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

Ensuring the successful outcome of a research project requires good scientific knowledge as well as careful planning and attention to detail. This unit will support students to acquire advanced theoretical and technical knowledge necessary for the development of an Honours research proposal, including the associated ethical and practical considerations.  Using a combination of interactive seminars and supplementary online material, students will be guided in the development of a clear and cogent research proposal that builds on the critical appraisal and literature review skills developed in HLSC401 Fundamental Research Skills in Biomedical and Health Sciences. Development of communication skills will enable students to develop the capabilities needed for the presentation of scientific submissions, reports, and manuscripts.  The unit aims to assist students to develop knowledge and skill in research planning appropriate to Honours research.

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 demonstrate an understanding of the ethical issues associated with scientific research (GA1, GA2, GA3)

LO2 develop a research proposal that is appropriate for the aims and scope of their individual research project (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8)

LO3 outline effective strategies for the planning and ongoing management of an independent research project (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8)

LO4 effectively communicate a research proposal using both oral and written formats (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 

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 


topics will include:

Stating the question

Providing a rationale

Formulating an hypotheses, research question and/or research aim.


Limitations and delimitations

Providing definitions


Managing a research project

Time management

Project planning


Risk management


Contingency planning

Managing participant involvement


Ethical concerns in research

Ethics process

National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research Involving Humans

Australian Code for Responsible Conduct in Human Research

The Declaration of Helsinki

Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes

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, cooperative and experiential learning experience. The unit is underpinned with approaches designed to support acquisition of knowledge needed to develop a deep understanding of key concepts related to conducting research in biomedical and health sciences (this unit complements HLSC401 Fundamental Research Skills in Biomedical and Health Sciences). The approaches used to facilitate students’ deep understanding of research methods include a combination of interactive seminars and supplementary online materials supplementary online materials in a one-week intensive. Activities designed to further inform and support skill development and application of those skills related to research methods follows this theoretical understanding. These activities will take the form of peer-based learning using discussion forums and peer to peer observation, as well as discipline/project specific development activities led by individual Honours supervisors. 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 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

In this unit, assessment tasks are planned to progressively support students learning in alignment with the learning and teaching strategy. 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 develop a successful Honours project. Assessment strategies include the use of:

(i) authentic assessment tasks that directly reflect the skills and knowledge developed in the unit (i.e., assessing the ethical issues of a project, communicating information to a broad scientific audience, developing a comprehensive research proposal)

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

Assessment 1 requires students to identify ethical issues within a proposal similar to those they may encounter with their own project and propose appropriate mitigation strategies.

Assessment 2 allows students to demonstrate their presentation skills and understanding of the literature by presenting the rationale for their Honours project.

Assessment 3 requires students to develop a proposal for their project in the form of a grant application, combining their scientific knowledge of the subject area with a compelling strategy to ensure successful completion of the project. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Ethics Case Study:

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



GA1, GA2, GA3

Study Rationale (Oral Presentation)

This task is designed to further develop critical thinking and oral communication skills




Written Proposal

Require students to demonstrate their application of ethical and research knowledge and skills by developing and presenting an evidence-based project in a formal written manner. Students will also demonstrate their ability to identify potential issues with the management of their project and establish mitigation strategies


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

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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