Skip to main content

Unit information: Study Design in 2021/22

Unit name Study Design
Unit code BRMSM0014
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Penny Whiting
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

The aims of this unit are to:

  • Give students an appreciation of the importance of good study design in epidemiology
  • Convey an understanding of best practice for a study protocol for an epidemiological study, to include data management and research ethics
  • Consolidate the learning from other units and apply that knowledge to designing an epidemiological study through writing a study protocol.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Formulate an appropriate research question for an epidemiological study
  2. Justify why this research question needs to be addressed in light of existing knowledge
  3. Select an appropriate epidemiological study design and analysis strategy to answer the research question
  4. Design an epidemiological study by writing a comprehensive study protocol

Teaching Information

Teaching will include learning activities set by the tutor including lectures (synchronous and asynchronous), small group work, discussions, individual tasks, and practical activities (face to face or online).

Directed and self-directed learning will include activities such as reading, accessing web-based supplementary materials, critical analysis and completion of assessments.

Assessment Information

Formative assessment: There will be opportunities in both group and individual settings to receive feedback on writing progress. Students will receive feedback for learning in the form of an oral poster presentation of their research project in a research colloquium with feedback from tutors and peers.

Summative assessment: The unit will be assessed using a single piece of coursework:

Students will be required to prepare a 5000-word appropriately referenced, structured study protocol for an epidemiological study addressing a research question of their choice (ILOs 1-4; 100% of total unit mark).


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. BRMSM0014).

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.