Credit points


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PSYC410 Honours Thesis A

Unit rationale, description and aim

Psychology is a scientific discipline from which stems a profession that is guided by evidence based practice. As a result, training in the skills pertaining to both the critical analysis of research literature, and the conduct of research is at the core of any psychology course. At a 4th year level, you are expected to develop, conduct and report your own research project. This expectation is explicitly stated in the APAC accreditation guidelines for 4th year courses. This unit is the second of two units designed to support you in this process. In particular, this unit provides support for the preparation of a research report of the empirical project that forms part of your research thesis. Although you receive project-specific support from a thesis supervisor, the unit is designed to provide training on generic skills that underpin the successful write up of the report in the form of a research article. In addition to this, the unit is also designed to help you with the preparation of your presentation for the School of Psychology research conference, where all students must present either a short talk or a poster.

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:

L01 - conduct data collection for a research project, adhering to ethical principles (outlined in the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research Involving Humans), and using a research design and methodology that is appropriate for the research question (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA5, GA6); 

L02 - analyse and interpret the data stemming from research using the appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative analysis methodologies (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA10); 

L03 - present research results in the context of a panel forum or research conference (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10); 

L04 - write a research report in the form of a research article, including an introduction that states the rationale for the research, a method section, results, and discussion of the findings in the context of the current literature  (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA10); 

L05 - critically analyse research to be able to identify and describe contributions of results as well as the limitations of particular studies (GA2, GA4, GA6). 

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 

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.


Topics will include: 

  • Collecting data and analysing data 
  • Writing an introduction section: the difference between an article introduction and a literature review 
  • Writing a methods section: emphasis on replicability 
  • Writing a results section: appropriate structure and use of figures and tables 
  • Preparing a conference presentation (poster and talk) 
  • Writing a discussion section: appropriate structure, purpose, integration of findings, and inferences for theory, practice, and future research. Professional pathways after fourth year 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The unit involves 12 contact hours distributed across the semester. You will receive project-specific support from your thesis supervisor, and the unit will focus on the generic skills that underpin the writing of an empirical report in the form of an article. For this purpose, the face-to-face sessions are structured as guided discussions where the lecturer presents some of the most important points to consider in the preparation of each section of an empirical report and you are encouraged to reflect on and discuss how these apply to your own research project. These sessions will include interactive activities where you will complete work in class that can then be reviewed and discussed in small groups to identify strengths and receive constructive feedback on the weaknesses of the work. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

There are two main assessments in the unit. The first assessment task is a conference presentation which is designed to assess your ability to communicate your research findings (and their implications) in an oral format. This is a hurdle task and you will present a short talk (approx. 15 min) or a 3 minute blitz poster presentation. The second assessment task is the empirical report of the thesis, which must include all the elements of an empirical report and be written in the format of a journal article. This component of the submission may include an extended methods section (which would correspond to supplementary materials in a journal submission).   

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Conference presentation: 

 requires you to present your research findings in a short talk or blitz poster presentation format. 



GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10 

Empirical report of the thesis (journal article format). 


LO1, LO2, LO4, LO5 

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10 

Representative texts and references

American Psychological Association (2019). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). American Psychological Association

Becker, H. S., Richards, P., & Richards, P. (2020). Writing for social scientists : how to start and finish your thesis, book, or article (3rd ed.). The University of Chicago Press.

Creme, P., & Lea, M. R. (2008). Writing at University (3rd ed.). Open University Press.

Murray, R. (2011). How to Write a Thesis (4th ed.). Open University Press.

Murray, R. (2013). Writing for Academic Journals (3rd ed.). Open University Press.

Sieber J.E. (Ed.). (1992). Ethics of social research: Survey and experiment. Springer New York.  

Smyth, T.R. & Lecouteur, A. (2007). The principles of writing in psychology (2nd ed.). Palgrave MacMillan.  

Starley, B., & Sieber, J.E. (Eds.). (1992). Social research on children and adolescents: Ethical issues. Sage Publications

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