Research Methods MED5082

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Health and Wellbeing
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course introduces the key principles and practical skills pertinent to public health research. The course explores the research process from identifying a topic of interest, through study design and methodology selection including transparent practices, to writing up and disseminating results.


Weekly sessions comprised of lectures, small group work/seminars, and asynchronous material.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





Two assessments:


1. Literature review strategy [ILOs 1, 2, 3] - 1,250w, 40%

2. Research proposal [ILOs 1, 2, 4, 5, 6] - 2000w


Course Aims

The course aims to provide students with:

■ Generalized understanding of the values, methods and limitations of core epidemiological approaches (e.g. cross-sectional vs. longitudinal).

■ The ability to define a research question, identify an appropriate design, and report and disseminate findings appropriately.

■ A critical appreciation of the contexts in which public health research resides, historically and currently.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


1. Critically examine and evaluate the suitability of standard research methods and designs appropriate for research in population health across a range of economic settings (including low- and middle-income countries).

2. Develop research questions and justify suitable methodologies for the development of an empirical piece of primary or secondary research which adds to existing theoretical and/or empirical knowledge

3. Evaluate applicable literature review strategies to develop a search strategy, suitable for use within public health research.

4. Compare and contrast different analytical approaches used within public health research.

5. Critically appraise the concepts of ethics and research governance, and the practical implications of each in a range of economic settings (including low- and middle-income countries)

6. Design appropriate research dissemination strategies to effectively communicate research findings.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.