Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

 Rigorous science is the foundation of evidence-based practice and contributes to academic, clinical, and/or industry-related development of health care professionals across all disciplines. This unit will allow students to develop skills in sourcing and critically appraising the literature essential for the development of their own Honours research project. Using a combination of interactive seminars and supplementary online material, students will extend and refine their scientific writing skills as they are guided in the development of a comprehensive literature review that identifies gaps in the literature and justifies the need for their research project. This unit complements HLSC402 Preparing for Research in Biomedical and Health Sciences. The aim of this unit is to develop in students their ability to critically appraise the literature and to use available information to plan and proceed towards the development of a scholarly thesis on a specific topic in the field of biomedical 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 search, retrieve and review relevant information related to their research interests (GA5, GA8)

LO3 apply knowledge of scientific theory to critically analyse and evaluate the scientific worth, innovation and practical importance of a research project (GA4, GA5 GA9)

LO3 effectively communicate in writing for a broad scientific audience (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9).

Graduate attributes

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 


Topics will include:

Qualitative and Quantitative Research Design

           Relevant methods

           Data analyses


Scientific literature

Literature search strategies

Relevant electronic databases

Systematic and narrative reviews

Critiquing the literature

Scientific writing conventions

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The learning and teaching strategy adopted aligns with the sequencing of the learning outcomes and consists of three phases that are designed to provide students with an active and experiential learning experience. The unit is underpinned with approaches designed to support the acquisition of knowledge needed to identify, critically analyse and interpret research conducted in biomedical and health sciences (this unit complements HLSC402 Preparing for Research in Biomedical and Health Sciences). The approaches used to facilitate students’ deep understanding of research literature include a combination of interactive seminars and supplementary online materials in a one-week intensive. Activities are designed to support skill development and the application of those skills in a manner that is directly applicable to their own research project. Overall, the approaches used in this unit have a constructively aligned developmental sequence designed to progressively and logically support student learning in ways that maximise the perceived (and actual) relevance and value of each stage. As an overarching strategy, this is expected to engender high levels of engagement, efficiency and effectiveness in students’ study behaviours, and to maximise their learning achievements. This strategy and approaches will allow students to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit. The cross-disciplinary nature of the unit will broaden students’ understanding of how their specific discipline and project sits within the wider context of health science. Learning and teaching approaches will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively in learning activities. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

To best enable students to demonstrate their achievement of the unit learning outcomes and development of graduate attributes, a standards-based assessment will be used, consistent with University assessment requirements. A series of three assessments will be used to scaffold their learning, with each assessment progressively building on the skills required to help ensure their success and development throughout the unit and Honours year. Assessment strategies include the use of:

(i) authentic assessment tasks that directly reflect the skills and knowledge developed in the unit (i.e., ability to search and critically analyse the literature, develop a rational and cohesive scientific argument based on the information available in the literature)

(ii) initial low stakes assessments with a progressive increase in weighting as students’ critical thinking skills and awareness of assessment requirements develop;

Assessment 1 develops students’ ability to effectively search the literature, a critical skill for rapidly finding the information required for success in the following assessments and Honours thesis.

Assessment 2 requires students to critique an article relevant to their thesis project. Developing their skills in critical analysis is directly applicable to the final assessment and broader thesis.

Assessment 3 allows students to deepen their understanding of the literature relevant to their thesis and develop well-founded, convincing, and logical rationale for their thesis project. This assessment will also assist students with, and may even form the basis of, their final thesis.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Literature Search Strategy:

Requires students to apply their broad understanding of a body of knowledge and demonstrate their technical skills by developing and conducting a search strategy that effectively uses multiple databases to search the appropriate literature.  



GA5, GA8

Critique of Scientific Journal Article

This task is designed to further develop critical thinking, analytical and advanced communication skills



GA4, GA5, GA9

Literature Review

Enables students to justify their choice of research question, theoretical or conceptual framework, and method; establish the importance of the topic; provide background information needed to understand the study; demonstrate their familiarity with significant and up to date research relevant to the topic; and establish their study as one link in a chain of research that is developing knowledge in the field


LO1, LO2, LO3

Ga4, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

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

Day, R.A. (2011). How to write and publish a scientific paper (7th Ed.). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.

Divan, A. (2009). Communication skills for the Biosciences: A graduate guide. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Katz, M. (2009). From research to manuscript: A guide to scientific writing (2nd ed). Springer: Dordrecht.

Lindsay, D. (2011). Scientific Writing = Thinking in Words. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

Murray, R. (2011). How to write a thesis (3rd Ed.). Open University Press: Philadelphia.

Reardon, D. (2006). Doing your undergraduate project. Sage Publications: California.

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

Thomas, J.R. Nelson, J.K. & Silverman, S.J. (2015). Research methods in physical activity (7th ed). Champaign: Human Kinetics.


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