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PSY5050 Research Methods for Practitioners

Semester 2, 2016 On-campus Ipswich
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Psychology and Counselling
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 090701 - Psychology

Contents on this page


Examiner: Graeme Senior


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in the following Program: MPPS or be undertaking the course as professional development


Research skills are a necessary and important element in the training of any psychologist. Practitioners are required to provide services on a daily basis that apply their understanding derived from the research literature, their own clinical and research experiences, and the critical evaluation of evidence. The skills in designing valid research studies and the statistical procedures associated with group studies have been customarily the focus of previous courses. This course aims to focus on mastery of the research techniques, methods, and analyses that most directly inform clinical practice. Rather than the design and execution of research studies, this course will develop the skills to critically evaluate and apply statistical methods to the treatment and assessment of clients.


Students will be introduced to a wide variety of methodological and statistical techniques that will enhance their ability to utilise research findings in the assessment and treatment of their clients. These methods will include the development and evaluation of test reliability and validity, the roles of factor and cluster analyses in informing clinical practice, the selection and recombination of test data into composites, the evaluation of reliable change, monitoring and evaluation of treatment efficacy, meta-analysis and meta-norming, the computation and analysis of test operating characteristics, and the evaluation of effect sizes. Case examples and assignments are drawn from clinical practice and emphasise the value of these methods in addressing important elements of each case.


On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. use a scientist-practitioner framework to identify evidence-based treatment strategies for a range of clinical problems;
  2. evaluate the level of evidence relevant to a particular phenomenon or problem of interest;
  3. locate and critically evaluate research literature related to psychological treatment, and synthesise this information into a systematic review;
  4. demonstrate advanced skills in the analysis and interpretation of effect sizes developed to guide clinical practice;
  5. critically reflect on formulation, progress and outcome of clinical work; and
  6. select appropriate tools and techniques to evaluate individual client satisfaction and response to treatment using a professional and ethical framework.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Workshop 1
Scientist-practitioner model
Systematic reviews
2. Workshop 2
Understanding quantitative research analysis
Effect sizes and clinically meaningful change
3. Workshop 3
Approaches to research
Scientist-practitioner framework evaluation
4. Workshop 4
Program evaluation
5. Workshop 5
Evaluating assessment

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • All materials required for the completion of this course will be posted to the course StudyDesk or will be distributed in class.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Students will be notified of recommended readings as appropriate throughout the semester.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Private Study 138.00
Workshops 32.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    Attendance at the workshops is compulsory.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must submit each assessment item, and achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for each assessment item and achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course. All courses in the MPPS are approved by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC), which requires that students pass all assessment items in all courses. Where a student fails any assignment, the student will be allowed one opportunity to re-submit their work following feedback from the course examiner. If a student fails any assignment a second time, he or she will be deemed to have failed the course and will be required to undertake the course again at its next offering. This rule applies regardless of whether or not the aggregated marks for remaining assessment in a course are higher than 50% overall. Where illness, bereavement, or circumstances of similar gravity affect a student?s ability to meet the high standards expected in the MPPS, the student should meet with the course examiner or MPPS Program Coordinator to negotiate suitable management of the person?s individual needs.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks (or grades) obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    There will be no Deferred or Supplementary examinations in this course.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Other requirements

  1. Students will require regular access to e-mail and internet access to UConnect for this course. Reliable access to the internet is a requirement of this course as the course contains elements that are managed electronically via USQ StudyDesk. In order to avoid internet issues, on-campus students should access the student computer laboratories to complete assignment work. External students who knowingly do not have reliable access to the internet should actively seek alternative internet access (e.g., Internet cafes, local libraries, or work places) for assessment submission and electronic assessment attempts. External students are able to use the on-campus student computer laboratories once access has been enabled. To be granted access, external students need to contact ICT and ask to have a student account enabled so that they can work on-campus.