NURSING 7102 - Research Literacy

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2019

This course is designed to familiarise students with the methodologies used in health research. Students will learn about empirical methods such as experimental studies and also the fundamentals of interpretive and critical methodologies, such as phenomenology. The aim is for students to learn how to read and critically evaluate research relating to their practice.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code NURSING 7102
    Course Research Literacy
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Nursing School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Face to Face weekly compulsory sessions for international students as per ESOS compliance.
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Restrictions Available to M.NurSc and G.DipNurSc students only
    Course Description This course is designed to familiarise students with the methodologies used in health research. Students will learn about empirical methods such as experimental studies and also the fundamentals of interpretive and critical methodologies, such as phenomenology. The aim is for students to learn how to read and critically evaluate research relating to their practice.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Philippa Rasmussen

    Course Coordinator: Assoc. Prof. Judy Magarey 
    Phone: +61 8 831 6055

    School Office
    Phone: +61 8 8313 3595
    Location: Level 4 AHMS
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    1 Introduction to course

    Research evidence & searching the literature.

    Research Paradigms

    2 Research ethics

    3 Introduction to statistics, descriptive statistics and correlation

    4 Hypothesis testing and Inferential statistics

    5 Statistics: different tests for different purposes

    6 Descriptive designs

    Mid-Semester Break

    Mid-Semester Break

    7 Experimental & quasi-experimental designs and epidemiology

    8 Critique of empirical & analytical research

    9 Interpretive & critical designs- managing qualitative data

    10 Ethnography / phenomenology

    11 Grounded theory/ critical research /Action Research 

    12 Critique of Interpretive & critical research

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Conduct an effective search of the published literature using health science data bases.
    2 Explain the ethical principles relating to the conduct of research.
    3 Explain the philosophical underpinnings of the various approaches used in health research
    4 Distinguish between the empirical and interpretive and critical methods of research.
    5 Explain the use of common statistical methods used for analysis in health research
    6 Explain interpretive and critical approaches used in health research
    7 Critique the research literature in order to assess its applicability to current professional practice.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1, 3, 4,5,6,7
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1,2, 3,4,5,6
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1,3, 7
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    Note this text is also available as a E Book 

    Schneider, Z, Whitehead, D, LoBionodo, G. Haber, J. 2013, Nursing & Midwifery Research, 4th edn, Mosby, Elsevier, Sydney.

    Note this text is also available as a E Book 

    Please note a 2016 edition is to be released, see below. If you are able to purchase this text please use the appropriate sections, the given page numbers will not be correct. 

    At the end of each week’s learning you will find a list of suggested supplementary readings, which are optional and for your interest only. These supplementary readings comprise two textbooks and a compilation of articles, which are available in the library. At the end of the study guide you will find some notes on statistics. These may help you in learning the language of empirical research.

    The readings for this course are available electronically via MyUni.
    Please note: it is your responsibility to organise printing should you prefer a hard copy of the readings.

    Recommended Resources

    Burns, N & Grove, SK 2014, Understanding Nursing Research Building an Evidence-Based Practice,6th edn, Elsevier Saunders, St Louis.

    Polgar, S & Thomas, S 2013, 6th Edition. Introduction to research in the health sciences, Churchill Livingstone, Elsevier Edinburgh.

    Streubert Speziale, H & Carpenter, D 2011, Qualitative research in nursing advancing the humanistic imperative, 5th edn, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.Burns, N & Grove, SK 2011, Understanding Nursing Research Building an Evidence-Based Practice, 5th edn, Elsevier Saunders, St Louis.

    Note: You are not required to buy recommended texts. However, they provide valuable supplementary reading on various aspects of the material covered within this course and you are encouraged to have a look at them.
    Online Learning
    Virtual Classroom and Workshops
    There will be two optional on campus workshops in Week 8 and Week 13/Swot Week. Off campus students may attend virtual classroom sessions or sessions will be recorded and be available on MyUni.

    All students enrolled in a postgraduate coursework nursing program have access to the School of Nursing – Postgraduate Coursework Student Centre on MyUni. If you would like the opportunity to network with other students, you can use the Communication features in the site. This site will also feature information about the latest news and events at the School of Nursing.

    UNIFIED is your one-stop shop for email, calendar, MyUni and Access Adelaide. It even allows you to search the Library.
    UNIFIED is available to all active students; with a single login you can access your student systems and personal information through a central website. Login with your Student ID ("a1234567") and Password.

    For more information, including easy to follow instructions visit

    Library Resources
    Help for Nursing Students
    The University of Adelaide Library has a website to help nursing students use the library and its resource (

    Remote student library service
    The University of Adelaide Library provides a document delivery and loans service to non-metropolitan students who do not visit a University of Adelaide campus to attend classes (
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will be delivered through the Flexible Learning Mode.

    Lectures will be available on MyUni as Podcasts or PowerPoint presentations and optional virtual classroom sessions and on campus workshops will be held during the semester. It is expected that you will listen to the lectures and if you have any queries contact me via email or phone. If you have difficulty accessing the lectures please contact the Student Liaison Officer.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    It is expected that you will need to spend about 12 hours of study a week to successfully complete this course. This includes reading, completing activities, attendance at the optional workshops and listening to podcasts. Thus some weeks it will be more and others less. It is recommended that you plan your time commitment to the course at the beginning of the semester.
    Learning Activities Summary
    This course is designed to familiarise students with the methodologies used in health research. Students will learn how to search the literature and evaluate the evidence they find relating to their practice. In addition the ethical issues relating to research will be considered. The various approaches to health research will be presented. These will include empirical methods such as clinical trials and epidemiology. In addition critical and interpretive approaches such as phenomenology and ethnography will be discussed. This will give students the knowledge and skills required to evaluate research they locate in the literature in order to decide whether to apply the findings to practice.

    Lecture topics:
    1 Introduction to course
    Research evidence and searching the literature
    Research Paradigms
    2 Research ethics
    3 Introduction to statistics, descriptive statistics and correlation
    4 Hypothesis testing and Inferential statistics
    5 Statistics: different tests for different purposes
    6 Descriptive designs
    7 Experimental and quasi-experimental designs and epidemiology
    8 Critique of empirical and analytical research
    9 Interpretive and critical designs - managing qualitative data
    10 Ethnography / phenomenology
    11 Grounded theory / critical research /Action Research 
    12 Critique of Interpretive and critical research
    Specific Course Requirements
    The course is offered in a blended learning mode so students need to access materials on MyUni. All lectures and Pod-Casts are on MyUni. There are two optional workshops during the semster.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Assessment Type Weighting Learning Outcome(s) being addressed
    Search of the literature (250 words) Formative 0% 1
    Weekly online activities quizzes and statistical calculations (1,500 word equivalent) Summative 40% 1-7
    Critique of qualitative or quantitative research (2000 words) Summative 60% 1-7
    Assessment Detail

    Assessment 1: Search of the literature

    Weighting: 0% formative assessment

    Length: 250 words

    Write a simple research question related to your practice. Briefly justify your choice of topic. Conduct a search of the literature using one of the data bases on the nursing website. Briefly discuss how you conducted the search including, justification for selection of the data-base/s and decisions regarding search terms used and focusing the search. In addition discuss what criteria you should use to decide which papers to retrieve when multiple papers are located. This activity must be referenced. Do not reference the Study Guide or course notes. You need to demonstrate you can use the University library data bases to search the literature. The word count excludes the reference list. Please note you need to provide evidence of why you conducted the search in the chosen manner (using the literature). The activity is designed to assess your searching technique, rather than what you actually found. Please do not list the references you found.

    Assessment 3: Weekly quizzes and statistical calculations

    Weighting: 40%

    Length: Equivalent to 1500 words

    It is suggested that you complete these weekly. Note there are quizzes for weeks 2-7 and 9-12. None for week 1 or week 8. 

    At the end of most week’s learning there are online quizzes. These will be a include statistical calculations. The lectures, your prescribed texts and readings will assist you to complete these activities. They will be marked online.

    Assessment 4: Critique of research

    Weighting: 60%

    Length: 2000 words


    You are required to critique a quantitative or qualitative paper. You
    will find the paper on Canvas. You must
    use the correct table provided in the folder to structure your critique.
    You do not need to write an introduction or conclusion. You must justify your comments
    using the peer reviewed  literature and
    provide references. Do not reference the study guide. We need to see you can
    search the literature effectively to find references to support your arguments.
    You need to make sure that you do not
    simply summarise the paper, but critique the research according to the given criteria.

    If critiquing the quantitative paper

    example, to critique a randomised controlled trial, make sure that you read the
    literature about how this type of study should be conducted and reported. For
    example, have they randomised the subjects to a control and intervention group?
    If so did they describe how this was done? For the critical and interpretive
    approach, ask yourself are the methods congruent with the chosen approach?

    If critiquing the qualitative paper

    example if the researchers have stated that the study was a phenomenology, is
    the study designed to describe or interpret a particular ‘lived experience’?
    You need to search the literature around the chosen research method to support
    your discussion. You will need to ensure you are succinct as you have a word
    limit of 1000 words. Submit through TurnItIn assessment 4.  The critique will be marked according to the
    criteria in this study guide. Do not reference the actual paper unless directly
    quoting which should be avoided.

    not reference the Study Guide or course notes. You
    need to demonstrate you can use the University library data bases to search the
    literature. Reference lists are not
    included in the word count.  

    Assessments, unless otherwise stated in your Study guide, are to be submitted electronically via MyUni on the due date identified in this Study guide. Instructions for assignment submission are available for all students under Tutorials at

    An assessment submitted via MyUni must be submitted as a .doc, .docx or .rtf file. If submitting a PowerPoint presentation for marking, the .ppt or .pptx must be submitted as .pdf file. It is also important to submit your file under your name, such as surname.firstname. MyUni stamps all the other details against your filename once you submit your assessment.

    If you have difficulty submitting your assignment, you can call the MyUni helpdesk from 8am to 6pm 08 8303 3335.

    Information on how to submit an assignment is avialble on MyUni.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Students are reminded that plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty constitute a serious offence and can result in disciplinary procedures. Students are advised to read the policy Academic Honesty and Assessment Obligations for Coursework Students Policy & Coursework Students: Academic Dishonesty Procedures policy, available at The following definitions should be noted.

    Referencing: providing a full bibliographic reference to the source of the citation (in a style as determined by the School).
    Quotation: placing an excerpt from an original source into a paper using either quotation marks or indentation, with the source cited, using an approved referencing system in order to give credit to the original author.
    Paraphrasing: repeating a section of text using different words which retain the original meaning.
    Please note: changing just a few words does not constitute paraphrasing.


    Critique of research (follow this guide for each paper, Use the template available on MyUni)

    Structure and Writing Style 25%
    Structure (15%)
    • Introduces the paper
    • Clearly describes the way in which the critique will proceed.
    • The critique is structured in a logical sequence so that the content flows (headings may be used to develop the structure of the paper).
    • The critique ends with a cogent, defendable conclusion that summarises the discussion within the body of the paper.
    Writing Style (10%)
    • The critique is written with clear sentence structure, clarity of argument and precision of expression and the spelling and grammar are correct.

    Content and Critical Analysis 60%
    • The student demonstrates a sound understanding of the chosen research approaches and a high degree of critical thought and insight.
    • The following has been critiqued in a in a balanced unbiased manner (discussing both positives and negatives where necessary).
    • The title and abstract, the chosen topic (phenomenon) and its relevance to practice.
    • Use of the literature and underlying assumptions.
    • The chosen theoretical framework and its presentation.
    • The selection of participants.
    • The method of data collection strategies and the relationship to the chosen methodology.
    • How the researcher/s considered ethical issues.
    • The analysis of the data (rigour –credibility, auditability, fittingness and confirmability).
    • The presentation of findings, recommendations and implications for healthcare.
    • The title and abstract, the chosen topic and its relevance to nursing.
    • Use of the literature, definition of terms and underlying assumptions.
    • Presentation of the hypothesis or research question. How the researcher/s considered ethical issues.
    • Methods sampling method and size- data collection, rigour of the study -issues of reliability and validity.
    Data analysis
    • Presentation of limitations of the research.
    • The presentation of findings, recommendations and implications for healthcare.

    Referencing 15%
    • the referencing style used throughout the paper is congruent with the School’s Student handbook and style guide
    • the reference list is accurate (i.e. no missing page numbers, volumes, correct title etc), complete (i.e. no references in the body of the paper are missing from the reference list) and consistent with the School’s Student handbook and style guide
    • the references cited are contemporary (i.e. less than 10 years old unless seminal papers)
    • primary references are used predominantly (i.e. the original reference has been cited rather than a secondary source)
    • there is evidence in the paper that the student has searched widely for information related to the topic/issue
    • the student has acknowledged all sources of information
    • direct quotations are only used to make crucial points or to support the discussion/argument.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    Feedback regarding SELTs

    Some of the comments related to workload. This has been reduced.

    MCN students indicated they found the course difficult. This is because it is a master's level course for Post Registration students as well as MCN. The MCN is considered to be a AQF level 9 program so it is expected students can study at this level.

    Many comments related to the difficulty in studying the course online. Weekly optional tutorial sessions were offered and the lecturers offered to meet with students. The face to face sessions were not well attended.

    There were complaints regarding the quizzes these were all derived from the learning content but these are reviewed annually.
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.