Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

The thesis units form the capstone of the Honours degree. These supervisor-led units respect the individual as an independent and active learner, allowing them to further develop and implement their theoretical and technical knowledge and skills by designing, conducting and communicating a research project in a collaborative and collegial environment. Under their supervisors guidance, 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 HLSC511 Communicating Research in Biomedical and Health Sciences, and directly links with the subsequent Honours Thesis (Part B) unit. The aim of this unit is to develop in students their ability to communicate their understanding of research field in a succinct, critical and compelling manner.

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 - Conduct a comprehensive literature search in a chosen research area(s) (GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO2 - Conceptually map a logical and persuasive literature review (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9)

LO3 - Conduct a critical review of the literature that is able to inform and direct the research to be undertaken (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9)

Graduate attributes

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


A specific research topic will be chosen in discussion with the allocated supervisor. It will be based on the student’s current knowledge base, expertise and interest. The student will be required to:

  1. Prepare and articulate a plan for their literature review; and
  2. present a systematic or narrative review of the literature that critically analyses and synthesises the literature within their chosen research topic.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning will be largely by means of a mentoring relationship with the allocated supervisor. Students will be expected to meet regularly with their supervisor on an individual basis and encouraged to draw on and apply the knowledge gained within Honours coursework units to their own research projects. The frequency of consultation might be expected to vary at different times in the process and reflects respect for the student as an independent learner who takes responsibility for their own learning and its successful outcomes. Meetings with the lecturer in charge throughout the semester will provide an opportunity for students to reflect on their own progress and identify where further support or skill development may be required. As part of these meetings, formative feedback on the progress and development of their literature review will be provided via ungraded hurdle tasks to ensure students remain on track for a successful project completion.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to best enable students to demonstrate unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. The single assessment outcome for this unit acts as part of the capstone assessment for the degree, incorporating the skills students have developed in previous units in terms of identifying, synthesizing, critiquing and communicating scientific outcomes within a given research field. Development of the final assessment piece will be aided by a series of structured, formative assessments to help ensure students are progressing appropriately and identify the potential need for any additional support.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Literature Review Plan

Develop a search or series of search strategies which will enable students to devise a plan for, and critically discuss, the development of the literature review. The first 2 hurdle tasks are envisaged as 15 min meetings (i.e., zoom or face to face) with the LIC. These would be spread throughout the semester (e.g. wk 4 and 8). The goal is to encourage the student to engage early with their writing to help ensure the best possible outcome and provide pastoral care in terms of supervision and students perception of progress. This is perhaps most important for students whose primary supervisor sits outside of the Schools in either a research institute (e.g. MMHRI or SVI) or clinical environment.

Hurdle Task


GA4, GA5, GA8

Reflection Task

Students will critically reflect on their initial search strategies, literature review plan and project progress. This task will enable students to reflect on their development as researchers and consider different strategies for the successful completion of their project.

Hurdle Task


GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Literature Review

Students are required to submit a systematic or narrative literature review of an area of research, which will enable them to demonstrate their ability to conduct a comprehensive literature search and present a coherent overview of the literature in a synthesized form.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Baumgartner, T.A. & Strong, C.H. (2012). Conducting and reading research in kinesiology (5th ed.). McGraw-Hill. Sydney:

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.

Machi, L.A., & McEvoy, B.T. (2016). The literature review: six steps to success (3rd ed.). Corwin: California.

Matthews, J.R., & Matthews, R.W. (2014). Successful scientific writing: a step by step guide for biomedical and medical sciences (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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

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

Ridley, D. (2012). The literature review: a step-by-step guide for students (2nd ed.). Sage: London.

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