Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

POPLHLTH 202 - Research Methods in Health

15 Points

Semester 2



A review of the different ways of approaching, designing and undertaking social science research in the health field, covering research paradigms and methodologies, including both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Course Outline

This course provides an introduction to both qualitative and quantitative research methods in health. We will discuss the assumptions underlying different research methods, the basic tools for conducting research, how to measure health outcomes, qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis methods, and constructing and analysing questionnaires. The course will illustrate methods using examples across a range of areas in health. The course also covers the dissemination of research findings, evaluation of existing research and the translation of research to policy and practice.

Key Course Objectives

An understanding of research methods is fundamental to any career in health, and especially for those wishing to pursue higher degrees. This course will help you to develop and understanding of why and how we conduct research. More specifically, it will begin to teach you the following skills:

  • Designing robust and ethical research
  • Formulating testable research questions and hypotheses
  • Collecting valid and reliable data
  • Analysing data and testing hypotheses
  • Drawing conclusions and disseminating results
  • Summarising and evaluating existing research

Overall, there will be an emphasis on teaching you the process of conducting research.

Course Structure

Two one-hour lectures take place each week. One-hour tutorials take place in Weeks 2 - 12. You are expected to attend all lectures and one tutorial per week.

Course material is organised into four modules:



1.  Research Questions

Research, Research Questions and Paradigms Identifying Research Questions

Identifying Previous Research

2.  Quantitative Research

Quantitative Research Designs Questionnaires

Hypothesis Testing Regressions

Critiquing Quantitative Studies

3.  Qualitative Research

Qualitative Approaches to Research Interviews and Focus Groups Thematic Analysis

Rigour in Qualitative Research

4.  Research In Context

Research Ethics Research and Policy

Moving Beyond Academic Boundaries

Course assessment

There are five pieces of assessment in this course.

  • Literature Review (20%)
  • Critical Summary (10%)
  • Group Assignment (20%)
  • Class test (10%)
  • Final exam (40%)

Recommended readings/textbooks

This course does not have a prescribed textbook as there is no one book that covers the topics in this course at the appropriate level. The key resources for this course will all be distributed in class or on Canvas.

Course Director