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Unit information: Research Methods in 2021/22

Unit name Research Methods
Unit code PHEDM4011
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Charlie Foster
Open unit status Not open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This course introduces basic principles of research methods and various research designs. Essential scientific themes addressed include basic statistics, epidemiology research, quantitative research, qualitative research, concepts of validity, reliability, measurement and research ethics. Students are also guided on how to read and critique peer-reviewed published research articles. This course also introduces the student to research designs, evaluation and reporting of scientific research. Applications are presented to guide the student toward their own scientific investigation. Applications of appropriate statistical and qualitative analyses to various research designs are also explored. The content is directly relevant to a career in public health, health promotion, research and/or academia.


  • To introduce students to fundamental concepts in research design, data collection, analysis and reporting of results, from quantitative and qualitative research perspectives.
  • To develop students' study skills, including critical analysis, literature searching and referencing.

Intended Learning Outcomes

  1. Illustrate an understanding of basic statistical terms and concepts, and compare and contrast the research-related concepts and methods used in the fields of physical activity and nutrition.
  2. Distinguish features of epidemiology research, quantitative research, qualitative research, validity, and reliability.
  3. Evaluate the necessity of adhering to research ethics, and examine ethical considerations applicable to physical activity and nutrition research.
  4. Interpret and critically appraise quantitative and qualitative research papers identified from the physical activity and nutrition literature.

Teaching Information

Teaching will include synchronous lectures with breakout individual/small group work sessions as well as asynchronous narrated PowerPoint short lectures each weekm. It will also involve directed learning sessions through asynchronous activity either independent or in peer learning sets; academic readings and writing for research activity, as well as drop in or Q & A sessions.

Assessment Information

Assessment is through the completion of one written 4000 word assignment that comprises(a) One structured essays critically appraising two scientific papers covering qualitative, quantitative and epidemiological research designs and (b) provide alternative designs and methods to improve one study’s research” The assignment is directly related to the learning outcomes and students are required to show an in-depth understanding of the unit at a level consistent with a Master's degree.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PHEDM4011).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.