USQ LogoCourse specification
The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at //
Please consult the web for updates that may occur during the year.

HSC8060 Research Project Design

Semester 2, 2014 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery

Contents on this page


Examiner: Don Gorman


Pre-requisite: HSC8050

Other requisites

Students must have completed a minimum of 6 courses in the MNSG including
HSC8050 Research Methodology for the Human Sciences before commencing this course.


Health Professionals from all disciplines need to be knowledgeable and critical consumers of research and have a sound understanding of the research design process. An important outcome of Masters level study is that learners should be able to design and execute independent projects in their workplace. This program is part of a 'capstone experience' that enables students to synthesise the knowledge and skills developed in earlier courses of their program into an approved professional project focused on a key aspect of their interest or specialisation.


With guidance from a member of academic staff as supervisor, students will plan and design an independent [research or evaluation] project which relates to their overall program of study. Should the student wish to implement this proposal as a research project, this can be completed by enrolling in HSC8070 Masters Project A and HSC8080 Masters Project B. This course is available through INTERNET DELIVERY ONLY. There are no print materials for this course.


The course objectives define the students learning outcomes for a course. The assessment items that may be used to assess student achievement of an objective are shown in parentheses. On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate the ability to plan and design an independent indepth research /evaluation project focused on a health related issue or topic of significance in the student's field of study in the masters program (all assessment items).
  2. demonstrate competence in and appropriate use of language and literacy, including spelling, grammar, punctuation and bibliographic referencing (all assessment items)
  3. demonstrate the ability to successfully complete an ethics application according to USQ
    Human Ethics guidelines (Ethics application)


Description Weighting(%)
1. Research Design - Selecting an appropriate method; Review of quantitative methods; Overview of qualitative methods, 15.00
2. Conducting a literature search; Selecting an appropriate tool for critique; Critically reviewing the literature 20.00
3. Project planning - design and development 35.00
4. Research Ethics - Risk and Benefit; Informed consent; Safety; The researcher/participant relationship; The impact of the researcher; Human Research ethics application process 30.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Polit, DF & Beck C.T 2012, Nursing Research: Generating and Assessing Evidence for Nursing Practice, 9th edn, Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, Philadephia.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Cozby, P 2004, Methods in behavioural research, 8th edn, McGraw Hill, Boston.
  • Dezin, N & Lincon Y 2000, Handbook of qualitative research, Sage, Thousand Oaks.
  • Leedy, P & Ormorod, J.E 2013, Practical research: planning and design, 10th edn, Pearson, Upper Saddle River, NJ.
  • Liamputtong, P 2013, Qualitative research methods, 4th edn, OUP, South Melbourne.
  • Liamputtong, P 2013, Research methods in health: Foundations for evidence-based practice, 2nd edn, OUP, South Melbourne.
  • Lincon, Y.S & Denzin, N.K 2003, In the Landscape of qualitative research: theories and issues, Sage, Thousand Oaks.
  • Polgar, S & Thomas, S.A 2000, Introduction to research in the health sciences, 4th edn, Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh.
  • Polit, D.F & Beck, C.T 2012, Nursing research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice, 9th edn, Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.
  • Streubert, H.T & Carpenter D.R 2011, Qualitative research in Nursing: Advancing the humanistic imperative, 5th edn, Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.
  • Yin, R.K 2003, Case study research: Design and methods, 3rd edn, Sage, Thousand Oaks.
  • SAGE Research methods Online through USQ Library Datatbases.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Directed Study 20.00
Private Study 130.00
Supervisor Consultation 15.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
RESEARCH PROPOSAL & ETHICS APP 100 100 31 Oct 2014 (see note 1)

  1. See Assessment notes

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    There is one assessment comprised of three components. To satisfactorily complete the assessment for this course a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks. Students have to satisfactorily complete each assessment part to be awarded a passing grade in this course. Refer to Statement 4 below for the requirements to receive a passing grade in this course.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total marks available for the each component of the assessment in the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grade for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks obtained for each of the assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    As there are no examinations there will be no Deferred or Supplementary examinations in this course.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the
    USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This should be sent to USQ within
    24 hours of receipt of a request from the Examiner to do so.

  3. The examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. The student is not expected to formally conduct the research as a one-unit course, but will plan and develop a research project including a completed ethics application form to USQ Human Ethics guidelines to demonstrate the capacity for successful planning of a research project. The research proposal shall include: (a) An overview of the theoretical and practical literature guiding the research. (b) A statement of the aims of the investigation and of specific hypotheses/research question. (c) A detailed description of the Method to be used in the project including the participants to be selected, method of selection/recruitment, measures/assessments/testing/interview protocols to be used and procedures for administering these. (d) A description of the model guiding the statistical analyses to be used. In the case of qualitative data, a description of the proposed coding method and content analyses should be outlined. (e) A list of all references made in the proposal. (f) An Appendix with letters, measures etc. (g) In most cases the literature review, method and analyses sections will not exceed a total of 20 pages. (h) An ethics applications using USQ Human Ethics guidelines. (i) The Research Proposal and Ethics Application should be submitted to the Examiner by the specified dates.

  5. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded the temporary grade: IM (Incomplete - Make up). An IM grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  6. APA style is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use APA ) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide. //

Other requirements

  1. IT requirements
    Students should visit the USQ minimum computing standards to check that their computers are capable of running the appropriate software and versions of Internet web browsers and to check the
    minimum and recommended standards for software