HEALTH 2000 - Experimental research in health sciences (Adv) II

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

This course develops students' formal knowledge of the design and implementation of experimental research with animals or humans. Topics will include the principles of experimental design, choice of animal model, features of rigorous randomized controlled trials, and high-quality systematic reviews of trials. Students will gain skills in the construction of hypotheses, basic statistical analysis and interpretation, and critical appraisal of published research. Students will also consider ethical conduct, science communication, and knowledge translation. Active-learning and real-world examples are emphasized in this course.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code HEALTH 2000
    Course Experimental research in health sciences (Adv) II
    Coordinating Unit Health Sciences Faculty Office
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Assumed Knowledge ANAT SC 1102, ANAT SC 1103, PUB HLTH 1001, PUB HLTH 1002
    Restrictions BHlthSc(Adv) Students only
    Course Description This course develops students' formal knowledge of the design and implementation of experimental research with animals or humans. Topics will include the principles of experimental design, choice of animal model, features of rigorous randomized controlled trials, and high-quality systematic reviews of trials. Students will gain skills in the construction of hypotheses, basic statistical analysis and interpretation, and critical appraisal of published research. Students will also consider ethical conduct, science communication, and knowledge translation. Active-learning and real-world examples are emphasized in this course.
    Course Staff
    Course Coordinator: Professor Vivienne Moore
    Phone: +61 8313 4605
    Location: Level 8, Hughes Building

    Learning and Teaching Team
    Phone: +61 8313 2128
    Location: Level 7, 178 North Terrace

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1  Explain the principles of experimental design and hypothesis testing
    2 Summarise considerations for choosing a specific animal mode
    3 Describe sources of bias in randomized controlled trials in humans, and strategies to reduce bias; apply this knowledge to appraise the quality of published trials
    4 Deliberate the ethical considerations in experimental research with animals and humans
    5 Select and calculate descriptive statistics, as appropriate to normal and non-normal distributions; construct hypotheses, analyse experimental data and interpret results using independent samples t-test, the chi-square test of association, or linear  regression, as appropriate
    6 Describe the structure of a journal article presenting experimental research, explain the purpose of each section, locate specific information, and interpret basic statistical results
    7 Provide a rationale for systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials, outline the main steps involved, and interpret main findings; locate systematic reviews
    8 Discuss knowledge translation and related processes, and justify the need for translational research
    9 Explain best practice principles in science communication and identify challenges for researchers  when disseminating result to
    the community
    10 Critically examine the role and value of experimental studies, and the inherent concept of causation, in the wider context of research to improve health and wellbeing
    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)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. N/A
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 3, 6, 7
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 1, 5, 8, 10
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 4, 8, 9
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 7
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1-10
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 2, 3, 4, 9, 10
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 4, 8, 9, 10
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    A set of readings, including journal articles, will be made available to students electronically.  This will be supplemented by web-links for specific topics, as relevant.
    Recommended Resources
    Online Learning
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    a) Lectures are used to introduce and illustrate concepts.  Lectures will not be a 50 minute didactic experience, but will incorporate opportunities for active learning.

    b) Practicals provide an interactive forum to clarify and apply concepts from lectures and strengthen understanding.

    c) Tutorials require students to engage with readings and solve problems in advance, and provide an opportunity to consolidate this
    learning through discussion and comparison with the work of others.

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

    A combination of Lectures, Tutorials and Practicals. Approximately 3 hours contact time per week.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week Topic
    Week 1 What is an experiment?
    Week 2 Experimental research with animals: animal models and ethical considerations
    Week 3 Using statistics to describe data that are normally or non-normally distributed
    Week 4 Introduction to hypothesis testing; analysis of continuous outcomes using independent samples t-test
    Week 5 Experimental research with humans: the randomized controlled trial and ethical considerations
    Week 6 Sources of bias in randomized controlled trials
    Week 7 Critical appraisal of randomized controlled trials
    Week 8 More on hypothesis testing; analysis of categorical outcomes using the chi-square test of association
    Week 9 Fundamentals of linear regression
    Week 10 Communicating results of scientific research: principles and perils
    Week 11 Systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials
    Week 12 How are research results translated into changes in practice or policy?
    Week 13 The place of experiments in the universe of health research
    Specific Course Requirements
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    A series of practical sessions will be dedicated to a small group discovery experience in which groups chose a specific scenario (from a range available) that presents ethical or science communication issues.  Students will undertake self-directed investigation of the issues, with academics available as mentors.  This will culminate in a presentation to the class (worth 10% of marks for the course) to share what they learned.
  • 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 Task Type Weighting Learning Course Objective(s) being addressed
    Written assignment Summative 20% 1-3
    Written assignment Summative 20% 5-6
    Group presentation Summative 10% 4, 10
    Exam Summative 50% 1-10
    Assessment Related Requirements
    1. Students are expected prepare for tutorials by attempting the tutorial questions before the session.

    2. Students are expected to actively participate in tutorial and practicals.
    Assessment Detail
    WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT 1 - 20% (approx. 1000 words)

    The first written assignment will involve answering a series of questions explaining the principles of experimental design, choice of  animal model, opportunities for bias in randomized controlled trials, and strategies to minimise bias. It will involve reading extracts from published journal articles. 

    WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT 2 - 20% (approx. 1000 words)

    The second assignment will require students to read a published journal article and answer a series of questions concerning the structure of the paper, the statistical analysis undertaken, and the interpretation of results.


    Students will give a group presentation to the class, based on SGDE, in which they present and deliberate ethical or science  communication issues relevant to a specific scenario (chosen from a range available).

    EXAM - 50% (2 hours, closed book)

    An exam will cover all material in the course, and comprise a mix questions requiring short or extended answers, basic statistical  calculations, reading and interpreting published abstracts.

    Assignments must be submitted electronically through Turnitin by 4 pm on the due date.

    By submitting your assignment you are agreeing to the following: I declare that all material in this assessment is my own work except where there is clear acknowledgement and reference to the work of others.  I have read the Academic Honesty and Assessment Obligations for Coursework Students Policy and the Coursework Students: Academic Dishonesty Procedures.  I give permission for my  assessment work to be reproduced and submitted to other academic staff for the purposes of assessment and to be copied,  submitted and retained in a form suitable for electronic checking of plagiarism.
    Assignments that are received by the due date will be marked and returned within 2 weeks.  Written feedback will be provided on assignments.  Re-submission will not normally be considered.

    Late submission

    Marks will be deducted when an assignment for which no extension has been granted is handed in late.

    The procedure is as follows:
    - all assignments, including those handed in late, will be assessed on their merits;
    - for late assignments, marks will then be deducted from the mark awarded, at the rate of 5 percentage points of the total possible per day.
    - the School reserves the right to refuse to accept an assignment that is more than 7 days late.


    Extension must be requested no later than the last working day before an assignment is due.

    Only a Course Co-ordinator may grant an extension.

    Extensions will only be granted on medical or genuine compassionate grounds.  Documentary supporting evidence such as a medical certificate will be required.
    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.

    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.

  • 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.