Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Research Skills

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Faculty of Medicine and Surgery

DESCRIPTION This study-unit introduces medical students to aspects of research in medicine. It gives an overview of basic epidemiology principles. It also introduces the student to qualitative research and lays the ethical considerations for indirect research. Regulation and ethical permits for research studies including clinical trials as well as data protection principles are introduced to the student. Information technology in Health Care and the Principles and Practice of Health Information are introduced. Vital aspects of medical statistics are discussed to expose students to the methods used in scientific papers.

Study-unit Aims:

This study-unit provides an introduction to research methods relevant to medicine. It provides an introduction to various research designs including experimental and non-experimental, as well as quantitative and qualitative research methods including the guidelines and legal aspects regulating them. In addition, the study unit offers a practical understanding of several statistical tools used in medical and health research. The emphasis is on knowing when to use the various tests, what they measure, and how to interpret results.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. Discuss the basics of epidemiology principles;
2. Identify key characteristics of good research questions;
3. Explain the importance of conducting a review of the literature as part of the empirical process;
4. Demonstrate an understanding of the mechanisms of medical survey methodology;
5. Describe the characteristics of Health Informatics and Information Technology in Health Care;
6. Discuss the basics of medical statistics and how to apply the tools to medical data;
7. Identify research tools and search engines that support conducting a literature review;
8. Define descriptive and inferential statistics;
9. Identify relevant ethical issues that affect health care research;
10. Identify the characteristics of qualitative and quantitative research methods as applied to health;
11. Discuss and apply regulatory and legal aspects of conducting research in Malta;
12. Constructively criticize a published scientific article.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. Explain the benefits and limitations inherent in the use of qualitative and quantitative research designs;
2. Constructively criticize a research paper;
3. Demonstrate breadth of search capabilities when engaged in research activities;
4. Conduct basic medical statistical tests on data;
5. Demonstrate an understanding of the mechanisms of medical survey methodology;
6. Demonstrate an understanding of the mechanisms of health data storage and utilization;
7. Integrate research resources with the presentation of data and results gleaned from research.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Epidemiology in Medical Practice, 5e [Paperback]
D. J. P. Barker BSc MD PhD FRCP FRCOG FFPHM (Author), Cyrus Cooper MA DM FRCP FMedSci (Author), G. Rose MA DM DSc FRCP FRCGP (Author)

Paperback: 178 pages
Publisher: Churchill Livingstone; 5 edition (December 14, 1997)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 044305620X
ISBN-13: 978-0443056208

Lecture Notes: Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine [Paperback]
Richard D. T. Farmer (Author), Ross Lawrenson (Author)

Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 5 edition (November 22, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1405106743
ISBN-13: 978-1405106740

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study and Group Learning

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Multiple Choice Questions Examination (1 Hour) SEM1 Yes 100%


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The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.