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96035 Research Project 1

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health (GEM)
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject advances student's learning of basic research and inquiry skills and understanding of evidence-based medicine acquired in 96030 Introduction to Professional Practice. This subject aims to provide the skills necessary to critically evaluate scientific evidence in order to inform clinical decisions in practice. It also aims to give students a more comprehensive understanding of the research process, with a focus on epidemiological and clinical research. In particular, students learn research methodology and analysis of results, to develop an understanding of sound research design and discuss ethical conduct in research. This knowledge is then applied to critically evaluating scientific literature, using evidence from research to construct a scholarly argument, developing a research question and appropriately designing a project to answer a research question. This subject strongly emphasises learning through participation in the process of inquiry in orthoptic and ophthalmic research and incorporates aspects of problem-based learning to facilitate the development of critical thinking for lifelong learning.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

35.2. Apply ethical principles relevant to human research and ethical conduct as a health professional to research project design.
35.5. Design a qualitative or quantitative research project to address specific research questions, whilst demonstrating an understanding of sound methodology in the context of ethical and feasible research.
35.3. Evaluate statistical approaches to research questions acknowledging the limitations of specific designs and methods of analysis.
35.1. Integrate skills of evidence-based inquiry with knowledge acquired across the course in the critical appraisal and evaluation of scholarly literature that addresses questions related to orthoptic practice.
35.4. Utilise strong written communication skills to systematically review and synthesise scholarly evidence to highlight limitations of the evidence base and apply this to the formulation and justification of research questions.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

The learning outcomes for this subject are as follows:

  • Reflect on knowledge, attitudes and skills acquired for the evaluation and integration of emerging evidence into practice, promoting the growth of personal and professional learning and the education of others. (.02)
  • Analyse and synthesise knowledge of health sciences concepts and theory, and apply skills of scientific research and clinical reasoning to support decision-making in orthoptic practice. (.03)
  • Be an advocate for their patient, demonstrating sound, ethical, compassionate and respectful patient-focused care while acknowledging responsibility for personal health and wellbeing. (.05)
  • Effectively and accurately communicate to patients, their families, carers and members of the healthcare team and contributing to the wider role of health education and its promotion, acknowledging and adapting communication to address cultural and linguistic diversity. (.06)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

•Lifelong Learning
•Professional Capacity
•Global citizenship

Teaching and learning strategies

Students will be required to attend scheduled lectures and workshops on the weeks they are timetabled (weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12 and 13 of Calendar B). Additionally, times have been set aside for students to make individual appointments for feedback on choice and justification of their chosen research question (week 7) and methodological design for their proposed project (week 9) and in week 14 for final feedback on their assignment. The debate will be held in Week 8 and all are expected to attend. Students are expected to continue their research proposed, debate and assignment work outside of these allocated classes and appointments.

Project-based Learning: Learning in this subject is through participation in the identification of a research question based on a gap in the current scientific literature, critical appraisal of the quality of relevant published articles, writing a literature review on the chosen topic to be incorporated into a research proposal in a style that could form the basis of a grant application. This active participation in establishing a research question, writing a literature review and proposing an appropriate study methodology is designed to engage students in the research process and facilitate learning of research methods through practicing fundamental research skills. Supportive material and activities will also be provided on UTSOnline.

Research-integrated Learning: Research is a core skill for orthoptic practitioners who can engage in clinical and scientific research which they must approach in an ethical manner. They are also consumers of research that they must be able to critically evaluate to support evidence-based practice. In this subject students actively engage with the process of research and inquiry to develop critical thinking and research skills.

Active Lectures and workshops: Learning about research inquiry and ethical conduct are supported by lectures and workshops to guide the identification and development of a research question, the conduct of the literature review and scientific writing. Students are active participants in these classes and are encouraged to critically discuss published articles for the quality of the justification of the research question, robustness and ethical implications of the study methods and appropriateness of the statistical analysis and conclusions drawn. Benchmarking activities of exemplar assignments, small group discussion, critical evaluation of published work and hands-on statistical analysis and writing are some examples of activities conducted throughout the subject.

Collaborative Learning: As health professionals, teamwork is an essential skill to ensure patients are managed appropriately within interdisciplinary teams. Teamwork skills are developed through collaboration and discussion with peers in active lectures and workshops and providing and receiving peer feedback.

Ongoing Feedback: Student learning is supported by formative assessment strategy where students receive both formal and informal lecturer and peer feedback to improve their work and learn valuable skills in scientific writing. Students are provided with immediate feedback relating to their chosen research question by staff facilitated workshops. Small group and individual feedback sessions are conducted at relevant times throughout the semester. Opportunities for more structured feedback on assignments are given upon submission of the formative assignment and peer review prior to final submission.

Reflective Learning: Students are encouraged to critically reflect on their learning throughout the subject to identify areas where they may improve their performance and to assist in the development of lifelong learning skills. Specific activities where reflective learning is encouraged are; benchmarking activities using exemplars and asking students to engage with marking criteria, and reflection of their own work through peer evaluation of another students work and receiving peer feedback.

Content (topics)

Research Project 1 builds on the basic ethical principles and critical evaluation of literature taught in 96030 Introduction to Professional Practice. In addition, this subject will give students the necessary knowledge and skills to critically evaluating the literature, developing a research question and applying ethical principles in research, this subject prepares students for participation in Research Project 2 where students are required to conduct research and contribute to the current literature in the form of a dissertation. Learning in this subject is reinforced by the use of evidence-based practice skills in concurrently taught subjects; 96037 Therapy, Management and Rehabilitation and 96036 Neurological Ocular Disorders and is further built on in the final semester in 96039 Research Project 2, and 96040 Advanced Professional Practice.

Topics covered in this subject include: critical appraisal of scholarly literature, understanding epidemiological principles, basic statistics relevant to clinical research and the fundamentals of scientific writing.


Assessment task 1: Research Proposal Formative Assessment


The research proposal formative assessment is designed to provide feedback on the early stages of the development of the student’s final research proposal. It will determine the appropriateness of the students chosen topic of interest and the quality of evidence available to support the research question.


This task is aligned with the following subject learning objectives:

35.1, 35.2, 35.3, 35.4 and 35.5

This task is aligned with the following course learning outcomes:

.02, .03, .05 and .06

Type: Annotated bibliography
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 15%

Approximately 1000 words


Provided in class and via UTSOnline

Assessment task 2: Debate


This assignment aims to advance student’s skill in critical appraisal of the research literature and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the research related to their debate topic. In gathering data from available evidence, students will evaluate the scientific and clinical relevance of study findings and use this to develop a scholarly argument. Through this, students will further develop evidence-based practice skills, which are relevant and important for remaining up-to-date and for practicing as an ethical and evidence-based graduate health practitioner.


This task is aligned with the following subject learning objectives:

35.1 and 35.3

This task is aligned with the following course learning outcomes:

.02, .03 and .06

Type: Presentation
Groupwork: Group, group and individually assessed
Weight: 40%

Approximately 30 minutes, 5 minutes for each student.


See criteria provided in class and on UTSOnline.

Assessment task 3: Research Proposal Assignment


The research proposal assignment utilises student’s prior learning of evidence-based practice and critical appraisal of the literature, as well as student’s learning throughout semester related to research writing, project methodology, and statistics and research ethics. The assignment aims to put this prior learning in the context of a research proposal and to immerse students in the research process through investigating the research literature in an area of interest and the development of a project proposal in this area. It is intended that students will develop important skills related to project design and literature reviewing that can be employed on graduation in clinical practice and when participating in clinical research.


This task is aligned with the following subject learning objectives:

35.1, 35.2, 35.3, 35.4 and 35.5

This task is aligned with the following course learning outcomes:

.02, .03, .05 and .06

Type: Thesis
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 45%

Approximately 2600 words


Provided in class and via UTSOnline

Minimum requirements

Students must achieve a minimum of 50% of the subject’s total marks.

Required texts

Coursework Assessments Policy

Coursework Assessments Procedures

Graduate School of Health Policy, Guidelines and Procedures (login required)

Recommended texts

Greenhalgh, Trisha. How to read a paper: the basics of evidence-based medicine.

Hoffman, T, Bennet, S, Del Mar, C (2013) Evidence based practice across the health professions 2nd ed. Australia Elsevier Churchill Livingstone

Hek, Gill & Pam Moule. Making sense of research: an introduction for health and social care practitioners.

Elwood, Mark J. Criticial appraisal of epidemiological studies and clinical trials.