Study level

  • Vacation research experience scheme


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Elizabeth Martin
Research Fellow
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Health

External supervisors

  • Associate Professor Mike Beckmann


The primary purpose of artificially inducing labour is to prevent stillbirth. However clinical guidelines are very standardised and generally recommending induction of labour at 41 weeks gestation. Clinical guidelines do not vary by ethnicity, woman's body mass index and other factors that might increase or reduce the risk of stillbirth. As a result, costly inductions may be performed unnecessarily, or too late.

The aim of this project is to conduct a literature review that will inform an ethics application on risk factors for stillbirth and clinicians' and consumers' tolerance for certain risk factors when deciding whether to induce the labour or not. The VRES student's work will inform the genesis of a large, long term project that aims to use clinical data to better inform stillbirth prevention decisions.

Research activities

The objectives are to:

  • build student capacity and interest in maternity services research
  • identify the search strategy and data extraction methods
  • conduct a literature search
  • synthesise and critically review findings
  • contribute to completing an ethics application for research using Mater Mothers Hospital data to progress this work.

You will use PubMed, CINAHL, Web of Science, Scopus, Google Scholar and hand searching of reference lists to identify scholarly works that identify risk factors for stillbirth. Through the literature review, you will also investigate methods for determine tolerances - how important certain risk factors are perceived and how much of a risk the factors would need to be - before the risk factors are considered important enough to be included in clinicians' and consumers' shared decision making regarding induction of labour and prevention of stillbirth.


You will summarise the findings into a cohesive written document that will contribute to an ethics application for the research.

Resources available to you include a friendly induction to maternity services research, the project and supervisors, a desk and computer to share with other researchers during the week, and access to skilled researchers and librarians to assist with the literature search.

Skills and experience

You should have:

  • comprehensive literature review skills including use of multiple search engines
  • good understanding of research ethics issues and the National Statement
  • good communication skills, especially written communication
  • critical thinking skills.

This project is particularly, but not only suited to Nursing and Public Health students.



Contact the supervisor for more information.