Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Research in high performance sport settings is critical for providing athletes and practitioners with evidence-based strategies for improving performance and maintaining athlete well-being. The focus of this unit is on evidence-based approaches to the formulation, design and conduct of projects in the high performance sport environment. Students will develop an ability to critically appraise the process and planning of projects designed to investigate questions in the applied setting, and gain awareness of alternative approaches used in sports science research. Students will construct an implementation plan for a project designed to investigate a problem of practical relevance to the student's industry, workplace or research goals. The aim of this unit is to enable students to develop skills in reviewing appropriate literature and the appraisal of available field, laboratory and/or software technologies for data acquisition and analysis, with a focus on developing scientific/report writing and presentation skills.

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 - Display appropriate standards of ethical and professional conduct when designing an industry-relevant research project (GA2, GA3)

LO2 - Design an evidence-based project that involves acquiring, analysing, interpreting and reporting data (GA2, GA4, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO3 - Critically appraise literature and contemporary concepts relevant to high performance sport (GA4, GA5)

LO4 - Communicate the design of an evidence-based project in written and/or oral forms to specialist and non-specialist audiences (e.g. coaching staff; support staff; stakeholders; academic peers) (GA9)

Graduate attributes

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 

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: 

  • Evidence-based practice 
  • Overview of the research process 
  • Preparing and planning for a project 
  • Developing a project topic 
  • Developing a research question and hypothesis 
  • Introduction to research methods 
  • Experimental 
  • Quasi-experimental 
  • Case study 
  • Surveys 
  • Ethical considerations in the design and implementation of investigative projects 
  • Guidelines for Human Experimentation (National Health and Medical Research Council) 
  • Project design, development and common barriers in the High Performance Sport (HPS) environment. 
  • Rationale, aims and hypotheses 
  • Study design and feasibility 
  • Recruitment, timelines and funding
  • Research translation
  • Scientific and industry reports
  • Industry report writing 
  • Oral presentation and Poster presentations 
  • Social media, 3MT, infographics

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

ACU Online

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding, application and engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to best enable students to achieve unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. A range of assessment strategies have been purposefully designed for the assessment of learning outcomes reflecting the principles of authentic assessment design and include: 

  • Assessment Task 1: a case study to assess the application and implementation of knowledge and understanding as they relate to research design and ethics in High Performance Sport; 
  • Assessment Task 2: an oral presentation to assess ability to critically appraise research project design, analysis and interpretation for High Performance Sport, as well as skills in communication and the use of visual media; and
  • Assessment Task 3: a written assignment to assess the application of ethical and research knowledge using an authentic format (eg. funding application). 

Students must achieve a cumulative grade of at least 50% across all assessments.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment 1

Ethics Case Study:  

Enables students to demonstrate their understanding and application of ethical principles by reviewing a High Performance Sport case study. This includes demonstration of reporting and communication skills. 



GA2, GA3

Assessment 2

Oral Presentation of a High Performance Sport experimental research study:  

Enables students to demonstrate their ability to critically appraise research project design, analysis & interpretation for high performance sport, as well as their skills in oral communication and the use of visual media.


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment 3

Project Proposal: 

Enables students to demonstrate their knowledge and application of ethical and research design considerations by developing and presenting an evidence-based HPS project in a formal written manner.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Bailey, C 2021, Quantitative Analysis in Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Texas Libraries

Baumgartner, TA & Strong, CH 2006, Conducting and reading research in kinesiology, 5th edn, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.  

Gratton, C & Jones, I 2004, Research Methods for Sports Studies. Routledge, London, UK. 

Jones, I & Gratton, C 2015, Research Methods for Sports Studies, 3rd edn. Taylor & Francis Group, London, UK.

Leedy, PD & Ormond, JE 2020, Practical Research: Planning and Design, 12th edn, Pearson Education Limited, Essex, UK.

Matthews, JR, Bowen, JM & Matthews, RW, 2007, Successful Scientific Writing, 3rd ednCambridge University Press, Cambridge.  

Ross-Hellauer, T 2020, ‘Ten simple rules for innovative dissemination of research’, PLOS Computational Biology, vol. 16, no. 4, e1007704.

Thomas, JR, Nelson, JK & Silverman, SJ, 2011. Research Methods in Physical Activity, 6th ednHuman Kinetics, Champaign, IL. 

Williams, C & Wragg, C, 2004, Data Analysis and Research for Sport and Exercise Science. Routledge, New York, NY. 

Yang, JT, 1995, An Outline of Scientific Writing. World Scientific, Singapore. 

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