Course Title: Clinical Research Project

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Clinical Research Project

Credit Points: 24.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences

Distance / Correspondence

Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 2 2014

Course Coordinator: Prof Marc Cohen

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 99257440

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 202.4.14

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

It is assumed that students will have completed an appropriate research methods course and appropriate Grad Dip or equivalent.

Course Description

The research project is intended to be a workplace, community, clinical or literature based project that demonstrates the ability to conduct systematic inquiry involving problem identification and the acquisition, organisation and interpretation of information. The project requires students to demonstrate their ability for critical analysis and disciplined, rigorous, careful and scientific inquiry. This will usually involve identifying a body of literature, developing a research question, defining an appropriate methodology for answering the question and discussing how the results will be analysed and disseminated. 

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

As described

  • Review a body of literature and define specific research needs and an appropriate research question
  • Develop an appropriate research methodology to answer the research question
  • Create a research protocol including where appropriate, the development of a research team with defined roles
  • Articulate the requirements for carrying out the research including appropriate time lines, budget, resources, infrastructure etc
  • Write up the research in to a peer-reviewed journal article or grant application suitable for submission for peer review

Overview of Learning Activities

Conduct an approved research project and writing of a Minor Thesis. The project may involve:
• a traditional empirical research project or a study based on experimental single case design with ethics application;
• a critical review and pilot study and/or full grant application;
• a critical review and a meta analysis;
• a critical review and secondary data analyses;

The stages of the Project are:

Literature review
• Identify an area to be studied
• Review the body of scientific and other literature that discusses the area. This would usually include finding, understanding, collating and critiquing published empirical research findings relevant to a phenomenon or problem of interest
• Discuss the main unanswered questions arising from the literature and their significance to ongoing research and practice
• Identify the main research methodologies used that may assist in addressing the key questions
• Write up the literature review with appropriate referencing

Research question/hypotheses
• Identify the study aims and formulate key research questions and/or hypotheses to be answered

• Describe an appropriate study design and methodology to investigate the identified research question. This may involve the use of qualitative and/or quantitative methods and include designing interventions or other means to test hypotheses including designing and implementing evaluation strategies
• Discuss the scientific rigour associated with the chosen study design including its limitations and/or inherent biases
• Identify the ethical implications and requirements of the study. This may demonstrated by preparing an application to an appropriate Ethics Committee
• Outline an appropriate budget for conducting the research
• Define an appropriate data collection and analysis strategy
• Identify the expertise required to conduct the study. Where appropriate this may include building a research team and identifying required input from content experts, practice experts, industry stakeholders, statisticians, etc Building a research team will necessarily involve articulating your ideas to researchers and industry professionals in order to elicit their cooperation and feedback. This is an important process as it requires real world feedback on the intended research and provides a measure of your ability to grasp key ideas and articulate the research process to industry experts who can then assist in formulating a research design that is achievable, rigorous, appropriate and relevant.

Outline how the results are to be presented and how the analysis of results will be used to determine if the research question has been answered
Demonstrate an awareness of the issues regarding reliability and validity of observations, quality assurance of data and limitations of the analysis

Interpret the findings and discuss the results in the light of previous work.

Draw specific conclusion from the research. This may include implications for future research, recommendations for ongoing practice or modifications of existing practices or policies

Dissemination of findings
Discuss how the findings will be disseminated. This may include targeting specific peer-reviewed journals and/or conferences as well as online and other media strategies

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT has many online resources that can be found at the Postgraduate Information Skill Tutorial at

This page includes information on

• UNIT 1: Search strategy
• UNIT 2: Database searching
• UNIT 3: Locating full-text
• Referencing Guides
• EndNote: Managing Your References
• Searching the Internet
• Library Subject Guides
• Liaison Librarians
• Document Delivery Services

Other resources inlcude:
Conducting a literature Review

Using eResources

Referencing Guides

Using Endnote –includes download details and training resources

Overview of Assessment

The research must be written up, adhering to academic standards and presented as a report for assessment. The report must be no less than 5000 words and should include a substantial literature review. This report may take the final form of:
-a traditional thesis,
-a grant application,
-a peer-reviewed scientific journal article that includes a literature review and protocol design, research report or pilot study