COLLEGE OF MEDICINE AND HEALTH
Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions

Module

Fundamentals of Research Design

Module titleFundamentals of Research Design
Module codeHPDM092
Academic year2021/2
Credits15
Module staff

Dr Julia Frost (Convenor)

Professor Rob Anderson (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks

8

Number students taking module (anticipated)

15

Description - summary of the module content

Module description

In this compulsory introductory module, you will critically examine and apply the core concepts and models at the heart of health services research, and the main methods and elements of study design that underpin this multidisciplinary and highly applied area of social science. It seeks balanced coverage of: quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods; a wide range of disciplinary perspectives; appreciation of the full range of health service and health policy goals (e.g. effectiveness, safety, cost-effectiveness, feasibility, acceptability, accessibility, equity); and is based around the key study design choices which all applied social science studies face.  It will also cover fundamental considerations in all high quality applied health research, such as: the role of theory; patient and public involvement; data processing and management, and research ethics.

Module aims - intentions of the module

By undertaking this module you will gain critical insights into the diversity of methods and core concepts needed to conduct high quality applied health research. The detailed content and aims (see sections below) are geared to the goal of designing research that not only produces valid and reliable knowledge on important health and health service problems, but research findings which are useful to those working in health or social care and health systems – whether they be health, public health or social care professionals, service or hospital managers, service commissioners or healthy policy makers.  You will also be able to practice masters level study skills and writing techniques throughout the module. 

The module content and assessments are designed to be of value for people from a wide variety of: academic (e.g. social science, science maths) or professional (e.g. clinician) backgrounds; and from both early career (e.g. recent undergraduates, first year PhD, intercalating medical students) and mid-career stages as professionals.  This ensures that the module has appeal and utility for researchers and scientists wanting to learn more about the specific problems, goals and core concepts and methods related to doing research for improving health and social care; and for health professionals and other care or management professionals who want to acquire and apply social research knowledge and skills to the teams, programmes and organisations within which they work.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. To introduce and critically examine the key frameworks and threshold concepts that underpin and justify evaluation and research of health care, health services and health systems.
  • 2. To understand the strengths and limitations of three of the main strategies of enquiry in applied health research – quantitative research, qualitative research, mixed methods research
  • 3. To be able to critically examine the ethical risks, implications and regulations related to collecting, processing, analysing and securely storing data from people in health and care contexts, and know how these risks can be minimised or managed.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 4. To understand the multidisciplinary field of health services research; and an understanding of how the distinct concepts, theories and methodologies of different applied social sciences enable original and useful knowledge for improving health and social care.
  • 5. To know the common steps, choices and processes involved in designing a research study.
  • 6. To have a clear understanding of the main study designs for the quantitative evaluation the outcomes of health interventions, and an appreciation of the key study design choices and elements/concepts of study design they are based on.
  • 7. To have a clear understanding of the main study designs for the quantitative evaluation the outcomes of health interventions, and an appreciation of the key study design choices and elements/concepts of study design they are based on.
  • 8. To understand the importance of and methods for engaging with stakeholders, potential research users and patients and the public when conducting applied health research.

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 9. To understand the importance of and methods for engaging with stakeholders, potential research users and patients and the public when conducting applied health research.
  • 10. Undertake study skills and writing at masters level

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:

 

The main (applied social science) sub-disciplines of health services research

Health services and health systems (drivers and contexts, policies and guidelines)

Evidence-based policy and practice

Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods modes of inquiry

Key steps, choices and considerations in designing applied health research

Stakeholder engagement and patient and public involvement in research

Research ethics: assessing and managing risks with people and their data

 

The following approaches might be applied if necessary due to Covid19: -

  • Face-to-face scheduled lectures may be replaced by short pre-recorded videos for each topic (15-20 minutes) and/or brief overview lectures delivered via MS Teams, with learning consolidated by self-directed learning resources and ELE activities. –
  • Small-group discussion in tutorials and seminars may be replaced by synchronous group discussion on MS-Teams; or asynchronous online discussion, for example via Yammer or ELE Discussion board –

Workshops involving face-to-face classroom teaching may be replaced by synchronous sessions on MS-Teams; or Asynchronous workshop activities supported with discussion forum

Learning and teaching

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

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
421080

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities26Synchronous and Asynchronous (pre-recorded) online lectures, seminars, master-classes to enhance learning through consolidation of pre-reading, introduction to key topics, specialist areas and contemporary debates.
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities10Synchronous group discussions (via MS-Teams) where applicable, practical exercises and workshops to foster critical thinking and academic/research skills development with opportunities for peer and tutor feedback if relevant to your mode of study.
Scheduled Learning & Teaching66 weekly (1 hour) online Q&A sessions by MS-Teams. Flexibility for some to be evening.
Guided independent study64Web-based learning; resource gathering and in-depth reading during the period of module delivery
Guided independent study44Preparation and writing of assignments.

Assessment

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Shared feedback on understanding and assignment plansScheduled Q&A sessions via MS-Teams1-10Oral* and written** feedback *For those in MS-Teams Q&A session ** summarised in ELE as FAQs
Oral presentation (on using concepts/methods from a chosen subdiscipline of HSR)Oral presentation (on using concepts/methods from a chosen subdiscipline of HSR)1-10Oral feedback in session

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams
10000

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Two glossary entries (long definitions) of key concepts/methods20500 words (200-250 each)1,3,5-8Written feedback
Written assignment802000 words1,3,5-8Written feedback
0
0
0
0

Re-assessment

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Two glossary entries (20%) - re-submission of same task but reflecting feedback 500 words (200-250 each)1,3,5-8Typically within six weeks of the result
Written assignment (80%) – re-submission but reflecting feedbackLong written assignment (2,000 words)1,3,5-6Typically within six weeks of the result

Resources

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

 

Williams M. (2016) Key Concepts in The Philosophy of Social Research. Sage Publications, London.

 

Creswell J W (2014). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed methods approaches. Sage (4th Edition)

 

Other useful readings:

 

Catherine Pope & Nicholas Mays (Eds) (2020). Qualitative Research in Health Care. Wiley Blackwell.

 

 

Richards, D.A., Rahm Hallberg, I. (eds). (2015). Complex Interventions in Health: an Overview of Research Methods. London, Routledge.

 

Craig P. et al. Developing and evaluating complex interventions: The new Medical Research Council guidance:BMJ 2008;337:a1655

 

 NHS National Institute of Health Research.  INVOLVE. http://www.invo.org.uk/ (accessed 5th February 2014)

 

ELE – College to provide hyperlink to appropriate pages

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

health services, research, public health, concepts, research design

Credit value15
Module ECTS

7.5

Module pre-requisites

None

Module co-requisites

None

NQF level (module)

7

Available as distance learning?

Yes

Origin date

20/12/2016

Last revision date

10/08/2020