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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Clinical Sciences : Internal Medicine

Postgraduate Course: Advanced Research Methods (IMED11019)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery of Clinical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course aims to develop a critical understanding of the theories and concepts of research methods and methodologies. By applying a range of techniques of enquiry epidemiological study designs will be investigated in great depth. Understanding of advanced critical appraisal and statistical analysis skills, at the forefront of research practice, will be demonstrated.
Course description This course has been designed to teach clinicians how to appraise and conduct academic research relevant to their clinical practice. It provides the relevant knowledge, skills and understanding to enable clinicians to demonstrate originality and creativity in the generation of new knowledge, and to make informed professional judgements when using the evidence-base to inform their clinical practice. The course covers epidemiological theory and practices, critical appraisal, clinical statistics, ethics and research governance.

The epidemiology overview will allow students to identify and conceptualise the principles of epidemiological study design and analysis, while quantifying disease in populations, including the calculation of disease frequencies. Critically evaluating varied clinical study designs will allow students to conceptualise an appropriate study design for a range of different research questions, while demonstrating detailed understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each study design, and when they should be used.

Advanced statistical analysis will focus on the different types of descriptive statistics, important statistical concepts such as normal distribution, sampling error, standard error, confidence intervals, and the use of significance tests, error, p-values, and 1- and 2-sided t-tests. The course will also focus on tests to compare means, transforming data, correlating data, running regressions, and interpreting survival data.

Finally, the importance of evidence-based research and clinical practice will be critically analysed. The students will demonstrate detailed understanding of varied research processes including undertaking a systematic literature search, formulating an explicit research question, choosing the correct study design, data collection and analysis techniques, and finally reporting and sharing findings. The course will demonstrate the practice of scholarly writing, and the understanding required to work with the uncertainties and complexities and ethical considerations inherent in the conduct of research with human subjects and/or tissue.

The course assessment will be a written research proposal for a Randomised Controlled Trial with specific consideration of ethical issues, choice of study design, sampling issues, power analysis, randomisation, blinding and statistical analysis, to prove that all essential aspects of advanced research methods have been adequately understood, demonstrated and applied.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Course Start Date
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 5, Online Activities 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 73 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework 100 %
The assessment is coursework: written assignment
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Conceptualise the variation in academic and clinical research designs, their strengths and limitations, and their appropriateness for different research questions
  2. Critically analyse a wide range of specialist epidemiological terms and evaluate important epidemiological measures and numerical data
  3. Demonstrate critical appraisal and interpretation of research-based evidence at an advanced level
  4. Demonstrate critical awareness of complex statistical tests and concepts
  5. Plan and execute an advanced research project autonomously synthesizing the various ethical, statistical, and reporting methods
Reading List
Key articles will be referred to at relevant points during the course.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Within the work to be undertaken this course will provide participants with the opportunity to develop or further develop key graduate attributes:
1. In-depth knowledge of specialist discipline
2. Develop new understanding by exercising critical judgement and challenging knowledge
3. Be a self-directed learner
4. Solve problems effectively taking ethical, professional and environmental issues into account
5. Use information responsibly in a range of contexts
6. Collaborate with others, capitalising on their different thinking, experience and skills
7. Communicate (oral, written, online) effectively, respectful of social and cultural diversity
8. Application of numeracy
9. Application of IT
KeywordsAdvanced Research Methods,Research Skills,Research Methods,Research Design,Internal Medicine
Course organiserDr Frances Parry
Tel: (0131 5)37 1822
Course secretaryMiss Shu Yang
Tel: 0131 537 2503
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