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PARA412 Honours Thesis (Part A)

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. This unit is directly linked to the pre-requisite unit, Honours Thesis (Part A), and complements the coursework portion of the degree by allowing students to use the research skills and discipline specific knowledge they have developed in a real world, research setting. The aim of these units is to report the results of a research project in the form of an academic thesis to be submitted for independent examination following the existing University policy.

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, and ethical process associated with their project through the acquisition of approval from the appropriate oversight committees (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA5, GA7)

LO2 - Conduct a critical review of the literature that is able to inform and direct the research to be undertaken (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9)

LO3 - Implement a program of research that will effectively address a relevant research question, including the design of appropriate research methods and analysis and interpretation of the resultant data (GA3, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA10)

LO4 - Effectively communicate on the outcomes of that research program in a manner consistent with well-recognised and prescribed academic practice specific to the discipline (GA4, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10)

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

GA3 - Apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

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:

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 prepare and present a systematic or narrative review of the literature, a discussion of the method chosen, describe their results, and discuss the implications and conclusions of their findings.

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 the skills and knowledge gained within the Honours coursework units and Honours Thesis (Part A) and apply it to their own research projects. The frequency of consultation might be expected to vary at different times in the process. For example, there might be a need for more regular contact during the actual formulation of the problem, at the commencement of the data collection and in the writing-up process. The supervision process, during which students will be encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and its successful outcomes, reflects respect for the student as an independent learner.

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. Assessment in this unit mimics the outcomes of research in the real world.

  1. The thesis assessment outcome for this unit acts as the capstone assessment for the degree, incorporating the skills students have developed in previous units in terms of designing, conducting and communicating a research project. In consultation with their supervisor or supervisory team, students may elect to submit their thesis in either a traditional or manuscript based thesis format.
  2. The oral presentation is a common communication method for researchers either reporting back to funding bodies and/or reporting their research outcomes to peers.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Ethics Approval

Approval from the appropriate Ethical Committee is mandatory for all research conducted in Australia and must be obtained prior to the start for data collection. This process is to ensure appropriate safeguards have been put in place to protect the rights and wellbeing of both participants and researchers. Students must submit the approval letter from the ACU HREC and the project’s assigned ethics approval number.

Hurdle Task


GA1, GA2, GA3, GA5, GA7

i) Submission by thesis

A manuscript of between 10,000 to 15,000 words including footnotes, but excluding bibliography. The body of the thesis should include a review of the literature, a description of the relevant methodology and the outcomes and interpretation of the research.


ii) Submission as a journal article

A wholly authored or significant contribution to a research article, suitable for submission to a journal with the word length dependent on the requirements of the specific journal. The manuscript must be accompanied by a literature review and expanded methods section or discussion of methodology of 5,000 to 7,500 words (Sections to be weighted as follows: Literature Review 10%, Journal Article 70%, Expanded Methods 20%)


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Oral Presentation

  1. Require students to demonstrate their skills in oral communication and the use of visual media by presenting the outcomes of their project.



GA4, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Baumgartner, T.A., Hensley, L.D., Zhu, W. & Hodges Kulinna, P. (2021). Conducting and reading research in kinesiology (6th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Gastel, B. & Day, R.A. (2017). How to write and publish a scientific paper (8th ed.). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.

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

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

Lindsay, D. (2020). Scientific Writing = Thinking in Words.  (2nd. Ed.). CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

Matthews, J.R., & Matthews, R.W. (2014). Successful scientific writing: a step by step guide for biomedical and medical sciences (4th ed.). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.

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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