EXERSCI 715 : Research Planning and Reporting


2020 Semester Two (1205) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The theoretical, methodological, and practical skills for designing and reporting clinical research studies. Assignments will assess the student's ability to critically evaluate relevant literature, prepare an ethics application, and write clearly and effectively. A final report will be submitted, formatted as if it is a manuscript being offered for publication.

Course Overview

This course is an option for post graduate diploma students intending to complete a dissertation for their Masters of Clinical Exercise Physiology (CEP) in the Department of Exercise Sciences. The course is designed to assist students to learn the experimental method by planning an experiment or research study under the direction of a research supervisor, and to write an application for ethical approval and present a research proposal. This course is good preparation for anyone wanting to do postgraduate research in CEP as it provides an opportunity to understand a body of literature, develop a research question and design a study, work with a supervisor, and apply their knowledge of the ethical processes, all skills that will be required for the dissertation in the Masters year. 

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Advance their understanding of experimental design, statistical analyses, and the ethical issues related to research (Capability 2, 5 and 6)
  2. Develop, design and justify a research question and a testable hypothesis based on a literature review (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  3. Independently develop the research study to test the hypothesis according to the experimental method (Capability 2, 3 and 5)
  4. Develop an ethical application at a level that is appropriate for submission to the University Ethics Committee (Capability 1, 5 and 6)
  5. Competently perform a verbal presentation of the research proposal (Capability 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Reflection 20% Individual Coursework
Assignments 50% Individual Coursework
Presentation 30% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5

Key Topics

Module 1
Supervision and working with supervisors 
Defining and writing a research question using PICO 
Hypotheses, aims and objectives
Module 2
Literature searching using databases 
Keyword, search terms, finding a sensible amount of literature to review  
Tips for writing a literature review 
Module 3
Research design
Ethical considerations
Outcome measures and measurement endpoints
Statistical analysis
Module 4
Writing the ethics application
Supporting documents required
Endnote (or similar) referencing system

Learning Resources

Learning resources will be made available on Canvas

Special Requirements

This course is designed to plan an experiment. It will not require the recruitment of participants or the collection of data to test a chosen hypothesis. It is important to note that although the student may plan a dissertation project for EXERSCI 715, it may not be possible for a chosen topic to be translated into a master’s level project due to resources. 
1. Students should attend the first class with a supervisor approved research question or topic. 
2. Students will be guided throughout the semester as to discussion points with their supervisor.  
3. Students are responsible for obtaining expert advice from their supervisor related to components of the study, including the research question, experimental design, choice of measures that are appropriate to test the study’s hypothesis, and statistical analyses. 
4. The supervisor will provide advice, not design the study. 
5. Students will present the final research proposal as an oral presentation.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect on average 1 hour of lectures, a 1 hour supervisor meeting, 2 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 6 hours of work on assignments on average per week.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page: https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html).


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 06/07/2020 01:58 p.m.