Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


(HLSC640 Interpreting Health Research OR HLSC641 Introduction to Health Sciences Research ) AND EITHER (HLSC646 Qualitative Research Methods OR HLSC647 Quantitative Research Methods OR HLSC642 Biostatistics for Health Sciences )

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit is the first part of the implementation of the capstone research project component of the Master of Rehabilitation (Speech Pathology) and requires students to implement a research project planned and developed in consultation with an approved ACU supervisor whilst undertaking prerequisite units. The ACU supervisor ensures capstone projects are meaningful and contribute new knowledge to the discipline and field. In addition, supervisors will ensure projects have been designed to "demonstrate the application of knowledge and skills to plan and execute a substantial research-based project" (AQF 9). This unit is the first of two research units which aim to extend the body of knowledge for Speech Pathologists and provide students with the foundation for future self-directed learning and 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 - Implement a supervised research project adhering to ethical principles as stated in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research or follow internationally accepted guidelines for other types of research projects (GA2, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA10)

LO2 - Manage a research project as scheduled, making critical decisions regarding development of work in progress in consultation with Supervisor (GA3, GA4, GA6, GA7, GA9)

LO3 - Critically appraise and discuss the background literature and justify the project methodology (GA4, GA6, GA7, GA9)

LO4 - Critically evaluate the research process, identifying problems and their solutions during the formative and audit / data collection stages of a research project (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10)

Graduate attributes

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 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

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.


Students will commence a research project chosen in consultation with their supervisor. Students will be required to collect and collate research data in preparation for analyses in relation to the research question/s. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is offered in multi-mode and online delivery for specific on and offshore cohorts with the aim of facilitating enquiry based learning. In this unit, students will work both independently and in collaboration with their supervisor(s). Students will be mentored and supported in their learning by their supervisor(s) who will provide regular guidance and maintain contact with the student.  

Mentorship and supervision is facilitated through face-to-face on-campus meetings, or by telephone or electronic communication between student and ACU staff mentor. A range of student-centred learning and teaching strategies will be adopted such as: 

  • regular meetings between mentor and student 
  • guidance regarding conduct of project, data entry to prepare for analyses and report presentation 

Assessment strategy and rationale

Assessments have been developed to guide the students in their preparation and implementation of the first stage of a capstone project aimed at reflecting the advanced level of professional knowledge and skills, enhanced critical analysis and professional writing style as developed in the Master’s program. Assessments for the unit incorporate a constructivist approach providing for a broad range of tasks aligned to andragogic principles of adult learning facilitating choice and self-direction for the post graduate student. The progress report provides students with the opportunity to provide an initial report regarding their research project. In the oral presentation, students will demonstrate their learning and reflections regarding the decision-making pertaining to implementing their research project. The project report provides students the opportunity to present a scholarly academic work outlining the evidence, rationale and methodology underpinning their research project. Scheduling of assessments will be equitable for both modes of delivery. Assessment tasks may be delivered and assessed locally with moderated according to University Policies and Procedures. All assessments will be submitted electronically. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written project progress report  

Enables students to report on research scope, progress and plan for completion 


LO1, LO2

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA9, GA10


Enables students to present a critical reflection of the process of implementing and undertaking their project demonstrating advanced critical thinking 

Individual 15 minutes 


LO1, LO2, LO4

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Project Report  

Enables students to prepare a comprehensive, well-documented and appropriately referenced written research report according to specified guidelines 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Barton, B & Peat, J (2014). Medical Statistics A Guide to SPSS, Data Analysis and Critical Appraisal. 3rd Edition. Hoboken: Wiley.  

Bowling, A, & Ebrahim, S (2007). Handbook of health research methods: Investigation, measurement and analysis. Maidenhead, U.K.: Open University Press.  

Creswell, JW, & Piano Clark, VL (2018) Designing and Conducting Mixed Methods Research. 3rd ed. Thousand OaksSage Publications 001.42 CRE 

Creswell, J (2018). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (Fourth edition; International student ed.). 300.72 CRE 

Denzin, N, & Lincoln, Y (2011). The Sage handbook of qualitative research (5th ed.). Los Angeles: Sage Publications 300.72 SAG 

Galvan, J L.(2017). Writing Literature Reviews: A Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. London: Routledge.  

Glasziou, P, Irwig, L, Bain, C, & Colditz, G (2001) Systematic reviews in health care: A practical guide.  Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.  

Herbert, R, Jamtvedt, G Hagen, KB & Mead, J (2011) Practical Evidence based Physiotherapy. 2nd ed. Edinburgh, Churchill Livingstone 615.82 HER 

Higgins, JPT & Green, S Eds. (2008) Cochrane handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. Chichester, UK. Wiley-Blackwell.  

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

NHMRC (2000). How to review the evidence: systematic identification and review of the scientific literature. Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra  

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