SMED4221 Research Foundations Unit

6 points
(see Timetable)
Non-standard teaching periodUWA (Perth)Face to face
This unit is a foundation unit for students proposing to conduct research as either part of the Doctor of Medicine (MD) Scholarly Activity stream or in the future. The unit covers the principles of good scientific conduct in research and the ethical conduct of research on human participants. A brief overview of animal ethics issues is provided. The unit emphasises the importance of honesty and integrity in science and provides students with an introduction to the ethical basis of scientific requirements such as data management and documentation, dealing with conflicts of interest, open publication versus commercialisation of scientific findings, protection of intellectual property, authorship and allocation of credit, errors and mistakes in science. This unit then goes on to cover ethical issues dealing specifically with research in humans, including the four basic tenets (research merit/integrity, justice, beneficence and respect) and their historical origins, assessment of research benefits versus risk to the participants, risk minimisation, the importance and principles of informed consent, maintenance of participant confidentiality, including de-identification and storage of information and/or biological samples, and working with vulnerable populations or participants who are unable to provide informed consent.
Students are able to (1) describe the importance of scientific integrity and ethical conduct in research; (2) discuss the key issues relevant to human and animal research; (3) demonstrate the acquisition of basic skills and training necessary to undertake research in their chosen field; (4) critically review literature in their proposed field of research; and (5) design a research project, outlining the study background and rationale, research questions, study design and data analysis.
Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) online quizzes; (2) written assignments; and (3) professional behaviour assessment/s (PBA). Further information is available in the unit outline.

To pass this unit, a student must: (a) achieve an overall mark of 50 per cent or higher for the unit; and (b) achieve the requisite requirements(s) or a mark of 50 per cent or greater, whichever is higher and specified in the unit outline, for the professional behaviour assessment/s (PBA) component.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Sunalene Devadason and Dr Jane Allan
Unit rules
IMED4211 Systems-based Learning 2
Approved quota: 240—210 domestic and 30 international
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.