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  • Term Mode
  • Semester 1Online Unscheduled



Unit rationale, description and aim

A defining characteristic of the modern-day educational professional is not merely specialised content knowledge, but also the ability to draw upon evidence to revise that knowledge and in so doing enhance and innovate professional practice.  Evidence-based decision making is now a term widely used across a range of educational contexts and it is therefore critical for educational practitioners to understand what constitutes valid evidence, how it has been produced, and in what ways such evidence can be applied. By fully understanding and utilising research, educational professionals can be leaders in their field and have a lasting impact on the future.

This unit is designed to provide students with an introductory understanding of various approaches to undertaking educational research and how educational research projects are designed and conducted. The unit provides a foundation for further studies in educational research by presenting students with a structured sequence of modules that cover broad research approaches such as quantitative, mixed-methods and qualitative methodologies while also encouraging student to be critical consumers of different forms of data and research findings.

The aim of the unit is to enable students to develop an understanding of the building blocks of conducting quality research and how to apply research evidence and findings appropriately and productively in an informed and ethical manner within their own professional workplace.

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.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Discuss advanced knowledge of key research principles, methodological approaches, and methods applicable to educational research ( APTS 6.2, 7.1)GC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC9, GC11
LO2Identify, analyse, and synthesise quality educational research literature ( APTS 6.2)GC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO3Evaluate various methodological traditions and scholarly research practices and the appropriateness of using these to conduct research across diverse educational settings ( APTS 6.3)GC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC8, GC9
LO4Design a feasible applied research project ( APTS 6.3, 7.1)GC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11


On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards

6.2 Identify and plan professional learning needs

Plan for professional learning by accessing and critiquing relevant research, engage in high quality targeted opportunities to improve practice and offer quality placements for pre-service teachers where applicable.

6.3 Engage with colleagues and improve practice

Initiate and engage in professional discussions with colleagues in a range of forums to evaluate practice directed at improving professional knowledge and practice, and the educational outcomes of students. 

7.1 Meet professional ethics and responsibilities

Model exemplary ethical behaviour and exercise informed judgements in all professional dealings with students, colleagues and the community


Topics will include:

Module 1. Foundations of Educational Research

  • Principles guiding research within the discipline of education
  • Philosophical foundations of educational research
  • The role of theory

Module 2. Locating and critical appraisal of quality literature

  • Reviewing and synthesising 
  • Planning and writing a literature review

Module 3. Methodological designs and approaches

  • Quantitative v’s Qualitative Research
  • Mixed Methods, Participatory/Action Research and Policy and Discourse Analysis
  • Principals of data analysis and interpretation

Module 4. Developing a brief research proposal

  • Research Problem Statement
  • Description and justification of methodological approach
  • Ethics approval procedures

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is offered in offered in multimode and uses an active learning approach to support students in the development of knowledge, skills, and critical insights related to a wide range of research methods. Students are introduced to the key principles of research design through a combination of lectures, online tutorials, and scholarly literature. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, online discussion, webinars, case studies podcasts, workshops, self-directed learning tasks and assignments.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total.

Mode of delivery: This unit will be offered in one or more of modes of delivery described below, chosen with the aim of providing flexible delivery of academic content.

  • On Campus: Most learning activities or classes are delivered at a scheduled time, on campus, to enable in-person interactions. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.
  • Intensive: In an intensive mode, students require face-to-face attendance on weekends or any block of time determined by the school. Students will have face-to-face interactions with lecturer(s) to further their achievement of the learning outcomes. This unit is structured with required upfront preparation before workshops. The online learning platforms used in this unit provide multiple forms of preparatory and practice opportunities for you students to prepare and revise. 
  • Multi-mode: Learning activities are delivered through a planned mix of online and in-person classes, which may include full-day sessions and/or placements, to enable interaction. Activities that require attendance will appear in a student’s timetable.
  • Online unscheduled: Learning activities are accessible anytime, anywhere. These units are normally delivered fully online and will not appear in a student’s timetable. 
  • Online scheduled: All learning activities are held online, at scheduled times, and will require some attendance to enable online interaction. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to demonstrate achievement of each of the learning outcomes. In addition, the tasks represent an opportunity to align with the needs of students and their professional and research contexts. Assessment one is based on an initial scan of the educational research literature related to a core topic or theme and provides an opportunity to examine how real-life examples of research projects have been designed and their findings published. Assessment two builds on this by requiring the development of a hypothetical scholarly research proposal that could potentially be implemented in an educational workplace or school setting. Combined this sequence of assessment tasks provides students with key skills and knowledge related to research design and practice and therefore serves as a foundation for higher degree studies.

In order to pass this unit, students are required to demonstrate achievement of the unit learning outcomes by submitting all assessment tasks and obtaining a combined final mark of at least 50 per cent.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1

Written Task: Critical review of a five high quality peer reviewed articles centred on core theme/topic


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 2

Written Task: Hypothetical scholarly research proposal that could potentially be implemented in an educational workplace or school setting.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references

Brooks, R., Te Riele, K., & Maguire, M. (2016). Ethics and education research. Sage.

Booth, A., Papaioannou, D., & Sutton, A. (2016). Systematic approaches to a successful literature review (2nd ed.). Sage.

Bryman, A. (2016). Social research methods. Oxford University Press.

Cohen, L., Manion, L. and Morrison, K. (2011). Research Methods in Education. Routledge.

Creswell, J., & Guetterman, T. (2019). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (6th ed.). Pearson.

Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S., (2008). Collecting and interpreting qualitative materials. Sage

Denzin, N. K., Lincoln, Y. S., & Smith, L. T. (Eds.). (2008). Handbook of critical and indigenous methodologies. Sage.

Fink, A. (2013). Conducting research literature reviews: From the internet to paper (4th ed.). Sage.

Hobson, C., & McCartan, K. (2015). Real world research (5th ed.). Wiley.

Johnson, B., & Christensen, L. (2009). Educational research quantitative, qualitative, and mixed method approaches (3rd ed.). Pearson Education.

Mills, G. E. (2014). Action research: A guide for the teacher research. (5th ed.). Pearson.

Shay, M. (2021). Extending the yarning yarn: Collaborative Yarning Methodology for ethical Indigenist education research. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education50(1), 62-70.

Yin, R. (2009). Case study research: Design and methods (applied social research methods). Sage.

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