SCHOOL OF SPORT SCIENCE, EXERCISE AND
Introduction to Honours
The Honours Research Degree at School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health is a
prestigious one-year, research-based extension of your undergraduate degree that is
available only to students who demonstrate academic excellence. During your Honours
year, you will be required to complete three units and to spend most of your time on your
research work and thesis. Irrespective of whether you are interested in undertaking a career
in research, our Honours Research programme will allow you to develop a broad range of
generic skills highly valued in the workforce, such as problem-solving and organisational
skills, initiative, advanced computer skills and capacity to work independently and in a team.
In this respect, the Honours degree is of great value for your career prospects as it
distinguishes you from regular BSc graduates who would not have had the same
opportunity for an advanced learning experience.
If you are interested in pursuing an Honours Research Degree, it is important that you
determine the general area that you wish to study, and discuss potential research projects
with staff in that area. It is important to stress that you are not required to define your own
research project as most Honours projects are normally part of the supervisor’s ongoing
research. The School offers several research streams: Biomechanics, Motor Control and
Development, Exercise Physiology and Biochemistry, Health Behaviour and Performance
Psychology, Health and Physical Education and Exercise Rehabilitation/Occupational Safety
and Health. In order to help you to find a project that suits you, we have compiled a list of
some of the Honours research projects on offer for 2012.
If you wish to pursue this degree, you must initiate discussions with members of staff as
soon as possible as limits on the number of available supervisors in a given year may
prevent some eligible students from gaining entry. Once you have secured a potential
supervisor, you will need to apply on-line through Student Connect. If you are successful, a
formal invitation will be mailed to you in January 2012 by the Faculty.
It is important to note that in order to enrol in the Honours Research Degree offered by the
School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health you must reach a grade point average of 65%
and above across your third year units. For this reason, you should aim at performing
exceptionally well at your final exams.
If you have any queries about our Honours program, please feel free to contact our Honours
Coordinator, Prof Paul Fournier ((08) 6488 1356 or firstname.lastname@example.org) or Inga
Carr (08) 6488 2360 or email@example.com .
BIOMECHANICS, MOTOR CONTROL
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR JACQUELINE ALDERSON has a few joint projects
Jacqueline Alderson & Brendan Lay
Can 3D visual perception training reduce dangerous ACL loads in AFL footballers?
Jacqueline Alderson & Jon Donnelly
Validation of a ball release model during fast and spin bowling: implications for ICC
cricket testing procedures.
The development of new methods for measuring upper limb kinematics in cricket
Jacqueline Alderson & Jon Donnelly (Jenny McConnell)
The biomechanical and neuromuscular effects of McConnell taping on shoulder
kinematics in healthy overhead throwing and striking athletes.
The biomechanical effects of McConnell taping in correcting lower body kinematics
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Jacqueline on 6488 5827 or
Dr NAT BENJANUVATRA
Temporal coordination in breaststroke
Timing of the dolphin kick in the breaststroke pull out
Coaching expertise: what do expert coaches see that novice coaches don’t?
Optimising swim start performance: the influence of lower limb strength and
Assessment of players’ workload during a National League water polo game
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Nat on 6488 2437 or
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR MELISSA LICARI
Is poor visual tracking responsible for catching difficulties in children with
Developmental Coordination Disorder?
Supervision panel: Melissa Licari & Brendan Lay
Locomotion in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder: Identification
and quantification of the inefficiency
Supervision panel: Melissa Licari, Siobhan Reid & Kym Guelfi
Movement based video gaming as a therapeutical intervention for children with
Supervision panel: Melissa Licari, Brendan Lay, Rebecca Braham & Michael
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Melissa Licari on 6488
7282 or firstname.lastname@example.org
RESEARCH ASSISTANT PROFESSOR SIOBHAN REID
Research aimed at increasing the understanding of movement, activation and
strength with particular emphasis on children with neuromuscular diseases &
disorders. Research conducted in collaboration with Princess Margaret Hospital for
Children. Populations of interest include; Cerebral Palsy, Developmental
Coordination Disorder, typically developing children.
Alterations in Muscle following treatment with Botox... do we really know
what is happening? Supervision panel: Siobhan Reid, Catherine Elliott (PMH)
- This project will look at alterations in the operation of muscle following
a first time Botox injection for children with Cerebral Palsy. The
research student will work with the Paediatric Rehabilitation team from
PMH to track the alterations to muscle using assessments of MRI
scans, EMG, 3D Gait and muscle strength.
Is the Gillette Gait Index predictive of functional ambulation in children
with Cerebral Palsy? Supervision panel: Siobhan Reid, Catherine Elliott (PMH)
The Gillette Gait index is a model used to assess overall improvement
in gait following intervention (surgery) in children with CP. However
little is understood about how the Gait Index relates to overall mobility
and function in children with CP. The research student will work in
collaboration with the UWA-PMH gait team in clinical biomechanics.
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Si Reid on 6488 8781 or
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR JONAS RUBENSON
1. Calf muscle-tendon dynamics during gait.
This project assesses the force and work in the triceps surae muscle group (soleus
and gastrocnemius muscles) during walking, running and other movement tasks.
Focus is on the effect of running technique (barefoot, forefoot, rear-foot) and the
effect of footwear on muscle-tendon dynamics. Techniques include real-time
ultrasound imaging, gait analysis and dynamometry.
2. Biomechanics in Chronic Heart Failure Patients.
Chronic Heart Failure is one of the major health burdens facing Australia with
approximately 300,000 people affected each year. A primary limitation to exercise
capacity in Heart Failure patients is their skeletal muscle function. This honours
project falls under a National Heart Foundation project grant aimed at examining the
skeletal muscle characteristics and gait characteristics in Chronic Heart Failure
patients. Techniques will include real-time ultrasound imaging, gait analysis and
dynamometry. Interaction with collaborators in exercise physiology (Daniel Green)
and Royal Perth Hospital is expected.
3. The effect of tendinopathy on Achilles tendon properties and gait mechanics.
Achilles tendinopathy is one of the more common tendinopathies. It is difficult to treat
and has the greatest impact in restricting daily activity. Tendinopathy is a major
musculoskeletal health problem in the community, and treatment outcomes are often
poor. This project aims to understand the biology of Achilles tendinopathy in a rabbit
model. Techniques can span tendon material testing, in vivo tendon force
measurements, electromyography, muscle sarcomere measurements and modelling.
This project is funded through the Australian Research Council, private industry
(Orthocell) and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. Interaction with collaborators in
Medicine (Orthopaedics) and Engineering is possible.
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Jonas Rubenson on 6488
5533 or email@example.com. More information on Jonas’ research can also
be found at: mfll-uwa.jonasrubenson.com
EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY AND
WINTHROP PROFESSOR BRIAN DAWSON
Effects of caffeine/bicarbonate (and other ergogenic aids) on performance and
Effects of sand running and grass running on inflammatory markers and
economy of exercise
Work rate and performance indicators in team sports
Agility training and performance changes
Post exercise recovery procedures: cold water immersion and sleep
Field tests of fitness (shuttle run, timed runs etc)
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Brian Dawson on 6488
2276 or firstname.lastname@example.org
PROFESSOR PAUL FOURNIER
Factors affecting the hyperglycaemic effect of sprinting in individuals with or
without type 1 diabetes. Co-supervisor: Ray Davey, Kym Guelfi
The roles of free radicals as mediators of muscle fatigue. Co-supervisors: Tony
Bakker, Peter Arthur
Obesity and fat loss: Optimisation of team sport design for energy expenditure in
children and adolescents. Co-supervisor: Kym Guelfi
Obesity and energy balance loss: Post-exercise fat oxidation associated with
feeding in obese individuals. Co-supervisor: Kym Guelfi
Use of continuous glucose monitoring systems as a means to normalise blood
glucose levels in type 1 diabetes. Co-supervisor: Ray Davey, Tim Jones
Ergogenic effects of a glucose mouth rinse and carbohydrate ingestion on sprint
performance. Co-supervisor: Kym Guelfi
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Paul Fournier on 6488
1356 or email@example.com
WINTHROP PROFESSOR DANNY GREEN AND DR. LOUISE NAYLOR
Drs Danny Green and Louise Naylor will be working collaboratively on projects
involving the effects of exercise and exercise training on artery function and
We welcome enquiries from Honours or PhD students who may be interested in
research involving the impact of exercise on common diseases such as diabetes,
obesity and heart disease.
Our research team is focus on cardiovascular adaptations to exercise training, and
application of this work to optimise clinical outcomes for “at risk” populations.
Our research looks at people across the spectrum of health and disease, from elite
athlethes to chronically ill individuals (for example, patients with advanced heart
failure, obesity and adolescents with type 2 diabetes) to generate a multifaceted
understanding of cardiac and vascular exercise physiology. We are also intereseted
in basic science research to add further mechanistic insights into mechanical and
neural regulation of the cardiovascular system.
Some examples of potential projects include:
Impact of obesity and type 2 diabetes on artery function and future heart
disease risk in children
Effects of exercise training on obesity and diabetes in children with type 2
Impact of blood glucose on large and small artery function in children with
Effect of activity restriction (inactivity) on the function of small and large
Impact of paraplegia on artery function. Effects of stimulated exercise training
and upper limb exercise training in paraplegic subjects
Effect of increasing physical activity levels on survival in patients with heart
Effect of increasing physical activity on success of transplantation in patients
with heart failure
Effect of artery structure on changes in the function of arteries and arterial
Can vessels improve without exercise? Understanding the mechanisms
underlying vascular changes: shear stress and vascular health
Effects of resistance and aerobic exercise on vascular function in obese and
type 2 diabetic subjects
Effects of resistance and aerobic exercise on cardiac size and function using
magnetic resonance imaging and echocardiography
Effects of heat on skin blood flow regulation and mechanisms controlling skin
Elite athletes: Impact of training on cardiac and vascular function and
Exercise training for the prevention of dementia
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Danny Green on
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR KYM GUELFI
The effect of exercise on appetite, food preferences and overall energy (food)
intake: implications for weight management.
Pregnancy and exercise (and the prevention of gestational diabetes mellitus)
Exercise for the treatment and prevention of childhood obesity
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Kym Guelfi on 6488 2602
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR GRANT LANDERS
Effect of pre-cooling on exercise in the heat
Effect of body composition on pre cooling
Effect of pseudoephedrine on endurance performance
Body composition and the benefits of swimming in a wetsuit
Recovery techniques for high intensity exercise
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Grant Landers on 6488
2362 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR KAREN WALLMAN
The effects of differing ergogenic substances (ie. caffeine, beta-alanine, sodium
phosphate) on athletic performance.
Students who might wish to undertake an Honours project with Karen Wallman
should discuss the opportunity with her by contacting Karen on 6488 2304 or by
HEALTH BEHAVIOUR AND
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR JAMES DIMMOCK
The prediction of spontaneous forms of physical activity from implicit and explicit self-
Imagine a scenario in which you are watching a social game of basketball when one
of the players invites you to play with them. What would be your response to this
opportunity? The purpose of this honours investigation is to determine the relative
contribution of implicit (automatic) and explicit self-efficacy on people’s inclination to
participate in such activities.
The non-conscious activation of motivation: Implications for exercise
Many people employ dissociation strategies during their exercise by reading
magazines or by watching television. Can different types of dissociation (e.g., reading
a story about someone who is enjoying their work / reading a story about somebody
who is bored at work) differ in non-consciously activating motivation for the
secondary task (their own exercise)? Students can choose from a series of studies in
which different forms of dissociation strategies are compared.
Do you exercise to avoid losses (avoid becoming overweight, preventing disease,
etc.) or to obtain gains (becoming more athletic, attractive, etc.)?
A study is planned in which our chronic orientation to avoid losses (prevention
orientation) or to obtain gains (promotion orientation) is activated via priming. This
priming will involve a task in which pictures of overweight or athletic people will be
viewed. The effect of this priming on subsequent exercise (spin bicycle task) will be
‘I just hit out – I wasn’t thinking’. Accessibility to aggressive thoughts as predictors of
impulsive versus deliberate aggression.
This study will determine factors that contribute to impulsive aggression in sport.
Please speak to James Dimmock for more information on this topic.
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact James Dimmock on 6488
1384 or email@example.com
PROFESSOR SANDY GORDON
EVALUATION OF “DEVELOPING CHAMPIONS”: AN ATHLETE LIFE SKILLS
This project would be supported by a partnership between the Western Australian
Institute of Sport (WAIS) and UWA, with Kate Bobridge (mentioned below) acting as a
co-supervisor if necessary.
Kate Bobridge, Athlete Career and Education Training Officer, manages the “Developing
Champions” program which is a joint initiative between the Department of Sport and
Recreation (DSR) and WAIS. The program targets athletes who currently train and
compete in the tier below elite in their sports’ pathways, and who are aiming to make the
transition into the elite sporting environment. The objective of the program is to “achieve
positive behaviour change in targeted athletes by developing athletes’ 1. Interpersonal
and personal life skills and 2. Ability to apply these skills within different contexts” – to
assist them with transitions, performance and personal development.
The project would involve evaluating the efficacy of the program among its targeted
participants, and/or the evaluation of feedback gained from a number of sources –
participants, State Sporting Association representatives and parents of participants.
Feedback from these sources would include perceived efficacy of the program and
appropriateness of program content and delivery methods.
The potential scope of the project includes: research and involvement with the
implementation of appropriate testing methods; data collection and analysis and
recommendations for future work in this area.
1. Qualitative Research
o Towards an understanding of mental toughness in sport, the arts or
– Elite vs. sub-elite; Male vs. female; Team vs. individual sports
– Methodological variations (e.g., revised performance profile,
longitudinal interviews, experience cycle methodology)
o Key stakeholders’ (e.g., players, parents, coaches, sport
psychologists) perceptions on the development and maintenance of
mental toughness in sport, the arts or business.
o Transferability of mental toughness from sport to other life settings
2. Quantitative Research
o Psychometric examinations of the:
– Australian football Mental Toughness Inventory
– Cricket Mental Toughness Inventory
o Examining the antecedents and outcomes of mental toughness using:
- Other psychological constructs (e.g., hardiness, resilience, burnout,
flow, well-being, etc.)
– Objective measures (e.g., performance, beep test, etc.)
o Differences/similarities between multisource (self, parent, and coach)
ratings of mental toughness.
3. Mixed-Methods Research
o Changes in mental toughness over the course of a competitive
- Interviews combined with questionnaire data and training diaries.
- Case study approaches
- Comparison of demographic groups (e.g., male vs. female)
o Mental toughness and the injury rehabilitation process.
o Relationship with adherence, coping, etc.
4. Intervention Research
o Comparing psychological skills training programs with interventions
specifically targeting key mental toughness characteristics.
o Comparing athlete, parent, and coach education/training programs
o What is the most appropriate age to implement interventions designed
to develop/enhance mental toughness?
o Comparing single-subject vs. group methodologies.
EVALUATION OF A LIFE-COACHING PROGRAM AMONG FIRST YEAR
Among 1st year University students a Life Coaching intervention will
evidence positive change in perceptions of resilience, hope, and
personal & academic strivings; and, decline in perceived levels of
stress and anxiety. (Hons study presented/approved 2007)
POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY – VARIOUS POSSIBILITIES (SEE SANDY)
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Sandy Gordon on
6488 2375 or sandy.gordon@.uwa.edu.au
RESEARCH ASSOCIATE DR BEN JACKSON
Ben’s research focuses on the factors that make close relationships work (or not) in
sport, health and exercise. There are numerous forms of important relationships or
partnerships in these settings, including coach-athlete, athlete-athlete, therapist-patient,
and psychologist-athlete pairs, and so on. Recent research has shown that various
psychological factors can be important in ensuring people feel committed to and happy
with their relationship, including confidence beliefs, personality traits, and
communication styles. Various opportunities are available to explore one or more of
these factors in more detail, using a variety of interview, questionnaire, and
For more information or to discuss any potential areas of interest, please contact
Ben on 6488 4625 or firstname.lastname@example.org
WINTHROP PROFESSOR BOB GROVE
Bob has research interests in sport psychology, exercise psychology, and health
psychology. Specific topics that could be pursued for honours-level research under his
Assessment and development of exercise habits
Physical self-concept, physique anxiety, and health behaviour
Psychological consequences of high-intensity training
Attentional processes during long-duration sports events
Effects of self-talk on motor performance
Field tests for the prediction of throwing speed
For more information or to discuss any potential areas of interest, please contact
Bob Grove on 6488 2369 or Bob.Grove@uwa.edu.au
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR REBECCA BRAHAM and ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
Exer-gaming and physical activity
Exer gaming as a means of participating in physical activity is receiving increased
attention. There are several projects around this topic which will explore exer-gaming
looking at energy expenditure differences between games, consoles and across age
Understanding moderate intensity physical activity
The idea of participating in moderate intensity physical activity is widely promoted.
There are a series of projects that aim to explore this concept by attempting to
understand the general populations’ interpretation of moderate intensity activity,
whether this differs depending on current exercise level and whether you can train
individuals to walk at moderate intensity physical activity.
Sitting and Standing as risk factors for Health
Recent discussion around physical activity guidelines have started to focus on
standing, with some researchers suggesting that length of time standing may be an
independent risk factor for ill health. Presently, there is little knowledge about the
actual amount of time workers spend standing during the work day. This research
area will explore concepts surrounding this issues as well as the difference in energy
cost between sitting and standing.
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Michael Rosenberg on 6488
4654 or email@example.com or Rebecca Braham on 6488 2365.
PHYSICAL AND HEALTH EDUCATION
If you wish to undertake your Honours project with Dr Peter Whipp and Mr Martin
Anderson, please do not hesitate to contact them on 6488 2793 or
firstname.lastname@example.org and 6488 3918 or email@example.com
EXERCISE REHABILITATION OR
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH
Students who might wish to undertake an Honours project in these discipline areas
should discuss the opportunity with Winthrop Professor Tim Ackland or Dr Jay Ebert.
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Professor Tim Ackland on
6488 2886 or tim.ackland@ uwa.edu.au or Dr Jay Ebert on jay.ebert@ uwa.edu.au.