Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

POPLHLTH 701 - Research Methods in Health

15 Points

Semester 1               Semester 2
Online                      Online
Tāmaki                     Tāmaki 


A comprehensive overview, in relation to health, of theoretical underpinnings of research; the asking of research questions; literature reviews; the design, implementation and appraisal of qualitative and quantitative research; and the writing up and dissemination of research.


There are no requisites for this course however if the following courses; CLINED 714, NURSING 768, POPLHLTH 202, have been completed then enrolment to this course may be restricted. Contact the Course Director.

Programme and course advice

This is a foundational research course, designed for postgraduate students who have not taken a research course towards an undergraduate degree recently.

Course aims

Content outline 

  • An overview of the course workbook, and an introduction to the e-learning management system, called Canvas, and e-learning community, called the POPLHLTH 701 Network.
  • Research frameworks, theory and ethics
  • Study questions
  • Literature reviews
  • Quantitative study designs, study measures, critical appraisal, and introductory statistics
  • Case studies of two quantitative designs: cross-sectional surveys and randomised controlled trials
  • Qualitative study designs, sampling, data gathering and data analysis
  • Diagnostic tests, dissemination and research proposals. 

Goals of the course 

The course aims to provide students with the basic knowledge and skills needed to critically review, use and conduct research in health. 

Learning outcomes

At the successful completion of this course, the students should be able to:

  • Understand basic elements of the language, philosophy and ethics of research;
  • Formulate an appropriate research question;
  • Further develop a justifiable research question through searching and reviewing literature;
  • Describe, apply and evaluate quantitative and qualitative study designs to address the research question; and
  • Develop a strategy to disseminate knowledge and understanding generated by the research.

Learning and teaching

Designed for students who have no previous or recent training in health research methods, the course provides a foundation to knowledge of these methods. It provides entry to other specialist research courses.

Lessons are taught as eight three-hour, audio recorded sessions, and two workshops (one on literature reviews and the other on statistics) at the Tāmaki Campus. All sessions require pre-reading required texts. Evening videoconferences are held to support students’ completion of assignments. A social networking platform, named the Discussions, is also run throughout the course to linking both streams to each other and the teaching staff.

Distance students who are new to study at the School of Population Health are encouraged to visit the following website to familiarise themselves with the technologies used as part of our flexible teaching: "E-Learning at the School of Population Health" 

Campus teaching dates

This is a semester-long 15 point Masters level course offered in both Semester 1 and Semester 2 in two streams: (1) face to face and (2) distance (within New Zealand). Students are asked to select one of these streams, either an online class or 8 three hour classes at the Tāmaki Campus.

Distance class students are welcome to attend any of these sessions if they wish – note that the first all-day session and the laboratory sessions are particularly beneficial.

Please see your timetable on SSO or Building 730 Reception noticeboard on the day for the room details.

Learning resources 

All the materials are available on the course webpage accessible through CANVAS as soon as the semester starts.


100% coursework:

  • Assessment 1 – Including your own world view (5 marks)
  • Assessment 2 – Review of literature (20 marks)
  • Assessment 3 – Quantitative methods (20 marks)
  • Assessment 4 – Qualitative methods: analysing focus group transcripts (20 marks)
  • Assessment 5 – Developing a research proposal (35 marks)

Course Director

Course Coordinator

Course Administrator