HCM201 Critical Thinking and Research Skills

Unit Description

This unit introduces students to the theories and practices associated with critical thinking and scientific research. It begins by asking students to consider the nature of knowledge and how we know what we know. It describes the principles of what is known as ‘evidence-based practice’ and explores the research process before looking at some of the ethical and political aspects of research.

The unit examines in detail key research paradigms including the two principle approaches to research: quantitative and qualitative research and introduces students to the key tools and techniques used in data collection and analysis including sampling, surveys, interviews, case studies, observation, experiments and content analysis.

The unit makes extensive use of case studies and draws heavily upon examples of research related to the allied health (aesthetics) sector. It provides students with the chance to develop their own research proposals and requires them to critically assess a number of pieces of research.


In order to gain the most benefit from HCM201 Critical Thinking and Research Skills, students must have successfully completed HCM101 Introduction to Professional Practice and HCM102 Professional Communication to undertake this unit. Content in this unit is taught so that students can build upon, and further develop, the knowledge and skills acquired in HCM201 Critical Thinking and Research Skills.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit the student will be able to:

  1. Research how critical thinking contributes to the acquisition of knowledge
  2. Articulate the principles of evidence-based practice
  3. Describe and discuss the steps in the research process
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the basic concepts of quantitative and qualitative research    and analysis and identify and discuss the differences between the two
  5. Discuss, compare, and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of various techniques of scientific research including sampling, surveys, questionnaires, experimentation, observation, focus groups, content analysis and structured and unstructured interviews
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical and political issues and aspects of research
  7. Prepare a research proposal and critically assess research reports within the healthcare sector

Graduate Attributes (GA)

In addition to the unit-specific learning outcomes listed above, the following graduate attributes are taught, developed and assessed in varying degrees within this unit:

  • Knowledge of applied health science theory and practice
  • Knowledge of the social, cultural, global and environmental responsibilities within healthcare delivery systems
  • The ability to communicate effectively with clients, peers and the wider community
  • The ability to demonstrate in-depth competence in their area(s) of specialisation
  • The ability to formulate and apply therapeutic interventions in their area(s) of specialisation
  • The capacity to lead, manage and/or work effectively with multi-disciplinary and culturally diverse teams
  • Awareness of professional and ethical responsibilities and a commitment to ongoing professional development and life-long learning.
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