CQUniversity Unit Profile

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PSYC20038 Positive Psychology: Research Methods
Positive Psychology: Research Methods
All details in this unit profile for PSYC20038 have been officially approved by CQUniversity and represent a learning partnership between the University and you (our student).
The information will not be changed unless absolutely necessary and any change will be clearly indicated by an approved correction included in the profile.
General Information


This unit will introduce you to key research interests in the positive psychology domain, and the various methodological approaches to research as they relate to positive psychology. You will develop a critical understanding of the research process and its application within positive psychology research and assessment. The unit will help you to become familiar with research processes that are robust and ethical, the importance of evidence-based decision making, and the importance of measuring the impact of interventions using positive psychology research methods. You will be encouraged to consider how research evidence contributes to best practice. You will learn skills in interpreting and critically evaluating the quality of published research evidence, and consider the ways research knowledge can be used to guide intervention design and procedures. There will be an overarching focus on becoming a critical consumer and user of this scientific research literature to inform the development of future research questions, intervention strategies, and professional practice.


Career Level: Postgraduate
Unit Level: Level 8
Credit Points: 6
Student Contribution Band: 10
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load: 0.125

Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

There are no requisites for this unit.

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Offerings For Term 2 - 2023


Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Class and Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Postgraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Class Timetable

Bundaberg, Cairns, Emerald, Gladstone, Mackay, Rockhampton, Townsville
Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney

Assessment Overview

1. Research Assignment
Weighting: 25%
2. Online Quiz(zes)
Weighting: 20%
3. Critical Review
Weighting: 55%

Assessment Grading

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%). Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades.

Previous Student Feedback

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Feedback from Student Unit and Teacher Evaluation responses and student emails.


Students indicated the unit content and resources were interesting and useful for their learning.


The Unit Coordinator will maintain the unit content and resources.

Feedback from Student Unit and Teacher Evaluation responses and student emails.


Students valued the research knowledge and skills gained in the unit.


The Unit Coordinator will maintain the focus on research literacy and skills development in the unit.

Feedback from Student Unit and Teacher Evaluation responses and student emails.


Students appreciated the support provided by the Unit Coordinator, such as formative feedback opportunities.


The Unit Coordinator will maintain this supportive approach and will continue to offer formative feedback opportunities.

Feedback from Student Unit and Teacher Evaluation responses and student emails.


Students found the zoom tutorials enjoyable and beneficial, with a couple of students suggesting they would like more tutorial time to interact with fellow students.


The Unit Coordinator will explore strategies for increasing student interactions in zoom sessions, such as group activities and informal discussion opportunities.

Unit Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  1. Locate, interpret, and synthesise appropriate peer-reviewed empirical research relevant to positive psychology
  2. Investigate and appraise research paradigms and ethical research requirements relevant to positive psychology
  3. Analyse research concepts through the critical appraisal of peer-reviewed empirical research relevant to positive psychology
  4. Develop a research question based on identified research gaps to enhance the body of knowledge in positive psychology
Alignment of Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Graduate Attributes
N/A Level
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Professional Level
Advanced Level

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes

Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4
1 - Research Assignment - 25%
2 - Online Quiz(zes) - 20%
3 - Critical Review - 55%

Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes

Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4
1 - Knowledge
2 - Communication
3 - Cognitive, technical and creative skills
4 - Research
5 - Self-management
6 - Ethical and Professional Responsibility
7 - Leadership
8 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultures

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes

Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 - Research Assignment - 25%
2 - Online Quiz(zes) - 20%
3 - Critical Review - 55%
Textbooks and Resources



Research methods and statistics in psychology

7th Edition (2019)
Authors: Coolican, Hugh.
Milton Park Milton Park , London , UK
ISBN: 978-1-315-20100-9
Binding: eBook

Additional Textbook Information

There are no prescribed textbooks for this unit. However, the supplementary textbook by Coolican (2019), is frequently referred to throughout this research methods unit, and will also be useful for students who in future intend to undertake the Master of Applied Positive Psychology thesis. Versions of this textbook are available through CQUniversity Library. 

IT Resources

You will need access to the following IT resources:
  • CQUniversity Student Email
  • Internet
  • Unit Website (Moodle)
Academic Integrity Statement

Information for Academic Integrity Statement has not been released yet.

This unit profile has not yet been finalised.