Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


Successful completion of (at least) six units in the Master of High Performance Sport degree


EXSC654 Major Research Project (Part A) , EXSC655 Major Research Project (Part B)

Unit rationale, description and aim

To optimise athlete and/or team performance, practitioners in high performance sport require advanced knowledge of theoretical concepts and evidence-based approaches to its application. This unit aims to provide a 'capstone' experience for students by affording them a research-based learning experience, involving the opportunity to investigate an area of relevance to the industry. Students will research a topic of interest, critically analyse relevant theories, concepts and/or data, and communicate the outcomes and its application in a meaningful way to a variety of audiences. Students will apply knowledge and skills developed in previous units to address the specific area of interest, with the results of their enquiry reported in a form consistent with industry expectations.

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 - Critically appraise literature and contemporary concepts relevant to research in high performance sport (GA4, GA8)

LO2 - Use specialised knowledge and technical skills to undertake a substantial research-based piece of scholarship (GA4, GA7, GA10)

LO3 - Display appropriate standards of technical and ethical conduct in professional practice and research (GA3, GA10)

LO4 - Use systems of information/data storage, retrieval, and reporting for research purposes and communication with specialist and non-specialist audiences (GA10)

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include: 

  • identifying industry-relevant issues/problems
  • planning and conducting an evidence-based project
  • application of bibliographic and data management software packages
  • ethical practice in research project design, implementation and reporting
  • communication of project findings

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, case-based learning, web-based learning, and reflective/critical thinking activities opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. These strategies will provide students with appropriate access to required knowledge, understanding and development of research skills. 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 Standards-based assessment is utilised. 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 written task to assess approaches to project design and communication; and
  • Assessment Task 2: a written report or audiovisual presentation to assess knowledge and understanding of content, and research-related and communication skills.

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 Task 1

Written Proposal 

Enables students to apply research approaches and communication skills to develop a project relevant to high performance sport and its stakeholders.


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA7, GA8, GA10

Assessment Task 2

Written Report or Audiovisual Presentation 

Enables students to demonstrate research skills, critical analysis, interpretation and scholarship to draw conclusions and communicate outcomes and their application to a range of audiences.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA3, GA4, GA7, GA8, GA10

Representative texts and references

Baumgartner, T.A. & Strong, C.H. (2019).   Conducting and Reading Research in Health and Human Performance (6th Ed.). Sydney: McGraw-Hill.

Gratton, C. & Jones, I. (2014) Research Methods for Sports Studies (3rd Ed.). London: Routledge.

Matthews, J.R., Bowen, J.M., & Matthews, R.W. (2014). Successful Scientific Writing (4th Ed.). Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.

Thomas, J.R. Nelson, J.K., & Silverman, S.J. (2022). Research Methods in Physical Activity (8th Ed.).

Champaign: Human Kinetics.

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

Yang, J.T. (1995). An Outline of Scientific Writing. Singapore: World Scientific. 

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