Faculty of Education

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Education
OfferedClayton Second semester 2015 (Flexible)
Coordinator(s)Associate Professor Mark Rickinson


Calls for evidence-based policy and practice have become increasingly widespread across many areas of public policy. Within education, there is increasing emphasis on the need for research evidence to be used in the improvement of educational practice and the development of educational policy. But what is research evidence and where can it be accessed? How can different kinds of research evidence be evaluated critically and applied to practice and policy? What skills and processes are involved in using research evidence to solve problems, make decisions and lead change? And what is behind the growth of evidence-based agendas within and beyond education?
This unit focuses on the challenges and opportunities of using and evaluating research evidence in professional practice. Through exploration of each of the above questions, students develop their skills in identifying, distinguishing and appraising different kinds of research evidence. Drawing on different models and approaches to research use, they gain experience analysing, using and communicating research evidence in relation to a specific concern of relevance to their professional or educational contexts. This unit enables students to develop their understandings of evidence-based policy and practice, to gain first-hand experience of identifying, evaluating, using and communicating research evidence, and to become more confident and skilled users of research.


Upon successful completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. understand the growth of evidence-based policy and practice agendas within and beyond education
  2. distinguish between different kinds of research evidence and understand how evidence from research differs from other kinds of evidence
  3. search for and access different kinds of research evidence and research-based publications
  4. critically analyse and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different kinds of research evidence and research-based publications
  5. appreciate the role, limitations and complexity of using research evidence to improve practice and develop policy
  6. draw upon different conceptual models of research use and empirical insights into the factors that can enable and constrain research use within organisations
  7. identify and critically evaluate research evidence relating to a professional issue of their choice and develop a strategy for using and communicating that evidence within a specific context.


Documentary analysis report on research evidence in professional publications (4000 words equivalent, 50%)
Case study report on using research evidence in a professional context (4000 words equivalent, 50%)

Workload requirements

Flexible mode offers a stand-alone online offering that allows students to learn and engage in content and assessment in a supported way. It also provides a face-to-face component of 12 hours over the semester to engage students with the online learning content, which students can attend if they are able and interested.

Minimum total expected workload equals 288 hours per semester comprising:

(a.) Contact hours for flexible students:

  • 12 contact hours and 24 hours equivalent of online activities over the semester or
  • 36 hours equivalent of online activities over the semester

(b.) Additional requirements (all students):

  • independent study to meet the minimum required hours per semester

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study