PUB HLTH 4500OL - Developing a Novel Research Question

Online - Semester 2 - 2022

This research preparedness course will review and reinforce student learning with respect to the research process. It will enable students to produce a structured research question justifying a future detailed research proposal. In a series of modules, the course focuses on specific aspects of doing research including: systematic literature searching and critical appraisal; reference management; framing the research question and purpose statement. Students will develop critical thinking skills in the assessment of the validity of the published literature, evidence syntheses and gap analysis.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PUB HLTH 4500OL
    Course Developing a Novel Research Question
    Coordinating Unit Public Health
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s Online
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 6 hours per week online plus 3 hours per week preparation
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Corequisites PUB HLTH 4600A
    Restrictions Restricted to B.Health & Med Sci - Honours students only
    Course Description This research preparedness course will review and reinforce student learning with respect to the research process. It will enable students to produce a structured research question justifying a future detailed research proposal. In a series of modules, the course focuses on specific aspects of doing research including: systematic literature searching and critical appraisal; reference management; framing the research question and purpose statement. Students will develop critical thinking skills in the assessment of the validity of the published literature, evidence syntheses and gap analysis.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Jaklin Eliott

    Course Timetable

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

    Timetable details are located on MyUni.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Identify a public health problem suitable for scientific investigation
    2 Situate that problem within the relevant literature and existing evidence and identify gaps in the evidence about that problem (i.e. things worthy of further research)
    3 Develop a (structured) research question which addresses a gap in the evidence about the problem
    4 Use appropriate online databases of research evidence and reference management software
    5 Apply ethical principles of research to shape or modify the research proposal
    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)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 6: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency

    Graduates have an understanding of, and respect for, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and knowledge.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    O’Leary, Z. (2017). The essential guide to doing your research project (2nd ed.). Sage 2017. ISBN 978-1-4462-5897-2

    A third edition of O'Leary's book (2017) is available. 

    Other resources will be available via MyUni and may include: journal articles; government reports; video resources; online data bases; web-based tutorials and activities.
    Recommended Resources
    John W. Creswell. A Concise Introduction to Mixed Methods Research. Sage Publications 2014, ISBN-13: 978-1483359045
    Online Learning
    This course will be offered completely online.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will be offered completely online.

    Online learning modules
    Online learning modules will cover discrete aspects of the development of a research protocol. Modules will consist of a topic overview  (and an optional diagnostic quiz , and a portfolio of various resources designed to broaden student understanding of the topic and any relevant technology.  Student learning will be self-directed. Students may undertake a diagnostic quiz to assess their baseline understanding of the subject matter, and complete a formative quiz at the end of specific modules.

    Online discussion boards
    Students will be able to post questions and answers to a discussion board associated with each of the modules. This will  be monitored by the course coordinator but students will be encouraged to answer each others' questions and learn more about each others' research.

    Peer assessment & feedback
    Students will be able to provide feedback about each others' research.  Online asynchronous or synchronous discussion will be facilitated through MyUni using discussion boards, Zoom (video conferencing software) or similar. Face to face and/or one-on-one meetings may be possible subject to scheduling.

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

    Up to 6 hours per week online plus 3 hours per week preparation
    Learning Activities Summary
    There is a series of modules for students to progress through over the duration of the course. Each module is preceded by a topic overview and diagnostic quiz. The module consists of a package of resources relevant to  all aspects of the topic. 

    Topics will include:

    - Identifying topics for research
    - Locating relevant literature
    - Managing the search yield
    - Interpreting and assessing the quality of the literature 
    - Presenting and synthesizing evidence
    - Ethical considerations and processes
    - Positioning your research
    - Presenting you and your research
    - Reporting and publishing your research
    Specific Course Requirements
    Students will be allocated to an advisor and research topic prior to the commencement of the course.
  • 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 course objective(s) being addressed
    Module quizzes Formative 0% 1-5
    Written report - search outcomes Summative 40% 1-5
    Written report - literature review Summative 40% 1-5
    Presentation Summative 10% 1-5
    Peer review and feedback Summative 5% 1-5
    Participation Summative 5% 1-5
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Assessment Detail
    Online quizzes: 0%
    There will be online quizzes for some modules that may be diagnostic (taken at the beginning of the module) or assessment (taken after working through the relevant parts of the module). The questions will typically be multiple choice and will cover core concepts addressed in provided resources.

    Written report - Literature Search Outcomes: 40% (1000 words excluding tables, figures, and reference list)
    This assignment should be attempted after successful completion of Modules 1-5.  Students will identify a research topic after discussing with supervisor(s), then develop a literature search strategy, key words and search grid, inclusion and exclusion criteria, yield from literature search, using tables and figures to summarise key information. This report will assess students' ability to search, evaluate, and summarise the literature and identify knowledge gaps.

    Written report - Literature Review: 40% (3000 words, excluding references)
    This assessment should be attempted after all of the modules have been completed. The report will include a concise background which situates the proposed study within the existing evidence base and identifies the research gaps that the study will address; the stated aims of your research; the theoretical and/or conceptual framework; project activities, outcomes, and timeline; significance and innovation; ethics and feasibility issues; researcher roles; and a reference list generated using EndNote. Overall, this report will assess the student's ability to craft a compelling and professional justification for their research appropriately situated within the extant literature. 

    Oral presentation (Pitching your research): 10%
    This assignment will ask you to record and upload a presentation of your proposal as if to a funding body, with the aim to persuade them to fund your research. Overall, this 5-slide presentation will assess your ability to verbally present a compelling and professional justification for your research appropriately situated within the extant literature.

    Peer review and feedback: 5%
    Students will view and provide feedback on another student's oral presentation, explaining strengths and opportunities for improvement.

    Participation: 5%
    This reflects evidence of student engagement in their own and others' learning. It will be based on the extent of provision of peer-feedback, and the number (and quality) of contributions to discussion boards or virtual meetings/seminars.
    Assignments will be submitted electronically via MyUni.


    All extensions for assignments must be requested, at the latest, by the last working day before the due date of submission.   Extensions will generally be granted only on medical or genuine compassionate grounds. Supporting documentation must be  provided at the time a student requests an extension. Without documentation, extensions will not be granted. Late requests for extension will neither be accepted nor acknowledged.

    Only the Course Co-ordinator(s) may grant extensions.

    Supporting documentation will be required when requesting an extension. Examples of documents that are acceptable include: a  medical certificate that specifies dates of incapacity, a police report (in the case of lost computers, car & household theft etc.), a  letter from a Student Counsellor, Education and Welfare Officer (EWO) or Disability Liaison Officer that provides an assessment of  compassionate circumstances, or a letter from an independent external counsellor or appropriate professional able to verify the  student’s situation. The length of any extension granted will take into account the period and severity of any incapacity or impact  on the student. Extensions of more than 10 days will not be granted except in exceptional circumstances. Extensions for the Presentation and associated peer feedback will not normally be granted, as this is a critical time period for student interaction.

    Late submission
    Marks will be deducted when assignments for which no extension has been granted are handed in late.

    All assignments, including those handed in late, will be assessed on their merits. In the case of late assignments where no  extension has been granted, 5 percentage points of the total marks possible per day will be deducted.  If an assignment that is 2  days late is awarded 65% on its merits, the mark will then be reduced by 10% (5% per day for 2 days) to 55%. If that same  assignment is 4 days late, the mark will be reduced by 20% (5% per day for 4 days) to 45%, and so on.

    The School of Public Health reserves the right to refuse to accept an assignment that is more than 7 days late.

    Assignments submitted after the due date may not be graded in time to be returned on the listed return dates.

    Students submitting examinable written work who request (and receive) an extension that takes them beyond the examination  period are advised that there is no guarantee that their grades will be processed in time to meet usual University deadlines.
    If a student is dissatisfied with an assessment grade they should follow the Student Grievance Resolution Process.  Students who are not satisfied with a particular assessment result should raise their concerns with Course Co-ordinator(s) in the first instance. This must be done within 10 business days of the  date of notification of the result. Resubmission of any assignment is subject to the agreement of the Course Co-ordinator(s) and  will only be permitted for the most compelling of reasons.
    Course Grading

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

    M11 (Honours Mark Scheme)
    GradeGrade reflects following criteria for allocation of gradeReported on Official Transcript
    Fail A mark between 1-49 F
    Third Class A mark between 50-59 3
    Second Class Div B A mark between 60-69 2B
    Second Class Div A A mark between 70-79 2A
    First Class A mark between 80-100 1
    Result Pending An interim result RP
    Continuing Continuing CN

    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.