Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions


Introduction to Health Research

Module titleIntroduction to Health Research
Module codeCSC2007
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Dr Siobhan O'Dwyer (Convenor)

Dr Jenny Lloyd (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Research is essential for good human health and informs every aspect of clinical practice, social care, and public policy. This module will introduce you to the fundamentals of health research, including quantitative and qualitative research methods, basic statistical analyses, the publication and dissemination of research findings, patient and public involvement, and the interconnection between research funding, public policy, and clinical practice. This module will focus specifically on research that is conducted with human participants.

For students in the Medical Sciences Programme, this module can be taken with Ethical Issues in Health Research and Measurement and Evaluation in Health Research to complete the Health Research Pathway, or taken on its own as part of an interdisciplinary pathway. It is designed to complement the module Principles of Medical Research.

This module is also open to students in Psychology and Sport & Health Sciences and will suit students who are interested in working in health research or using research to inform their clinical practice with patients in hospitals, social care, or community settings.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to provide students with foundational knowledge and skills in research design, analysis, and dissemination. 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate an understanding of different research methods and their role in advancing understanding of human health
  • 2. Conduct basic statistical analyses
  • 3. Explain the importance of involving patients and the public in research
  • 4. Find and critically appraise existing research evidence for a range of health issues
  • 5. Summarise research findings for academic publication and dissemination to lay audiences
  • 6. Critically reflect on the complex relationship between research funding, public policy, and clinical practice

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Understand the importance of research in the development and implementation of best practice across a range of healthcare settings
  • 8. Explain the steps in the research process, from question to implementation

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 9. Manage time and workload effectively
  • 10. Communicate clearly and efficiently in both written and oral formats, for scientific and lay audiences

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows:  


Lecture Topics: 

  1. What is health research and why do we do it? 

  1. Quantitative research methods  

  1. Qualitative research methods  

  1. Statistical analysis  

  1. Qualitative analysis  

  1. Publication and dissemination 

  1. Patient and public involvement 

  1. Research funding, policy, and practice 

  1. Summary and revision 



Workshops and self-directed learning will cover: 

Randomisation; basic statistical analysis; thematic analysis; literature search and retrieval skills; critical appraisal of published research; learning directly from members of the PenCLAHRC Patient Involvement Group; PenPIG); and, preparation of abstracts and press releases.  


For the 2021/2022 academic year, this module will be delivered in a blended format. Some sessions will be delivered face-to-face (COVID restrictions permitting) and others will be delivered synchronously online via Teams. 

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities20Lectures / interactive presentations from specialists in health research
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities10Small group workshops with specialist tutors to guide practical activities and facilitated engagement with members of PenPIG
Guided Independent study63Preparation for scheduled activities
Guided Independent Study55Assessment preparation


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Completion of practical activities in workshops Throughout module1-9Verbal feedback in workshops

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Critically Appraised Topic502 pages (min 500 words; max 1,000), using CAT template1, 4, 7, 9, 10Individual written feedback
Abstract and Press Release50Abstract: 300 words Press Release: One page (min 300 words, max 500), using supplied research findings1,3,5, 6, 9, 10Individual written feedback


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Critically Appraised Topic (50%), 3 pages, using critical appraisal framework 2 pages (min 500 words, max 1,000), using CAT template1,4,7,9,10Ref/Def
Abstract and Press Release (50%), Abstract: 300 words Press Release: 1 page, using supplied research findingAbstract: 300 words Press Release: One page (min 300 words, max 500), using supplied research findings 1,3,5,6,9,10Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Please refer to the TQA section on Referral/Deferral:


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

Mitchell, M.L. & Jolley, J.M. (2012). Research Design Explained. Wadsworth Publishing: USA.

Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS Statistics. Sage Publications: London.


Students will also be expected to read and critically appraise peer-reviewed academic journal articles and media reports of research findings. 

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Web based and electronic resources will be available

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Health Research; Research Design; Statistics; Quantitative Methods; Qualitative Methods; Patient and Public Involvement; Publication’ Dissemination; Implementation; Critical Appraisal; Psychology; Medicine; Health Sciences

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date