HSC8001 : Fundamentals of Research
- Offered for Year: 2019/20
- Module Leader(s): Dr Shelina Visram
- Owning School: FMS Graduate School
- Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
|Semester 1 Credit Value:||20|
Through combining lectures, practical sessions and self-directed learning, this module will introduce the core concepts of applied research methods in the health sciences. The aim is to provide all students with a basic grounding in qualitative and quantitative research methods, so that they are able to understand, critique and apply different research designs to applied health and social science research questions.
Outline Of Syllabus
This module provides an introduction and broad overview of the following topics:
1) Formulating research questions, epistemology, approaches to research (quantitative and qualitative)
2) Introduction to research methods:
- Cross-sectional and descriptive studies
- Longitudinal surveys
- Case-control studies
- Cohort studies
- Randomised controlled trials
- Qualitative interview studies/focus groups
- Qualitative observation studies
- Mixed methods studies
3) Analytical Methods:
- Measure of frequency (incidence and prevalence)
- Measures of association and risk (rate ratios, relative risks, odds ratios)
- Specific and standardized rates
- Principles of qualitative thematic analysis
4) Ensuring quality in research
- The hierarchy of quantitative research evidence and causality
- Critical Appraisal: Bias, confounding and effect modification
- Validity and reliability
|Guided Independent Study||Assessment preparation and completion||40||1:00||40:00||N/A|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Lecture||10||3:00||30:00||N/A|
|Guided Independent Study||Directed research and reading||40||1:00||40:00||N/A|
|Guided Independent Study||Independent study||90||1:00||90:00||N/A|
Teaching Rationale And Relationship
The anticipated number of students and the nature of the learning and skills objectives indicate that a participative approach to teaching and learning, with ample time for discussion and practical activities in small and plenary groups, is more appropriate than formal lectures; hence the emphasis on seminars as the main mode of delivery. Learning materials will be made available to students in advance of seminars, using the Blackboard learning platform, and it will be expected that students have done the required preparatory work.
To develop and practice the practical skills of research design and data interpretation, scheduled student-led group work sessions will be arranged in which students will work in small groups on a practical task, such as designing a piece of research to address a specified research question and calculating and interpreting principal measures of disease frequency, risk and association used by epidemiologists and health services researchers. The face to face teaching will also introduce students to qualitative research design and methodology including enactment for interview and focus group research. Across the module there will be a mixture of lectures and seminars/practical sessions during which students will be encouraged to interact with one another and discuss/practice the use of different research methods. There is a focus on practical sessions which are the most effective way to impart the skills required for health sciences research.
As this is a Masters level course, students will be expected to engage in significant self-guided learning, including allocated essential and further reading and accessing web-based learning resources. In order to ensure that all students are at a similar level of comprehension students will be asked to read and prepare prior to the face to face lectures and practical sessions.
This module aims to provide students with the confidence and skills to undertake their own piece of qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods research.
The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners
|Written exercise||1||M||100||To write a 4,000 word (maximum) assignment.|
Assessment Rationale And Relationship
Students will be asked to produce a 4,000 word structured essay for which they will be presented with information and data relating to a quantitative study.
The written assignment will test students’ understanding of measurement and design issues in epidemiology and health services research by asking for in-depth discussion of these topics and will require students to demonstrate their ability to calculate and interpret one or more key measures of disease frequency, risk or association. It will enable us to assess students’ ability to apply their skills and knowledge in planning and designing a rigorous qualitative study and conduct appropriate analysis. The final element will allow students to demonstrate their knowledge of mixed methods and data integration.