Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Basics in Research Methods

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Public Health

DESCRIPTION An introduction to Research Methods in the Health sphere with essentials of Health information, epidemiology, qualitative research methods and ethical concerns in research. This unit will introduce the student to basic knowledge on recruiting or collecting health information, processing it in a manner in which it is epidemiologically sound and using statistical tools to be able to interpret findings. This will also enable the student to understand details of the science in published papers.

Study-unit Aims:

This study-unit aims to:

1. train students in the collection and processing of meaningful data in Health systems;
2. give a grounding in Epidemiology;
3. teach students how to value epidemiological studies;
4. train students how to conduct epidemiological studies;
5. treat the ethical basis of medical research;
6. discuss qualitative and quantitative analysis of clinical studies and the techniques used in writing medical papers.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

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

• describe the discipline and principles guiding epidemiology;
• explain the routine sources of data commonly available;
• analyse the different types and uses of the different survey methods;
• describe the public health link with epidemiological evidence;
• analyse the development of research ethics and the guiding codes;
• explain the basic principles of research ethics including consent and respect for autonomy;
• describe the basics about institutional responsibility;
• describe the ethical concerns in recruitment and writing proposals;
• explain ethical issues regarding research on animals;
• analyse the essentials about professional responsibility and good clinical practices in research including EU guidelines;
• discuss the fundamental principles of qualitative research.

2. Skills:

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

• discuss the basic concepts of health informatics;
• explain the local set-up of a medical informatics system;
• describe the local health informatics infrastructure;
• set up a database;
• run a database;
• appraise the published research;
• research the literature;
• conduct a literature review;
• review the ethical considerations of published research;
• determine the ethical needs of conducting a research study;
• plan a survey;
• conduct a survey, be this qualitative as well as quantitative;
• determine whether fundamental epidemiological principles have been adhered to.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:


- Epidemiology in medical practice by Barker, Rose and Cooper. 5th edition or later. (Churchill Livingstone)
- A guide to Research Ethics; University of Minnesota, Centre For Bioethics, 2003.


- Epidemiology by Leon Gordis 4th Edition or later.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-requisite qualifications: Health Sciences related primary degree e.g. MD, B.Sc Nursing, etc.

Co-requisite Study-unit: PHL5504 (not applicable for MSc in Surgical Skills)

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study & Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) SEM1 Yes 100%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
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.