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EXSC217 Research and Ethics in Exercise Science ,EXSD122 Research and Ethics in Exercise Science

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Understanding research design, methodology and statistics is fundamental for Exercise Scientists to engage in effective evidence–based practice. Additionally, an awareness of the ethical considerations, in both prescribing exercise and conducting research, underpins any effective practice in the Exercise Science industry. This unit introduces students to key principles of ethics, research methodology and statistical analysis in Exercise Science. Students are required to critically appraise research methodology, and apply this knowledge and understanding as well as appropriate analysis methods to research design contexts. The aim of this unit is to provide students with an understanding of ethics in Exercise Science, research methodology, as well as to develop skills in critical evaluation and statistical analysis.

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 ethical and legal principles to challenges encountered in Exercise Science practice and research (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5)

LO2 - Critically appraise research methodology in Exercise Science (GA4, GA5)

LO3 - Understand and perform relevant statistical analyses and interpret results (GA5, GA8, GA10)

LO4 - Apply knowledge of ethical considerations, research methodology and statistical analysis to a scientific investigation (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9)

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: 

  • Ethical/legal principles and processes in Exercise Science research 
  • Ethical/legal principles and processes in Exercise Science practice 
  • Ethical processes working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in Exercise Science practice 
  • Fundamentals of conducting Exercise Science research 
  • Research methodology in Exercise Science 
  • Evaluating research 
  • Academic writing 
  • Statistical considerations and assumptions 
  • Descriptive statistics 
  • Comparative statistics 
  • Relationship statistics 
  • Introduction to non-parametric statistics 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The learning and teaching strategies of this unit are designed to allow students to meet the aims, learning outcomes of the unit, graduate attributes of the University and professional accreditation standards. They are intended to reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to engage actively with unit content and learning activities. 

Content for the unit is delivered via a series of 10 online modules, each accompanied by an online quiz assessing basic knowledge of key concepts. This basic knowledge is then built upon through inquiry-based tutorial activities that encourage active learning in both individual and group scenarios. Tutorial activities facilitate a deeper understanding and application of the content as well as directly preparing for further assessments. Students are also asked to problem-solve and work collaboratively on a research project that involves design, data collection, analysis and academic writing.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

This unit requires students to demonstrate their understanding of the content and to be able to apply this to a scientific investigation. Assessment tasks have been designed and scheduled to both facilitate this learning and evaluate its attainment. 

Assessment 1 is a series of low stakes assessments relating to weekly content, which provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their current knowledge as well as provide a staged approach to enhance student learning. Assessment 2 allows students to demonstrate a deeper understanding of key concepts as well as critically appraise research methodology. Assessment 3 and 4 allow students to apply all concepts covered in the unit through a scientific investigation.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment 1

Quiz Assessment:  

Enables students to demonstrate their understanding of unit content through a series of multiple-choice questions relating to weekly content 


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10

Assessment 2

Mid Semester Exam:  

Enables students to critically appraise research methodology in exercise science 


LO1, LO2, LO4

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

Assessment 3

Research Project: 

Enables students to apply their knowledge of ethical considerations, research methodology and statistical analysis as part of a scientific investigation 


LO3, LO4

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

Assessment 4

Competency (practical skills) examination: 

Enables students to demonstrate competency in data analysis and statistical techniques. 



GA5, GA8, GA10

Representative texts and references

Baumgartner, T. A., Hensley L. D., Zhu, W., & Hodges Kulinna, P. (2021). Conducting and reading research in kinesiology (6th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning

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

Kerridge, I., Lowe, M., & McPhee, J. (2013). Ethics and law for the health professions (4th Ed.). The Federation Press.

Weir, J., & Vincent, W. (2020). Statistics in Kinesiology (5th Ed.) Human Kinetics

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