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Health Research in Practice - HEA00092M

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  • Department: Health Sciences
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Jim McCambridge
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22
    • See module specification for other years: 2022-23

Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

  • None

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
B Spring Term 2021-22

Module aims

This module aims to facilitate learning for students who engage with research data or with the research process, developing skills in the conduct of the early stages of the research process, the critical analysis of research, and in applying research findings to practice.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  1. Develop an understanding of research as a process from systematic examination of existing knowledge and research question construction, through research design, data collection and analysis, to reporting and dissemination.
  2. Describe how concepts such as uncertainty, validity, bias, chance, complexity and causality apply to the evaluation of existing research data and to the design of new health research studies.
  3. Develop a research question iteratively through systematic review of existing research.
  4. Describe the range of research designs used in health sciences, and be able to provide a justification for using a particular research design to address a given research question.
  5. Demonstrate awareness of the practicalities of doing health research and be able to use planning skills in the development of a study protocol.
  6. Communicate an understanding of ethical issues in study protocol development, including research integrity and validity issues.
  7. Design an observational, intervention or qualitative study protocol which addresses an important health problem.

Module content

The learning outcomes are strongly connected to engagement with existing research produced, and application of such findings to practice. The module prepares students for the conduct of the early stages of the research process, so that students will be able to use research, informed by insights gained through their own experience of starting to do research. This module can thus be characterised as involving a 'learning by doing' approach.

Session Number Topic
Session 1 Introduction to module, the research process & basic concepts in research methods
Session 2 Research protocols & their development
Session 3 Information retrieval and handling
Session 4 Systematic reviews
Session 5 Randomised controlled trials
Session 6 Observational studies
Session 7 Qualitative studies
Session 8 Ethics in health research
Session 9 Integrating session: doing and using research


Task Length % of module mark
Study Protocol - 2500 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Study Protocol - 2500 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

  • Feedback will be given on work developing study protocols throughout the module. Feedback on the formative assessment will determine whether the proposed study idea for protocol development is appropriate for the summative assessment, with advice on beneficial changes.
  • Written feedback for summative assessment is provided on the standard proforma, within the timescale specified in the programme handbook.

Indicative reading

  • Bowling, A. (2009). Research Methods in Health: Investigating Health and Health Services. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
  • Robson, C. (2013). Real World Research. 3rd edn. Chichester: Wiley.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.