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SPE2050 : Research Methods in Practice II

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Janet Webster
  • Teaching Assistant: Dr Jenna Charlton
  • Owning School: Education, Communication & Language Sci
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


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:
12.1 be able to engage in evidence-based practice, evaluate practice systematically and participate in audit procedures
12.2 be able to gather information, including qualitative and quantitative data, that helps to evaluate the responses of service users to their care
12.3 be aware of the role of audit and review in quality management, including quality control, quality assurance and the use of appropriate outcome measures
12.5 be aware of, and be able to participate in, quality assurance programmes where appropriate
12.7 recognise the need to monitor and evaluate the quality of practice and the value of contributing to the generation of data for quality assurance and improvement programmes
13.2 be aware of the principles and applications of scientific enquiry, including the evaluation of treatment efficacy and the research process
14.11 to be able to use research, reasoning and problem solving skills to determine appropriate actions
14.12 recognise the value of research to the critical evaluation of practice
14.13 be aware of a range of research methodologies
14.14 to be able to 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 demonstrate the ability to apply those principles to determine appropriate actions/inform practice and participate in quality assurance occurring in other modules.

Outline Of Syllabus

Topic 1 Formulating questions in service related research
Topic 2       Evidence based practice and PICO
Topic 3       Intervention designs: RCT and QE
Topic 4       Intervention designs : Single subject experimental design
Topic 5       Surveys
Topic 6       Qualitative methods: what questions qualitative work can answer, main types of qualitative studies, sources of bias
Topic 7       Service evaluation
Topic 8       Audit
Topic 9       Critical appraisal of papers 1
Topic 10 Critical appraisal of papers 2
Topic 11 Critical appraisal of papers 3

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. One of the sessions will focus on the evaluation of more qualitative approaches to the student of speech and language disorders and swallowing.

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 completion110:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading124:0024:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical120:0020:00Reflective Learning Activity
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study124:0024:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures will be in discussion format and students will be expected to report in small groups on what they have found looking from the structured reading of papers at specific papers at regular intervals and relating this to practice. Initially papers will be selected that allows them to use their existing statistical knowledge but as the term progresses the students will identify type of analyses with which they are not familiar (e.g., papers using qualitative analyses).

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation202A30Group class presentations: 20 minutes per group of approx 4 students.
Written Examination902A70IN-HOUSE CLASS TEST - organised by School
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment for this module is in two forms. The first is a presentation where groups of four students examine a specific paper using a provided template and then present this to the class and answer questions about the judgements that they make. This will be good experience for students explaining their evidence based judgement in public. This constitutes 30% of the total mark for the module.

The in house class test is appropriate for accessing specific detailed information. This will make up 70% of the mark for the module.

Reading Lists