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EXSC122 Research and Ethics in Exercise Science

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Evidence-based practice in Exercise Science relies on a foundation of rigorous scientific research to inform practitioners and clinicians in academic, clinical and/or industry contexts. This unit provides students with the opportunity to complete research-informed studies and supervised readings in an area of interest within Exercise Science. Its aim is to improve the student’s ability to critically appraise research and literature in a specific topic, so as to develop in them fundamental skills and strategies as a foundation for future research-focused studies and activities.  

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 - Demonstrate structured skills of research, enquiry, critique and analysis (GA5).  

LO2 - Plan and conduct a problem-based enquiry (GA4, GA5, GA7) 

LO3 - Report the outcomes of an independent enquiry, demonstrating information literacy and communication skills appropriate to the audience. (GA4, GA6, GA8, GA9) 

Graduate attributes

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 


Topics will include: 

  • Developing a research question 
  • Systematic review strategies 
  • How to search multiple electronic databases 
  • Assessing methodological quality 
  • Scientific writing and presentation of results 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies may include active learning, project work, web-based learning, resources sessions, tutorials, lectures, field work, and reflective/critical thinking activities, delivered over 12 weeks. These strategies will provide students with access to required knowledge and understanding of unit content, and opportunities for application of this learning in research-based contexts. These strategies will allow students to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit, as well as professional practice standards. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning. 

Students will need to have gained the support of one or more members of staff from the Discipline of Exercise Science to supervise their study program and have developed a written proposal before seeking approval to enrol in this unit from the Course Coordinator. The written proposal should include a 250-word summary of the independent study program, a week-by-week schedule of planned study tasks, the proposed assessment tasks, and the submission dates. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to best enable students to demonstrate unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. Students are given a project to conduct by their supervisor. This may include using data already collected by the supervisor of may be collected by the student. Students are required to demonstrate their ability to research and review current literature on a topic approved by their supervisor using an oral presentation (Assessment 1).   Assessment 2 allows students to show the outcomes of their project in the form, appropriate to the field, but generally a journal manuscript.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Oral Presentation: 

Enables students to conduct a review of the literature and communicate their findings. 




Written Assignment: 

Enables students to communicate the outcomes of their independent work via an introduction, methods and results section in the form of a journal manuscript. 


LO1, LO2, LO3  

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9 

Representative texts and references

Cochrane Collaboration (2017). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. 

Downs, SH and Black, N. (1998). The feasibility of creating a checklist for the assessment of the methodological quality both of randomised and non-randomised studies of health care interventions.  J Epidemiol Community Health, 52, 377-384.

Neura & University of Sydney (1999) PEDro scale

The CONSORT Group (2010). The CONSORT Statement.  

Ottawa Hospital Research Institute & University of Oxford (2015). Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses.  

Centre for Evidence-based Medicine (2017). Critical Appraisal Tools  

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