Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


EXSC122 Research and Ethics in Exercise Science OR EXSC217 Research and Ethics in Exercise Science OR BMSC103 Research Design and Ethics OR BMSC208 Research Design and Ethics OR PUBH103 Epidemiology OR ( PSYC100 Foundations of Psychology AND PSYC101 Applications of Psychology AND PSYC104 Research Design and Statistics I ) AND Cumulative GPA>5.0)

Unit rationale, description and aim

Understanding research design, methodology, statistical analysis and their ethical implications is fundamental to working in health-related fields in order to engage in effective evidence-based practice. Your ability to engage with and interpret the most recent advances in your field will allow you to provide the best possible outcomes for your clients or employer and elevate you from a competent practitioner to a leader in the field. Research skills are also highly transferable, being universally sought by employers looking for individuals with the capacity to identify, critically analyse and solve problems in an effective manner.   

Using a combination of interactive seminars and laboratory or field-based sessions, you will engage with leading researchers currently active at the forefront of their fields, and advance your understanding of how to design and conduct research using the latest technology and techniques. By immersing yourself in multiple research experiences you will immediately apply and develop your understanding; simultaneously developing and strengthening your practical skills in the application of a wide range of applied, experimental and clinical techniques consistent with the professional standards of several accreditation bodies.

The aim of this unit is to enhance your research skills and broaden your understanding of the scope of exercise-based research within the wider field of behavioural and health sciences.

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 - Develop and implement an effective strategy to source appropriate literature relevant to a specific question (GA5, GA8)

LO2 - Collect, analyse, interpret and critically appraise research data across a broad range of contemporary fields within Exercise, Behavioural and Health Sciences (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8)

LO3 - Communicate the outcomes of a research project in a clear and effective manner (GA4, GA5, GA9)

LO4 - Develop a research strategy to ethically address a question relevant to Exercise, Behavioural or Health Science using the most appropriate technology and techniques (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA9, GA10)

Graduate attributes

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 

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:

  • Searching the literature
  • Ethical principles in Exercise, Behavioural and Health Sciences
  • Effective presentation of data
  • Current topics in Exercise, Behavioural and Health Sciences
  • Contemporary techniques and research methods in Exercise, Behavioural and Health Science
  • Research design in Exercise, Behavioural and Health Sciences
  • Analysis and interpretation of data
  • Statistical concepts in Exercise, Behavioural and Health Sciences

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

To provide an immersive research experience designed to foster deep learning outcomes, this unit will be delivered intensively over 6 weeks. The unit will employ an active, cooperative, and experiential approach to learning, in which the student directly engages with a range of Faculty members currently conducting research across a broad range of cross-disciplinary fields. Each module will focus on a contemporary research area and incorporate a different aspect of research design and analysis; progressively building knowledge and skills in designing, conducting, analysing and presenting research. Understanding of research design and analysis will be reinforced by directly integrating the theoretical aspects of the unit into practical activities which clearly demonstrate their application and relevance within Exercise, Behavioural and Health Sciences. The combination of interactive seminars with laboratory or field-based practical sessions also provides students with the opportunity to broaden their understanding of the role of exercise within Behavioural and Health Sciences, and gain experience in a wide range of applied, experimental and clinical techniques. In order to maximise learning outcomes, students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning by engaging with supplementary online material and actively participating in both theory and practical group activities.

Assessment strategy and rationale

To best enable students to demonstrate achievement of the unit learning outcomes and development of graduate attributes, a standards-based assessment will be used, consistent with University assessment requirements. A range of assessment strategies will be used to scaffold learning, with each assessment building on the skills progressively developed throughout the unit. Assessment strategies include:

  1. authentic assessment tasks that directly reflect the skills and knowledge developed in the unit (i.e., ability to search the literature, critically analyse and present data, design an appropriate research strategy);
  2. initial low stakes assessments with a progressive increase in weighting as skills and awareness of assessment requirements develop;
  3. the use of a range of assessment formats (written and oral communication) to allow all students the opportunity to demonstrate their learning. 

Assessment 1 develops a student’s ability to efficiently search the literature, a critical skill for rapidly finding the information required for the following assessments.

Assessment 2 requires students to analyse and critique the data they have collected as part of the laboratory sessions. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of different analytical techniques and study designs will be directly applicable in the final assessment. Breaking this assessment into two parts allows students to develop their presentation and analysis skills both directly, through feedback from the instructor, and indirectly, through observation of their peers.

Assessment 3 allows students to apply knowledge and skills acquired in the unit to development a strategy to address the question originally posed in Assessment 1.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written Assignment:

Enables students to demonstrate their ability to create, implement and manipulate a successful search strategy in order to identify literature pertinent to a specific research question.



GA5, GA8

Oral Presentation:

Enables students to demonstrate their ability to work both collectively and autonomously to collect and analyse data and communicate the results in a meaningful and understandable manner. Students will receive instructor and peer feedback following the initial submission (Part A) to guide improvements in the second submission (Part B),

Part A - 10%

Research outcomes project 1 or 2

Part B - 20%

Research outcomes project 3 or 4

LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Research Proposal:

Enables students to demonstrate their understanding of research techniques and ethical research principles learnt within the unit by designing a research project to address a specific question within Exercise, Behavioural or Health Science disciplines



GA3, GA4, GA5, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Australian Institute of Sport, Tanner R and Gore C (2013) Physiological tests for elite athletes (2nd ed.). Champaign: Human Kinetics

American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) (2018). Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (9th ed.). Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams

Baumgartner, T.A. & Strong, C.H. (2013). Conducting and reading research in health and human performance (5th Ed.). Sydney: McGraw-Hill.

Kerridge, I., Lowe, M., & McPhee, J. (2005). Ethics and law for the health professions (2nd ed.).Sydney, NSW: The Federation Press.

Peat, J. & Barton, B. (2005). Medical statistics: A guide to data analysis and critical appraisal. Melbourne: Blackwell Publishing.

Rugg, G. & Petre, M. (2007). A gentle guide to research methods. Open University Press: New York.

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