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SPE3056 : Research Methods in Practice III

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Laurence White
  • Lecturer: Dr Christos Salis, Dr Nick Riches
  • 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 builds on previous Research Methods in Practice modules and aims to develop more advanced statistical analytical skills, working towards development of a research proposal.

This course builds on that in the two previous years and sets you up for your dissertation. It extends your knowledge of research design, parametric statistics and introduces you to analysis of variance, regressions, odd ratio and effect sizes. It develops your understanding of applied qualitative methods, including thematic and framework analysis in a clinical context.

In relation to HCPC Standards of Proficiency, this module builds on knowledge in Research Methods in Practice I and II, focusing specifically on:
2.1 maintain high standards of personal and professional conduct
2.7 understand the importance of and be able to obtain valid consent, which is voluntary, informed has due regard to capacity, is propotionate to the circumstances and is appropriately documented
6.5 recognise that the concepts of confidentiality and informed consent extend to all mediums, including illustrative clinical records such as photography, video and audio recordings and digital platforms
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 considers these standards in relation to the development of a specific research proposal but allows application to other aspects of clinical practice e.g. quality assurance, evaluation of treatment.

Outline Of Syllabus

- Review of applied research methodologies and study designs, formulating and asking different types of questions, sampling etc. Preliminary preparation towards proposal.

- Dissertation preparation: finding a supervisor; formulating the research proposal including ethical review process (also Caldicott Guardian process); informed consent and the need for research audit trail; preparation for writing the literature review and dissertation proposal

- Review of applied quantitative data analysis (parametric and non-parametric statistics)

- Bias and the hierarchy of evidence

- More advanced statistics 1 – One and two way ANOVA

- More advanced statistics 2 – Mixed and repeated measures ANOVA

- More advanced statistics 3 – Correlations and regressions

- Key outcome metrics - R squared, Effect sizes and Odds ratios

- Applied qualitative methods (building on year 2) – data collection approaches and sampling (interviews; focus groups)

- Applied qualitative methods – thematic and framework analysis in a clinical context
- Applied qualitative methods – thematic and framework analysis in a clinical context

- The systematic review – data searching, extraction, tabulation and interpretation

In relation to the RCSLT curriculum guidance, the module trains the key graduate capabilities outlined in 4.2.4 research and evidence based practice, including section A, the ability to use the evidence base to support clinical reasoning and practice, section B research skills and methods with students applying research to practice and planning a research project.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities11:001:00Asynchronous online material on ethical approval.
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities121:0012:00Exercises associated with workshops
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study133:0033:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision112:0012:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The workshops introduce essential theories, facts and techniques related to applied research methods and data analysis. The practical sessions work with both given scenarios and new data generated by experiments carried out in class to derive data sets that students analyse using computer/statistical skills acquired in year 1 and the lectures of year II. The course will go back over and extend the methodological expertise developed in previous years. It is critical that students see the overall coherence of the course, its application to other aspects of the teaching but also to the way that such methods fit into and although them to extend their clinical practice. The course will include preparation for the dissertation in year 4 including identifying a supervisor and completing a research proposal and ethics form.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Digital Examination902A100Inspera Exam. Multiple choice, closed book.
Zero Weighted Pass/Fail Assessments
Description When Set Comment
Written exerciseMEthics Committee Application: compulsory but does not count towards the module mark. Dissertation cannot proceed without approval.
ReportMSupervisor provide indicative reading list.Will complete a 500 word literature review related to their proposed res project.
DissertationMDissertation proposal: 750 words. Formative assessment. Submission follows return of feedback on dissertation literature review.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The exam assesses skills in identifying from a scenario the data to be used, the appropriate statistical test to use to answer a given scenario/question and carrying out the analyses using SPSS.

The literature review assesses the student's ability to investigate a thematic area and develop research questions based on the previous literature. Separation of this from the subsequent proposal allows the student to receive topic-specific feedback from the supervisor.

The dissertation proposal assesses the student’s ability to design a research project, and also writing abilities which will be important in the final dissertation. The dissertation proposal is designed to lead into the actual dissertation in the fourth year.

The dissertation proposal will be used by the ethics committee when considering the application for ethical approval, which must be in place before research starts in Semester 1 of Stage 4.

Reading Lists