Introduction to Research Methods

Introduction to Research Methods

Unit Description

This capstone unit introduces students to the role and significance of research in developing the evidence base for counselling and psychotherapy.

Students will be introduced to a range of research paradigms, research designs and methodologies, with an emphasis on qualitative methodology. Social, legal and ethical aspects of research in the discipline will be addressed.

Students will learn how to develop a research question and a draft research proposal, including a timeline for implementation. Students will be encouraged to give feedback to each other on the merits of each other’s proposals.

Students will also be introduced to systematic literature search techniques, and ways to record and display searches of literature. Students will conduct a search of published peer- reviewed research for the research question they develop, relevant to the counselling and psychotherapy discipline, and will produce a quality literature review synthesising and evaluating these findings.

Unit Code


Unit Type

Core Unit

Credit Points


Consultation Times

30 minutes before and after workshop intensives and by appointment during the semester

Topics Covered

  • Why research matters: the role and importance of research in counselling and psychotherapy
  • Research paradigms and research design
  • Research methodology: quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods
  • Research methods, data collection and analysis
  • Developing sound research questions for research projects that are literature-based, autobiographical or use secondary data
  • Developing sound research proposals
  • Social, legal and ethical aspects of counselling and psychotherapy research
  • Criteria for evaluating the value of published research in counselling and psychotherapy
  • Literature review: How to search published peer-reviewed literature and record the search
  • Literature review: How to write and synthesise the findings of the literature review

Learning Outcomes

  1. Clearly articulate the role of research in advancing the counselling and psychotherapy profession
  2. Critically analyse social, legal and ethical aspects of conducting counselling and psychotherapy research
  3. Critically analyse epistemological and methodological differences between qualitative, quantitative and mixed method research paradigms
  4. Develop and evaluate sound research questions for exploring a topic relevant to process work
  5. Critically evaluate published peer-reviewed research in the selected research topic
  6. Critically review the body of literature pertaining to the selected research topic and synthesise the findings in a literature review

Assessment Overview

Draft Research Proposal

Write a draft research proposal that is literature-based, autobiographical or uses secondary data with a timeline for a project to be implemented in the next unit in Semester 2 (Research Project).

Literature Review

After a systematic review of the literature, present a record of the searches, and write a well-synthesised review of the literature pertaining to the research proposal.

Discussion Forum Posts

3.1 Active participation during online activities including one post on learnings from the workshop

Five posts of 100 words minimum

3.2 Respond to at least two posts of other students with replies of 100 words

Unit Resources

Prescribed reading

Vossler, A., & Moller, N. (Eds.). (2015). The counselling and psychotherapy research handbook. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications.

Delivery Mode

Workshop intensives on-campus

Workshop Intensive 1:

9:00 am to 5:30 pm
3.25 hours of teaching and learning

Workshop Intensive 3:

9:00 am to 5:30 pm
3.25 hours of teaching and learning

Online delivery
1.5 hour Zoom discussion mid-semester

Written by: Samuel Minton • Created: 21 Jul 2020, 10:02 a.m.