Module NHS-4250:
Research Methods

Module Facts

Run by School of Health Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Sion Williams

Overall aims and purpose

In this module, students will develop their knowledge and understanding of research in a dynamic and stimulating research environment which builds on our health research success, which is committed to sustaining and growing excellence in health and medical research The detailed module aims are to:

  • Provide students with an understanding of both quantitative and qualitative research, their approaches to scientific inquiry, their methodologies and related methods.
  • Focus on the application of quantitative and qualitative research methods within the health and social care setting, including data collection and analysis approaches/techniques.
  • Enable students to be ‘critical consumers’ of research, to have sufficient knowledge to contribute in a knowledgeable way to ongoing quantitative or qualitative research and to develop research questions and projects.
  • To help prepare students for the MSc dissertation module.

Course content

Topics may include:

  1. The scientific method (an overview of quantitative and qualitative approaches)
  2. Secondary data analysis techniques.
  3. Systematic review techniques
  4. Audit and evaluation techniques
  5. Models and strategies for knowledge transfer and utilisation
  6. Preparing for ethics and governance submission
  7. Writing research proposals
  8. Quantitative and qualitative research approaches and their methods.
  9. Applied data collection techniques; questionnaire design, interview and observation
  10. Design, pilot and analyse results from questionnaires, observations and interviews;
  11. Writing up quantitative and qualitative research
  12. Reflexivity and the role of the researcher in qualitative research
  13. Appropriately using a statistical package (SPSS) to assist with presentation and analysis of quantitative results;
  14. Appropriately applying a range of qualitative techniques/methods to assist with the analysis of qualitative results;

Assessment Criteria


The student has a good understanding of the major components of the research process and demonstrates their understanding by selecting a relevant research question with appropriate methods chosen for addressing the question. Writing is clear and informative.


The student understands the nature of the major components of the research process and demonstrates their understanding by selecting a relevant research question with generally appropriate methods chosen for addressing the question. Writing may lack clarity in places but on the whole is informative


The student has an excellent understanding of the major components of the research process and demonstrates their understanding by selecting a relevant research questions with optimal methods chosen for addressing the question. Writing is clear, logical and informative.

Learning outcomes

  1. Provide a rationale for choosing and utilising quantitative or qualitative research approaches to examine particular research questions;

  2. Formulate and operationalise quantitative or qualitative research questions appropriate to a health and social care environment;

  3. Develop an appropriate study design and methodology to examine research questions

  4. Develop a research proposal following a standard template.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY Research Proposal

A succinct but clear summary of the proposed research. It sets out the central issues or questions that intend to be addressed. The proposal outlines the general area of study in which the intended research falls, referring to the current state of knowledge and any recent debates on the topic. It also demonstrates the originality of the proposed research


Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study

Weekly Blogs - These will facilitate learning of concepts and methods. This will facilitate in developing a learning Community as part of an e-learning environment.


Lecture units - These will explain the theory and background to different components of the module and are presented by the module team with a range of expertise in particular research approaches and methods. These will be captured on Panopto and allows audio, video and powerpoint material to be accessed ‘on screen’ by students.

Private study

Directed and Self-Directed study with guidance provided regarding accessing e-resources that augment module lecture content. In particular the module will provide a structured approach to guiding students to read up on particular methods and to complete further reading.


This will include Laboratory practicals - Computer statistics and qualitative research practicals.


Tutorials/Group discussions:- these will be provide as requested/required to facilitate learning of concepts and methods


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting


Resource implications for students

1. Access to IT/Blackboard for discussion boards and module resources. 2. Access to on-line library catalogues

Reading list

Angus, L.E and McLeod, J. (2004) The handbook of narrative and psychotherapy; practice, theory and research. London: Sage Publications.

Bell, J. (2005). Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First-Time Researchers in Education, Health and Social Science, 4th Edition. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Bowling, A. (2009). Research Methods in Health. 3nd Edition. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Charmaz, K. (2000). Grounded Theory: Objectivist and Constructivist Methods. In: N.K.

Denzin and Y.S. Lincoln (Eds). Handbook of Qualitative Research, 2nd Edition.
Thousand Oaks: Sage. Pp. 509-535

Cole, A.L, and Knowles, J.G. (2001). Lives in context: the art of life history research. Oxford: AltiMira Press.

Denzin, N.K. and Lincoln, Y.S. (2004) Handbook of Qualitative Research. London: Sage. Field, A., (2009). Discovering Statistics Using SPSS, 3rd Edition. London, Sage.

Glaser, B.G. (1978). Theoretical sensitivity. Mill Valley, CA: Sociology Press

Glaser, B.G. and Strauss, A.L. (1967). The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research. Chicago: Aldine

May, T. (2001) Qualitative Research in Action. London: Sage Publications.

Pallant, J. (2010). SPSS Survival Manual: A Step by Step Guide to Data Analysis Using SPSS for Windows, 4th Edition. Buckingham, Open University Press.

Plummer, K. (2001) Documents of life 2: an invitation to a critical humanism. Sage: London.

Roberts, B. (2002). Biographical Research. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Pre-requisite of:

Co-requisite of: