Research Methods module (GM52008)

Develop expertise in research design, as well as carrying out, interpreting, and disseminating the findings of a systematic review

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In this module you will learn the relevant skills necessary to support the development of expertise in research design, culminating in the production of a research proposal relevant to population health.

Knowledge in observational research, both quantitative and qualitative, allows the focus of the problem to be identified. Interventional studies then allow mechanisms of change to be explored and tested. Knowing how to design these studies, how to conduct them, how to collect data, and how to analyse and interpret the findings will allow you to apply the concepts in your future careers.

This module will give you a grounding in the theoretical and practical skills needed to design a research study and write-up a protocol.

What You Will Learn

In this module, you will:

  • learn how to use appropriate scientific literature to justify research design
  • review the different stages of the research process
  • write a research protocol with a detailed study timetable
  • learn about the need for and process of a systematic review
  • learn about the importance of strict methodology and quality control
  • learn about the ethical principles governing research and the role of the Research Ethics Committee

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • critically review appropriate literature pertaining to population heath research
  • design a research study, demonstrating a mastery of principles including the use of evidence base, choice of study design, importance of matching design to research aims, and awareness of the ethical principles governing research
  • formulate a systematic review, including describing the key steps, developing the research question, constructing a search strategy, selecting primary papers for inclusion, assessing the quality and bias of included studies using appropriate screening tools, extracting and analysing data, interpreting results, writing reports, and disseminating findings
  • conduct a meta-analysis as part of a systematic review, including forest and funnel plots

Assignments / assessment

  • written assessment 2,500 words (90%)
  • class performance (10%)

This module does not have a final exam.

Teaching methods / timetable

The module is taught by a combination of direct student contact on the Ninewells Hospital and Medical School campus and online content.

  • lectures (both face to face and online)
  • guest lecturers
  • online resources
  • practical classes
  • tutorials

Taught sessions have a tutorial with formative feedback. Individual written feedback is given on the summative assessment.


This module is available on following courses: