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SPE2050 : Research Methods in Practice II

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Janet Webster
  • Lecturer: Professor Cristina McKean
  • Owning School: Education, Communication & Language Sci
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module focuses on clinical research methods and evidence based practice. For students on the BSc Speech and Language Therapy this is their final research methods in practice module. For the Masters of Speech and Language Sciences course this is the second of four RMP modules leading to the dissertation in year 4.

The main objective of this course is to help you further develop your understanding of the principles of experimental design and their application to evidence based practice. This includes critiquing of different sorts of study designs and their application using explicit and well recognised quality criteria. After the course you will be able to choose appropriate research methods, describe them appropriately and examine them in different types of research papers. You will also have the basic underpinning research knowledge to carry out audit and service development work in practice.

In relation to HCPC Standards of Proficiency, this module focuses on:
11.1 engage in evidence based practice
11.2 gather and use feedback and information, including qualitative and quantitative data, to evaluate the response of service users to their care
11.3 monitor and systematically evaluate the quality of practice, and maintain an effective quality management and quality assurance process working towards continual improvement
11.6 recognise the value of gathering and using data for quality assurance and improvement programmes
12.2 demonstrate awareness of the principles and applications of scientific enquiry, including the evaluation of treatment efficacy and the research process
13.8 recognise a range of research methodologies relevant to their role
13.9 recognise the value of research to the critical evaluation of practice
13.10 critically evaluate research and other evidence to inform their own practice

This module provides an understanding of and discussion of the principles underpinning these standards, with opportunities to apply them in the critical evaluation of research and in thinking about the design of audits and service evaluations.

Outline Of Syllabus

The following topics are considered:
Introduction to evidence based practice
Formulating questions in service related research
Critical appraisal and understanding bias
Levels of evidence
Intervention designs: RCT
Intervention designs: Single case experimental design and case series
Qualitative research methods for quality assurance: Surveys
Qualitative research methods for quality assurance: Interviews and focus groups
Audit and service evaluation
Critical appraisal of intervention studies

The critical appraisal sessions will focus on intervention literature in domains relevant to all other aspects of the course – ie different aspects of speech and language therapy such as aphasia, developmental language disorders, dysfluency etc.

Relevant aspects of RCSLT curriculum guidelines:
This module contributes to the key graduate capabilities around research and evidence-based practice (4.2.4), with a focus on critical appraisal to allow students to use the evidence base to support clinical reasoning and practice (section A), research skills and methods (section B) equipping students with the knowledge and skills to understand, interpret and apply research to practice and the knowledge to engage in research related activity and service evaluation and development (section C).

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion215:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Lectures & workshops scheduled together to allow initial introduction to topics and then interactive group work to consolidate application to practice.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading124:0024:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops111:0011:00Lectures & workshops scheduled together to allow initial introduction to topics and then interactive group work to consolidate application to practice.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study124:0024:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures provide an initial introduction to topics and interactive group work enables students to consider application to practice.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A100N/A
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation2MGroup class presentations: 20 minute presentations by groups of approximately 4 students.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The formative assessment allows groups of students to work together to critically appraise an intervention study and then present their findings to their peers. This is crucial professional experience.
The exam is appropriate for assessing their understanding of key concepts and could use their knowledge to be evidence based practitioners.

Reading Lists