An online course for healthcare professionals. Gain a range of skills necessary to undertake research and audit activities within the healthcare sector.
In recent years there has been a rapid growth in clinical audit and research to evaluate treatment interventions and improvement in patient care and any associated cost benefits. This has led to an increasing number of healthcare professionals being exposed, often for the first time, to clinical audit and research methods. This rapid growth has been recognised here at the Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, which has an active and expanding Clinical Audit and Research Unit.
The Clinical Audit & Research Unit is a joint venture between Industry, Dundee Teaching Hospitals Trust and the University of Dundee. It is involved in a number of clinical audit projects relating to orthopaedics and provides clinical and statistical expertise in audit of process, project planning, data processing and trial control mechanisms.
The combination of expertise in postgraduate education delivered by open learning methods, coupled with an active research environment, has enabled us to develop a programme specifically tailored to deliver the skills needed by the healthcare profession to successfully undertake research and audit.
This is a modular course, taught by distance learning, covering the following subjects:
- Research and the Scientific Method
- Information Gathering and Review
- Statistical Methods
- Reporting and Presentation
- Implementing Clinical Audit
- Funding Issues
- Ethical Issues
Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)
The University of Dundee has been given a Gold award – the highest possible rating – in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).
The programme consists of nine learning units. These units may be studied individually so that you can choose to study the units you wish. Each unit requires approximately 100 notational hours of study.
How you will be taught
The programme is supplied in a presentation folder containing a student handbook and the nine units. The student handbook provides information about the structure, recommended reference materials and the tutor support system. For every unit there is a study guide that explains the objectives of that unit (what you will have learned by the end of the unit) and leads you through the learning material, section by section, using text, illustrations, activities, exercises and references to the recommended textbooks.
You monitor your own progress through the unit by completing the self-assessment questions, which are placed at regular intervals throughout the text, and checking your answers against those provided in the study guide. When you need to discuss any aspects of your study, you may contact your tutor for support.
When you need to discuss any aspects of your study, you may contact your tutor for support. Your tutor is available for direct contact by telephone at set times during the week, as specified in the module guide for each module. A telephone answering service is available after office hourse and you may also contact your tutor by email, post or fax. Tutor support is available for each module for a maximum period of three-months from the date you start the module.
How you will be assessed
Formative assessment consists of self-assessment questions in the Study Guides. Summative assessment consists of a tutor-marked assignment at the end of each module. The exact nature of each assignment is designed to reflect the aim of the module. To qualify for the Certificate students will need to complete and pass the assignments in all nine modules undertaken.
What you will study
Unit 1 - Research and the Scientific Method (10 SM SCOTCAT Credit Points)
Upon completion of this unit the student should be able to: explain why research is important to healthcare workers; describe the scientific method; define the term "hypothesis"; understand the importance of being able to test an hypothesis; begin to apply a process of critical thought in judging if an hypothesis is meaningful and testable; list the qualities a scientific researcher should aspire to; define the term "clinical research"; describe some of the implications of involving human subjects in research.
Unit 2 - Information Gathering & Review (5 SM SCOTCAT Credit Points)
On completion of this unit the student should be able to: identify sources of information; know how to access these sources of information; employ strategies and techniques to efficiently search information sources; critically review the information gathered.
Unit 3 - Descriptive Statistics (10 SM SCOTCAT Credit Points)
Upon completion of this unit the student should be able to: be aware of how the field of statistics supports research; determine the type of a variable; understand the importance of examining data before beginning a formal analysis; organise data effectively and make simple observations about it; understand how populations are classified; be aware of the main issues to be considered in sampling from a population; be aware of the principal measure of centre and spread, and be able to select the most appropriate summary measures for a particular set of data; identify skewness and identify appropriate summary measures for skewed data; be aware of the characteristics of the Normal distribution; understand the importance of the Normal distribution in statistical inference; identify when data is Normally distributed; identify suitable transformations for data, that is not Normally distributed; be aware of the Binomial and Poisson distributions as models for the distribution of discrete data, and be able to determine when Normal approximations to them are appropriate.
Unit 4 - Statistical Inference (10 SM SCOTCAT Credit Points)
On completion of this unit the student should be able to: understand what is meant by the term inference; be aware of the two approaches to inference and understand the common theoretical principles that underpin them; be aware of the assumptions on which inference is based; select the correct distribution on which to base inference; understand the concepts of estimators, bias and confidence intervals; identify appropriate null and alternative hypotheses for a given research question; identify an appropriate test statistic and decision rule; carry out a hypothesis test; understand the concept and limitations of statistical significance; make judgements about statistical and clinical significance, and their relative importance; select the most appropriate study to answer a given research question; be aware of the issues involved in determining sample size.
Unit 5 - Non-parametric Statistical Inference (10 SM SCOTCAT Credit Points)
On completion of this unit the student should be able to: be familiar with a range of non-parametric methods; understand the strengths and limitations of non-parametric methods; be aware of the assumptions on which parametric and non-parametric methods are based and how to test them; determine when non-parametric techniques are appropriate; select suitable non-parametric tests, test statistics, decision rules, null and alternative hypotheses to answer a given research question; be aware of rank correlation coefficients; assess the significance of rank correlation coefficients; apply and interpret correlation correctly; understand the role of the x2 test in assessing the independence of factors.
Unit 6 - Reporting & Presentation (10 SM SCOTCAT Credit Points)
Upon completion of this unit the student should be able to: understand why dissemination of knowledge to the wider scientific community is important; be aware of the three main mechanisms for formal presentation of the findings of scientific investigations; be able to plan an oral presentation; understand the importance of visual aids during an oral presentation; choose appropriate means to display numerical information during an oral presentation; understand what makes an effective oral presentation; be able to plan, design, and produce a poster; understand what type of work is appropriate to be described in a scientific paper; describe the structure and purpose of a scientific paper; describe the function of each component part of a scientific paper; be aware of the process involved in publishing a scientific paper.
Unit 7 - Implementing Clinical Audit (10 SM SCOTCAT Credit Points)
On completion of this unit the student should be able to: understand the nature of audit and its application to the clinical environment; design a feasible and effective audit study; facilitate other clinicians to undertake an audit study; access published audit studies.
Unit 8 - Funding Issues (5 SM SCOTCAT Credit Points)
Upon completion of this unit the student should be able to: access information on projects currently funded which are related to your chosen research theme; assess the financial requirements of your research project for a grant application; access information on research funders using the Internet, CD-ROM and printed materials; access regular published material detailing current research funding opportunities; identify appropriate research funders for your project; obtain the required application form, details on how to complete the form and any information on any restrictions or application deadlines.
Unit 9 - Ethical Issues (5 SM SCOTCAT Credit Points)
On completion of this unit the student should be able to: be aware of ethical issues present in medical research; analyse critically motives for research; complete an application to an Ethics Research Committee; create an Information Sheet for potential participants in proposed research project; construct a Consent Form for research subjects, including controls; write a letter, which informs other health professionals of the research project, with particular reference to participating individuals for which they also care; ensure that regular review of the project will take place, so that if unanticipated adverse effects occur, these can be limited; put in place a method by which all publications in the same topic area as your research project are scanned, to check that allowing your project to continue running is morally right; conduct a piece of medical research which is ethically sound, in which the minimum harm has been done to participants, whose best interests have been the foremost consideration in running the project; have your research project considered for publication by reputable peer reviewing journals, with a high chance that it will be published, and thereby help others and enhance your own reputation.
This course is aimed at those who are already on an established career path and will improve opportunities for career progression and development.
Open to qualified health care professionals, holding a diploma or non-honours degree, and eligible for state registration with an appropriate body.
English Language Requirement
English Language Programmes
We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.
The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application.
|Fee status||Fees for students starting 2017-18|
|Scottish and EU students||£3,000 (PGCert)|
|Rest of UK students||£3,000 (PGCert)|
|Overseas students (non-EU)||£3,000 (PGCert)|
|Fee status||Fees for students starting 2018-19|
|Scottish and EU students|
|Rest of UK students|
|Overseas students (non-EU)|
Fill in our online enquiry form via the Distance Learning Section website
Dr Tim Drew
+44 (0)1382 383505