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OTHY104 Introduction to Evidence Based Practice and Measurement in Occupational Therapy

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

OTHY305 focuses on students learning to critically analyse the scientific literature to inform best practice occupational therapy service. Students are provided with the knowledge and skills needed to read research articles and translate findings into implications for clinical practice. Basic information about obtaining measurement scores and interpreting them is reviewed along with differing research designs applicable to different contexts. Overall, this unit aims to provide students with the necessary skills to become evidence-based clinicians.

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 - Work autonomously to locate, analyse, critique and synthesise research evidence found within the occupational therapy and broader health sciences literature (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10) 

LO2 - Use knowledge of research questions, design and data analysis to interpret clinical questions (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10)

LO3 - Work collaboratively to apply appropriate and ethical research design/s to address topical research questions related to diagnosis, prognosis, aetiology and intervention in occupational therapy (GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9)

LO4 - Identify knowledge translation strategies to promote evidence based practice in occupational therapy.(GA5,GA7,GA8,GA9,GA10)

LO5 - Analyse research processes and outcomes in relation to ethics; (ACU Graduate Attributes: (GA3,GA4, 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.

AOTCS 2018

Australian Occupational Therapy Competency Standards (AOTCS) 2018 developed in this unit are:

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

1. Professionalism

1.6  Incorporates and responds to historical, political, cultural, societal, environmental and economic factors influencing health, wellbeing and occupations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

1.7 Collaborates and consults ethically and responsibly for effective client-centred and interprofessional practice 

1.11 Maintains professional competence and adapts to change in practice contexts

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

2. Knowledge and Learning

2.2 Applies theory and frameworks of occupation to professional practice and decision-making

2.3. Identifies and applies best available evidence in professional practice and decision making

2.5. Maintains current knowledge for cultural responsiveness to all groups in the practice setting

2.6 Maintains and improves currency of knowledge, skills and new evidence for practice by adhering to the requirements for continuing professional development.

2.8. Reflects on practice to inform current and future reasoning and decision-making and the integration of theory and evidence into practice

2.9. Maintains knowledge of relevant resources and technologies

1, 3, 4

3. Occupational Therapy Process and Practice

3.11 Evaluates client and service outcomes to inform future practice

3.14 Contributes to quality improvement and service development

2, 4

4. Communication 

4.4 Uses culturally responsive, safe and relevant communication tools and strategies 

4.11 Identifies and articulates the rationale for practice to clients and relevant others

1, 4


Topics will include:

Principles and processes of evidence based practice for occupational therapy 

  • Constructing practice-related clinical questions 
  • Systematic, comprehensive literature searching
  • Research designs for clinical questions  

Critical evaluation of the purpose, analysis and structure of health science research designs within a quantitative paradigm:

  • Systematic reviews
  • Randomised controlled trials
  • Single subject design
  • Outcome measurement studies 
  • Cohort studies

Critical evaluation of the purpose, analysis and structure of health science research design within a qualitative paradigm:

  • Ethnographic research
  • Phenomenology
  • Grounded theory
  • Narrative research 

Apply evidence to clinical decision making for occupational therapy practice 

  • Risks, benefits, and costs involved in maintaining or changing practice
  • Knowledge translation

Ethical conduct in health science research 

  • participant selection, rights and responsibilities 
  • informed consent
  • confidentiality
  • non-maleficence and beneficence
  • medico-legal responsibilities
  • Human Research Ethics Committees 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

OTHY305 is designed as a flipped classroom, a form of blended learning involving more content/activities than face-to-face elements. Students engage in lower level cognitive learning activities such as online lectures, readings and preparatory questions to construct knowledge outside of the classroom. This knowledge is then applied during tutorials where students critically appraise the quality of a research article using a specific research design and consider implications for practice. In these interactive tutorials students work collaboratively in small and then large groups to synthesise and apply the out of class knowledge. This strategy is used to prepare the students as independent lifelong learners and evidence-based practitioners.

Assessment strategy and rationale

OTHY305 assesses the learning outcomes and graduate attributes through:

  • Assessment Task 1 - Online quizzes designed to provide fast feedback about foundational knowledge required for the application and synthesis of information in the unit activities and further assessments;
  • Assessment Task 2 - Group assignment: a critical appraisal of the literature task designed to provide the students with the opportunity to work collaboratively to think critically, apply, and synthesise information in an authentic task that prepares them for evidence-based practice; and
  • Assessment Task 3 - Written examination: short answer, scenario-based that assesses knowledge and comprehension and the ability to apply critical thinking, ethical perspectives and informed decision making and demonstrate knowledge translation, skills and attitudes appropriate to occupational therapy.

Students must pass Assessment Task 3 with a mark of 40% or greater to pass this unit. Students who achieve a cumulative 50% or greater overall for the unit, but do not achieve 40% or greater on Assessment Task 3, will be offered one re-sit of Assessment Task 3.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1 - Online Quiz

Assignment 1 involves students completing two online quizzes across the unit. These quizzes consist of multiple choice questions that assess content from lectures, tutorials and readings in this unit. The quizzes provide students with an excellent opportunity to test their understanding of key concepts explored in the unit.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 2 - Group Assignment

This assignment requires students work in a group to write a critically appraised paper on an allocated peer-reviewed journal article of a randomised control trial (RCT). This assignment will assist students to develop and apply the skills needed to critically appraise research literature, summarise research findings, and consider how the research evidence may be applied to occupational therapy practice. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9,GA10

Assessment Task 3 - Individual written examination

 Using short answer, qualitative and quantitative scenarios this individual written exam will assess students’ knowledge and comprehension and the ability to apply critical thinking, ethical perspectives and informed decision making and demonstrate knowledge, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to occupational therapy


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Creswell, J.W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. (3 rd ed.). SAGE Publications Inc.

Creswell, J.W. & Plano Clark, V.L. (2011). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. (3rd ed.) SAGE Publications Inc.

Hammell, K.W., Carpenter, C., & Dyck, I. (Eds) (2000). Using qualitative research: A practical introduction for occupational and physical therapists. Churchill Livingstone.

Hoffman, T., Benett, S. & Del Mar, C. (2017). Evidence-based practice across the health professions.  (3rd ed.). Churchill Livingston.

Kielhofner, G. (2006). Research in occupational therapy. F.A. Davis Company.

Liamputtong, P. (2017). Research methods in health: Foundations for evidence based practice. (3 rd ed.). Oxford University Press.

Liamputtong, P. (2013). Qualitative Research Methods. (3rd ed.). Oxford.

Minichello, V., Sullivan, G., Greenwood, K, & Axford, R. (Eds) (2004). Research methods for nursing and health science (2nd ed). Pearson Education Australia.

Plichta S. B. & Kelvin, E. (2012). Munro’s Statistical Methods for Health Care Research. (5th ed.). Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Polgar, S., & Thomas, S. (2008). Introduction to research in the health sciences (5th ed.). Elsevier Health Sciences.

Portney, L., & Watkins, M. (2009). Foundations of clinical research (3rd ed). Prentice-Hall Inc.

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