PSYC20056 - Research and Professional Practice in Psychology

General Information

Unit Synopsis

In this unit you will focus on the professional ethics and standards that must be met as a registered psychologist and develop your skills as an evidence-based practitioner. This unit will examine requirements for initial, and ongoing registration, and legal aspects of psychological practice and research. Opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration, critical analysis, ethical decision making, and preliminary preparation for your internship will be provided. You will also begin to research an area of applied practice in psychology and develop a research plan for an evaluation project to be completed in Term 2.


Level Postgraduate
Unit Level 9
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band SCA Band 4
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

Students must be enrolled in the Master of Professional Psychology

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).

Class Timetable View Unit Timetable
Residential School No Residential School

Unit Availabilities from Term 2 - 2022

There are no availabilities for this unit on or after Term 2 - 2022

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).

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.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Professional Practice Plans (learning plans) 40%
2. Research Proposal 20%
3. Online Test 40%
4. Learning logs / diaries / Journal / log books 0%
5. Written Assessment 0%

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

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

Term 1 - 2021 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 4.4 (on a 5 point Likert scale), based on a 58.33% response rate.

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.

Source: Have Your Say - student feedback
Completing the internship plan was challenging but very productive; This unit encouraged us to explore our options in the +1 pathway toward being a psychologist - provided me with a firm understanding.
Continue to include completion of an Internship plan as an assessment item.
Action Taken
The internship plan was retained as an assessment as it prepares each student to complete the internship plan for approval by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
Source: Have Your Say - student feedback
Reduce the amount of pre-reading.
Ensure students are aware of the difference between pre-reading material they need to ready fully and have a solid understanding of and that which is to build awareness and could be skimmed or saved for later.
Action Taken
The Unit Coordinator provided clearer instructions about the difference between the required readings and the recommended readings.
Source: Have Your Say - student feedback
Change timing of unit online test.
If the current format of the unit is maintained the online test will be held in week 8 prior to the shift in unit focus.
Action Taken
The online test was re-scheduled to week 8 to better align with learning opportunities.
Source: Have Your Say - student feedback
Lectures regarding the Rapid Critical Review seemed to be rushed and out of order.
Discussion regarding structure of this unit will be reviewed by the Master of Professional Psychology teaching team.
Action Taken
Lectures for the Rapid Critical Review were changed to a flipped classroom model, delivered as a tutorial. Students appreciated the co-operative teaching, addressing all students' questions in these lectures.
Source: Have Your Say feedback
Students appreciate working through real ethical dilemma in a class environment. Several students commented that they enjoyed the variety of solutions or views on ethical dilemmas common in the psychological field
Lectures will continue to include "real life" ethical dilemmas as they occur in the field of psychology.
Action Taken
Source: Have Your Say Feedback
Students enjoyed the focus of the Rapid Critical Review (assessment 3) on clinical work and practical applications in the field. Positive comments focused on the collaborative tutorial style of lectures surrounding the Rapid Critical Review.
The lectures regarding the Rapid Critical Review will continue to focus on practical applications and be delivered as a collaborative tutorial, working through students' questions in the online class room.
Action Taken
Source: Have Your Say Feedback
Based on students' effort and input of time, students suggested to increase the weight of the Rapid Critical Review (Assessment 3) and decrease the weight of the online Test (Assessment 2)
Assessment tasks and weightings will be reviewed by the Master of Professional Psychology teaching team.
Action Taken
Unit learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  1. Evaluate and apply relevant legislation and ethical principles related to psychological practice, including those endorsed by the Psychology Board of Australia
  2. Critically evaluate the contemporary scientific literature to develop an appropriate plan for evidence-based practice, including research
  3. Articulate and apply models and approaches for the professional and ethical practice of psychology
  4. Communicate effectively with a range of client, specialist, and nonspecialist audiences

Learning outcomes are drawn from specifications for study at level 9 as indicated by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), program of study criteria as stated by the Psychology Board of Australia (PsychBA), and the following core competencies stated by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC):

  • 3.1 Demonstrate successful (prior or concurrent) achievement of pre-professional competencies,
  • 3.10 Demonstrate respect for the skills and contribution of other professionals,
  • 3.11 Work effectively with a range of professional and support staff in the workplace and communicate and collaborate effectively, within the bounds of ethical and legal requirements,
  • 3.12 Operate within the boundaries of their professional competence, consult with peers or other relevant sources where appropriate, and refer on to relevant other practitioners where appropriate,
  • 3.13 Rigorously apply professional practice policies and procedures, including as they relate to referral management and record-keeping, across a range of workplace settings and with recognition of different organisational cultures and practices,
  • 3.14 Engage in self-reflective professional practice, taking account of the impact of their own values and beliefs, and taking appropriate actions as a result,
  • 3.15 Evaluate the effectiveness of their professional practice, identifying areas for improvement and implementing changes where needed, and
  • 3.16 Critically evaluate contemporary scientific literature to inform practice (APAC, 2019, p.13-14).

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4
1 - Professional Practice Plans (learning plans)
2 - Research Proposal
3 - Online Test
4 - Learning logs / diaries / Journal / log books
5 - Written Assessment
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Advanced Level
Professional Level
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
Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes
Advanced Level
Professional Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8