Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


Accepted and enrolled in honours degree program

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit is the second of four in the Allied Health Honours program. Honours programs provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to learn how to conduct research, to develop more advanced professional knowledge and skills, and to enter higher degrees by research at Masters and PhD levels. Research skills are critical for the development of evidence based practice and policy that ensures quality care of individuals, families and communities requiring allied health and social services.
Research requires multiple steps with this unit focusing on designing a research project and writing a research proposal. This will include acquisition and application of knowledge about human ethics and/or governance approvals.
The overall aim of this unit is to develop student skills in research design, ethical considerations and project planning required for a successful project. In this unit students will acquire knowledge of research ethics and approval processes, and knowledge of how to apply research methods to a project. Students will design a research proposal that addresses the research questions from ALHT411 Honours Literature Review for Allied Health. Students will select, justify and apply research methods, consider ethical processes and apply for human ethics and/or governance approvals relevant for the project. They will work closely with their supervisor throughout the semester.

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:

Demonstrate sound knowledge of research designs, methodologies and ethical and legal principles through development of a research proposal (GA3, GA4, GA8, GA9)

Demonstrate appropriate interpretation and application of human research ethical considerations and processes relevant to a research project (GA3, GA9)

Effectively communicate the research proposal in written and oral formats (GA9 GA10)

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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.


Topics will include:

Application of research methods in health and social services, including

·        Qualitative and quantitative methods

·        Selection of research designs

·        Sampling and recruitment

·        External validity

·        Measurement and data collection

·        Research procedures, protocols and fidelity

·        Data analysis and interpretation


Research ethics processes

·        Guidelines for ethical conduct in human research

o   NHMRC guidelines

o   Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities

·        Research ethics approval processes


Contemporary research topics such as

·        Consumer perspectives in research

·        Health economics


Data management and statistical analysis

·        Quantitative analyses and interpretation

·        Qualitative analyses and interpretation

·        Systematic review processes

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Students will be supported to develop advanced allied health research knowledge and skills and apply it to their individual research project with increasing autonomy. Lectures and online resources will provide students with the necessary knowledge and understanding of the ethical, legal and methodological requirements for research. Tutorials will provide students with the opportunity to discuss their understanding and application of ethical and methodological requirements for research. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and meet regularly with their honours supervisors to develop their project proposal and any approvals or registrations required.


This unit involves 150 hours of learning with a combination of face-to-face, online and independent learning activities and assessment.

Assessment strategy and rationale

This unit adopts an authentic assessment approach by requiring students to demonstrate application of research design, methods and ethical principles to an individual research project. The assessment strategies for this unit comprise a written exam, an oral presentation, a written project proposal, and a hurdle task.

A written exam requires students to demonstrate sound understanding of research ethics with application to ethical and research method dilemmas. The oral presentation requires the student to clearly communicate the essential components of their project proposal and respond to clarifying questions. The questions and feedback assist the student to reflect and refine the project methodology prior to submitting the research proposal.

The written assessment requires students to demonstrate their ability to write a coherent research proposal which fully justifies the purpose, significance, design, methodology (including design, procedures, measures, analyses and ethical considerations) and timeline for a research project that will answer the research question identified in ALHT411 Honours Literature Review for Allied Health. This assessment is consistent with the ACU Guidelines for Honours Programs that stipulates that the final thesis submitted for an honours degree must include an expanded methodology (7.1, 11.1).

The hurdle task requires students to write an application for the approvals required for their project. This may be an ethics application submitted to an HREC, an application for registration of a systematic review protocol or a rationale for why an ethics application is not relevant for the project. The hurdle task will be submitted by the end of semester by all students. However, students will work with supervisors to determine the need for and the optimum timing for submission of required approval applications.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written exam: Enables students to explore ethical and research method dilemmas.


LO1, LO2

GA3, GA4

Oral presentation of an e-poster: Enables students to present their progress to date in developing individual project proposals and gain feedback.


LO1, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA8, GA9, GA10

Written assignment: Enables students to write a structured project proposal for their individual research project.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA8, GA9, GA10

Written assignment: Enables students to consider required/relevant approvals and complete 1) an application form for ethics or 2) registration of a systematic review or 3) an alternative governance requirement or 4) justification of why an ethics or approval application is not required.

Ungraded Hurdle

LO1, LO2

GA3, GA4, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references


Barton, B., & Peat, J. (2014). Medical statistics: A guide to SPSS, data analysis and critical appraisal (2nd ed.). Blackwell Publishing

Liamputtong, P. (2013). Qualitative research methods (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.

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

National Health and Medical Research Council (2018). Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities: Guidelines for researchers and stakeholders. Commonwealth of Australia: Canberra. Retrieved from:

National Health and Medical Research Council. (2007). Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, The National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007), Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. Retrieved from:

Portney, L., & Watkins, M. (2014). Foundations of clinical research (3rd ed.). Prentice-Hall Inc.

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