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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Postgraduate Medical School Short Name: PGMSPCM08
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: BALLARD K Dr (PGMS)
Number of credits: 15 Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module Availability
Three continuous days of contact and Self directed learning.
Assessment Pattern

Components of Assessment






Percentage weighting






2,500 Word Essay



100 %



Module Overview
The process of turning a clinical problem into a research question and subsequently, an achievable research project, requires knowledge and understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of different research methods. Within this module, students will learn the principles behind different research methods and will be able to use this knowledge to design an appropriate research project.
Module Aims

By the end of the module students will be able:





  • To enable students to formulate a research question using the most appropriate research methodology.


  • To understand the principles of different research methods.


  • To recognise the strengths and weaknesses of different research methods.


  • To have a basic understanding of how to analyse quantitative and qualitative data.


  • To understand the principles underpinning research ethics and governance


Learning Outcomes

Subject Knowledge and Understanding


The principles and theories of different research methods.



Strengths and weaknesses of different research designs.



Different statistical tests and their uses.



Ethics of carrying out research.



Ethics of obtaining consent for surgery





Cognitive Skills



Critically appraise different research methodologies.



Identify clinical problems that would benefit from further research.



Draw on appropriate methodologies to formulate a research question.



Assess the validity of outcome measures.



Identify the most appropriate statistical test for data analysis





Practical Skills



To be able to design a basic postal survey.



To be able to formulate a research question.



To design a research project





Key Transferable Skills



Critically appraise and integrate appropriate published work into written assignments.



Present research ideas to peers.



Communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively by oral and written means.



Use information technology effectively.
Module Content

Turning a question into a research project



Designing a survey



Using validated outcome measures



Principles of statistics, sample size calculation, describing data, missing variables



Randomised controlled trials – the gold standard?



Use of secondary data (i.e. GPRD)



Principles of qualitative research methods



Sam pling for qualitative research



Analysing qualitative data



Systematic reviews



Reliability and validity, confounders, standardisation



Ethical issues relating to research



Research governance



Case control studies



Cohort studies
Methods of Teaching/Learning
A combination of lectures, seminars, plenary sessions, small group tutorials, workgroups and peer review / presentations.
Selected Texts/Journals

This module will be supported by printed notes where necessary. Students will be provided with relevant published papers and have access to the lecture materials and background examples in power point presentations. Further recommended reading includes:



Essential Text



Bowling, A. (2002) Research Methods in Health; Investigating health and health services. Open University Press



Bland, M. (2000) An introduction to Medical Statistics (3rd edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press



Mays N, Pope C, eds. (1996) Qualitative research in health care. London : BMJ Publishing Group



Recommended Text



Bowling, A. (1997) Measuring Health: A review of quality of life measurement scales. Buckingham: Open University Press



Background Reading



Rapley, M. (2003) Quality of Life Research: A critical introduction. London : Sage Publications
Last Updated

24th June 2008