Module Details

HS947-7-AU-CO: Theory And Method In Health Research

Year: 2016/17
Department: Health and Human Sciences
Essex credit: 15
ECTS credit: 7.5
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: No
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: No

Supervisor: Jennie Todd
Teaching Staff: Jennie Todd
Contact details: Claire Wicks, Graduate Administrator, Tel 01206 873375, e-mail

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

This module examines major perspectives in social science disciplines as they are applied to health and clinical research. It is intended as a component of training for research in health studies. Research in health and health care needs to evaluate and account for scientific and social scientific knowledge produced by a wide range of methods.

In this module in depth understanding of research methodology is facilitated through studying the philosophical foundations of methods. Furthermore, an understanding of the links between theory and method, at different levels, is necessary for research at postgraduate level. This module therefore examines some of the philosophical foundations of health-related social research and (albeit to a lesser extent) places the origins and development of these philosophical foundations in their historical and socio-political contexts. A range of philosophical, theoretical and applied texts are examined during the course of the module.

Learning and Teaching Methods

Online resources, reading, discussion forums will be supplemented with face to face seminars including peer supervision. There will be time available for personal tutorial at the end of selected sessions. Module tutors can provide formative feedback on written drafts via email.


100 per cent Coursework Mark


  • Finlay, L. (2002) Negotiating the swamp: the opportunity and challenge of reflexivity in research practice. Qualitative Research; 2, 2: 209-230.
  • Sandelowski, M. (2006) 'Meta-jeopardy': The crisis of representation in qualitative meta-synthesis. Nursing Outlook; 54, 1: 10-16.
  • Spencer, L., Ritchie, J., Lewis, J. and Dillon, L. (2003) Quality in Qualitative Evaluation: A Framework for Assessing Research Evidence. London: Government Chief Social
  • Researcher's Office.
  • Tracy, S. (2010) Qualitative Quality: Eight Big Tent Criteria for Excellent Qualitative Research. Qualitative Inquiry, 16, 10: 837-851.
  • Fuller, S. (1993) Philosophy, Rhetoric and the End of Knowledge: The Coming of Science and Technology Studies. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.
  • Latour, B. (2004) The Politics of Nature. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Lynch, M. (2000) Against reflexivity as an academic virtue and source of privileged knowledge. Theory, Culture & Society; 17, 3: 26-54.
  • Pels, D. (2000) Reflexivity: one step up. Theory, Culture & Society; 17, 3: 1-25.
  • Lincoln, Y. (1995) Emerging criteria for quality in qualitative and interpretive research. Qualitative Inquiry; 1, 3: 279-289.
  • Thorne, S. (2001) The implications of disciplinary agenda on quality criteria for qualitative research. In: Morse, J., Swanson, J. and Kuzel, A. (eds.) The Nature of Qualitative Evidence (p.141-159). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Further information