care and research considerations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients

Research paradigms and ethics in allied health

  • Ethical research values, frameworks and conduct
  • Ethical practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • Consumer/public perspectives
  • Quantitative research designs
  • Qualitative research designs
  • Mixed method research designs
  • Survey and questionnaire design

Research analysis processes including

  • Descriptive and inferential statistics
  • Qualitative analyses
  • Reliability, validity and trustworthiness

Evidence-based process

  • Ask a well-developed answerable question
  • Systematic, comprehensive literature searching
  • Evaluating/appraising the evidence
  • Integrating the evaluation with practitioner expertise and client values, preferences and circumstances
  • Evaluating effectiveness for future application

Knowledge translation within practice contexts including:

  • Knowledge translation frameworks
  • Professional research dissemination
  • Facilitation of informed patient/client/consumer decision making
  • Interprofessional communication

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit applies an interactive, interprofessional learning approach to support students in the exploration of essential knowledge associated with reading and understanding research literature and application to holistic evidence-based practice within the professional context. Using a blended learning strategy, students will integrate academic knowledge with professional reasoning thereby preparing them to make sound decisions regarding use of evidence in professional practice. This occurs through a combination of lectures and interactive interprofessional tutorials.

Lectures provide for the rapid coverage of key factual information required to develop understanding of main concepts. Tutorials will include small group, collaborative learning with students engaging in active discussion and practical application of the theoretical content. This will allow students to learn and practice skills within a supported and safe teaching space. The use of case scenarios and targeted research literature will enable students to demonstrate critical thinking in all aspects of the evidence-informed process and develop a deep understanding of how evidence from research, client, professional and context sources, including cross-cultural perspectives, may influence professional practice. Learning and Teaching approaches included in this unit were developed in collaboration with First Peoples’ Cultural Advisors. 

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

Assessments in this unit are designed to assess student knowledge and critical thinking about forms of evidence, and the application of research findings to case-based scenarios using appropriate professional reasoning within an evidence-based practice framework. Assessment strategies within this unit comprise quizzes, a written assignment and a written exam.

An online quiz will provide opportunity to examine theoretical and conceptual foundational knowledge about evidence-based practice, research paradigms, ethics, quantitative and qualitative analysis processes, and culturally safe research. Quizzes provide timely feedback on acquisition of content knowledge that will be applied in later assessments and units. Learning outcomes 1, 2 & 4 will be assessed in this task.

A written assessment will assess the students’ ability to apply critical appraisal skills and outcomes to professional decision making. Knowledge translation will be demonstrated in an authentic workplace format. Students will appraise selected research literature related to a case-based scenario and synthesise results to provide an evidence summary suitable for an audience of inter-professional peers and feedback appropriate for a client. This assessment will include both group and individual components and will assess learning outcomes 1, 2 and 3.

A written exam will assess students’ ability to individually appraise, apply and evaluate evidence and to demonstrate evidence-based practice, culturally responsive practice, and knowledge translation skills in relation to case-based scenarios. All four learning outcomes will be assessed. Assessment approaches in this unit were developed in collaboration with First Peoples’ Cultural Advisors. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment 1: Online quizzes. Students will demonstrate theoretical and conceptual knowledge from lectures, tutorials and readings.


LO1, LO2, LO4

GA1, GA3, GA5

Assessment 2: Written assignment. Students will critically appraise research articles related to a case-based scenario for allied health. Students will provide an interprofessional synthesis and feedback to colleagues in a poster; and a handout for clients. The assignment will include group and individual components.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA3, GA5, GA8, GA9

Assessment 3: Written examination. Students will complete a written examination that assesses professional reasoning, evidence-based practice, culturally responsive practice and knowledge translation for allied health research scenarios.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA3, GA5 GA8,GA9

In order to pass this unit, students must submit a reasonable attempt for all three assessments and achieve a summative mark of at least 50%.

Representative texts and references

Creswell, J. W. & Plano Clark, V. L. (2018). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. (3rd ed). SAGE Publications Inc.

Hoffman, T., Bennett, S. & Del Mar, C. (2017). Evidence-based practice across the health professions (3rd ed.). Elsevier.

Liamputtong, P. (2017). Research methods in health: Foundations for evidence based practice (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.

Liamputtong, P. (2019). Qualitative research methods (5th ed.). Oxford University Press.

Plichta S. B. & Kelvin, E. (2012). Munro’s statistical methods for health care research (6th ed.). Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Polgar, S., & Thomas, S. (2019). Introduction to research in the health sciences (6th ed.). Elsevier.

Porter, S. (2008). First steps in research: A pocketbook for healthcare students. Churchill Livingstone.

Portney, L., & Watkins, M. (2020). Foundations of clinical research (4th ed). Pearson.

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