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PSYC4052 Honours Thesis A

Bachelor Course Unit

PSYC4052 Honours Thesis A

Duration: One trimester

Level: 4th year

Credit points: 8 (out of total of 48 points)

Prerequisites: None

Mode(s) of delivery: On-campus

Core/elective: Core

Unit description

Students work under the guidance of their academic supervisor to conduct a literature search using available databases and prepare an individual project proposal. Students also submit (under guidance) an ethics application to the ACAP Human Research Ethics Committee.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to:

  • undertake a literature search 
  • prepare a research proposal
  • prepare and submit an ethics application under direction from their supervisors

Unit content

  • A literature search in the content area linked to their proposed research
  • Development of a research proposal
  • Preparation of an ethics application

Learning and teaching process

In this unit, students meet with their supervisor on a regular basis (typically once per week) to discuss their research topic and seek guidance on undertaking a literature search, developing a research proposal, and preparing an ethics application.

Assignment summary

Assessment information provided at the commencement of the unit in the online class space

Graduate attributes

The material covered in this unit will contribute to the development of the following graduate attributes:

  1. Knowledge and understanding of core topics in psychology. These topics include abnormal psychology, biological bases of behaviour, cognition, information processing and language, learning, lifespan developmental psychology, perception, social psychology and intercultural diversity and indigenous psychology.
  2. Research methods in psychology. This attribute covers an understanding of the characteristics of the science of psychology and the different and varied research methods used by psychologists. It also includes the acquisition of practical skills in laboratory-based research and other methods, the design of studies to address psychological questions, critical analysis, the formulation of testable hypotheses, the choice of an appropriate methodology, the question of reliability and validity and their meanings and operations, the analysis of data, and the writing of reports.
  3. Critical thinking skills. The attribute includes the application of scientific method to the study of mental and behavioural problems, the examination of other modes of understanding the world and the development of other world views, and recognition of the fallacies and the biases that can affect human thinking and analysis.
  4. Values, research and professional ethics. This attribute includes the evaluation of the behaviour of psychologists in psychological research and other professional contexts and is in the context of the Australian Psychological Society “Code of Ethics” and the Australian “National Practice Standards for the Mental Health Workforce”. Values and professional ethics must also be understood and evaluated in the context of social ethical principles and ethical conduct in legal, medical and institutional behaviour.
  5. Communication skills. Students need to learn how to communicate effectively orally in various settings (group discussion, presentations, both formal and informal) for various purposes. Written communication, in the form of written reports, should be according to professionally accepted formats. In psychology we follow the American Psychological Association structure and formatting conventions.
  6. Learning and the application of psychology. This attribute includes the application of knowledge of legislative frameworks and the application of knowledge about laws and conventions in work settings, consumer and carer participation and in the general matter of the conduct of application of psychology. It also considers how there may be variation of legislation across different areas of application. 
    Students also need to be cognisant of the need to sustain independent learning for professional and personal development over their life, in the changing social and cultural practices in society and in the practice and development of the scientific basis of psychology.

Special provisions

Students should have regular meetings with their supervisors.

Students must successfully complete a research proposal approved by three academic staff members including their supervisor, and submit an acceptable standard of ethics application in order to be awarded an Ungraded Pass for this unit.

Recommended text

There is no recommended textbook for this unit.

Other significant references

See the section on relevant journals and resources below.

Relevant journals and resources

General guidance and lead references to journal articles with be provided by supervisors. Students are then expected to extend their reading to study their topic in greater depth.

Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. This includes plagiarism of any nature. It is your responsibility to make sure that you understand what constitutes plagiarism in order to ensure that you do not engage in it. Please refer to the Academic Misconduct Policy for full details.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it throughout the trimester. Your lecturer will advise when there are updates on the site and also when readings are available for class discussion.