Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


SPHY204 Speech Disorders (Developmental) SPHY209 Speech disorders (developmental) and hearing data-versionlabel=1 SPHY205 Motor Speech Disorders (Acquired) SPHY201 Language Disorders (Developmental) SPHY202 Language Disorders (Acquired)

Unit rationale, description and aim

Speech pathologists are expected to provide evidence based management across the range of practice areas to ensure that clients have access to the most appropriate services. Competency in evidence based speech pathology practice is also a requirement for entry into the speech pathology profession as university graduates accredited by Speech Pathology Australia.

Students in this unit will advance and apply the knowledge of EBP they established in SPHY104 by integrating academic knowledge with clinical reasoning thereby positioning them to make sound decisions regarding research design and utilization of research in clinical practice. Students will demonstrate application of critical thinking to all aspects of the research process including (a) in-depth evaluation of the speech pathology and broader health sciences literature; (b) interpretation of the clinical importance of research findings to identify implications for practice and research; and (c) the written and verbal communication of evidence-based clinical decision making in the field of speech pathology.

The aim of this unit is to facilitate the development of applied knowledge and skills required for evidence-based practice through the explicit learning of theoretical concepts and application to clinical case scenarios. This will ensure that students to become competent in clinical-research decision making so that clients have access to the most appropriate services.

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 knowledge of the purpose and structure of health science research designs (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO2 - Use knowledge of research questions, design and data analysis to support clinical evaluation and synthesis to inform clinical decisions (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO3 - Apply appropriate research design/s to address topical research questions related to speech pathology management (GA3, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9)

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 


Topics will include:

Consideration across all content will be alignment with the Competency Based Occupational Standards for Speech Pathologists (CBOS, 2011) range indicators. 


Principles and processes of evidence based practice for speech pathology practice

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


Critical evaluation of the purpose 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 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 speech pathology practice 

  • risks, benefits, and costs involved in maintaining or changing practice


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

This unit utilises an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of the essential knowledge associated with reading and understanding research within the professional context. Using a blended learning strategy, students are able to integrate academic knowledge with clinical reasoning thereby positioning them to make sound decisions regarding research design and utilization of research in clinical practice. This happens through a combination of face-to-face lectures, pre-recorded online lectures as appropriate, and interactive face to face tutorials. 

Face to face lectures, which are recorded for students to review upon demand, are primarily utilized to deliver core teaching material. Delivering material in a lecture format allows for the rapid coverage of key factual information that students require in order to commence their understanding of key concepts. Tutorials will include small group, collaborative learning with students engaging in active discussion and application of the theoretical content and practical application. This will allow students to learn and practice skills within a supported and safe teaching space. 

Using real clinical case scenarios and targeted research literature will enable students to demonstrate critical thinking in all aspects of the research process and develop a deep understanding of how the research may impact clinical practice. This unit involves 125 hours of learning.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In this unit students are required to demonstrate an integration of academic knowledge with clinical reasoning and demonstrate how this approach may be used to formulate sound clinical decisions from an evidence-based perspective. 

Achievement of learning outcomes will be determined by a variety of assessment methods, which will primarily measure the student’s understanding of the discipline specific knowledge inherent in this unit and its application within a professional context. Quizzes will be used to assess content knowledge acquired via lecture-based content. This will allow students to demonstrate knowledge of the purpose and structure of health science research designs (LO1). 

The critical review assessment will enable students to apply their knowledge of research questions, design and data analysis to inform clinical decisions (LO2). 

The presentation will provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and application of research designs in addressing clinical questions, and to make connections between theory and clinical practice (LO3). 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes


Students demonstrate factual knowledge of quantitative and qualitative research design and its application.



GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8

Critical review 

Students use evidence based practice processes to critically review publication data (qualitative and/or qualitative) regarding a Speech Pathology Australia range of practice area. 


LO1, LO2

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8


Oral presentation demonstrating knowledge of evidence based practice as applied to a Speech Pathology Australia range of practice area.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Portney, L.G. & Watkins, M.P. (2009) Foundations of clinical research, applications to

practice (3rd ed.).  Pearson Prentice Hall.


Hoffmann, T, Bennett, S., & Del Mar, C. (Eds.) (2013). Evidence-based practice across

the health professions (2nd ed.). Chatswood, NSW: Churchill Livingstone, 2009.


Liamputtong, P. (Ed.) (2012). Research Methods in Health: Foundations for Evidence-

Based Practice. (2nd ed.). Melbourne: O.U.P. 


Perry, A., Morris, M. & Cotton, S. (2009). Handbook for Allied Health Researchers.

Menzies Foundation.

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