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Module details

HS900-7-AU: Research Design and Critical Appraisal

Year: 2015/16
Department: Health and Human Sciences
Essex credit: 15
ECTS credit: 7.5
Available to year(s) of study:
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: No
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No

Teaching Staff: Louise Marsland  
Contact details: Melanie Wiltshire, Graduate Administrator, Tel 01206 873375, e-mail mahass (Non essex users should add @essex.ac.uk to create the full email address) 

Module is taught during the following terms

Module Description

This module provides the student with an advanced understanding of the research study designs commonly used in health research. It combines a theoretical with a practical approach to enable students to search for, obtain, and understand the research literature and the critical skills to analyse and synthesis the material into a literature review. The module covers the following themes:

* Principles of research and research methods.

* Critical appraisal and reviewing research literature

* Credibility, responsibility and ethics

Module objectives:

By the end of the module, students should:

* Have an advanced understanding of the range of research methods that are in common use in their discipline.

* Be able to conduct and report a rigorous and advanced search for research literature.

* Critically appraise research papers and construct a literature review.

* Apply research findings, including literature reviews, within their working practice.

Learning and Teaching Methods

The module uses lectures and computer lab sessions supported by self-study formative tasks that develop the student's own literature review project. Group tutorial and supported study time runs after most lectures to facilitate the formative tasks. Further resources and guidance are available through Moodle.


100 per cent Coursework Mark

3,000 word literature review

Exam Duration and Period

Other information

Minimum enrolment

Please note that if insufficient numbers of students (i.e. <10) opt to take this module we may have to cancel it at short notice. If this is the case we will of course notify anyone who has applied to take this course in a particular term as soon as possible and offer an opportunity to discuss alternative options.


  • Recommended reading prior to starting the module:
  • Research methods in health
  • Fink, A. (2012) Evidence based public health practice. Sage.
  • Hek, Gill and Pam Moule (2006) Making Sense of Research, 3rd Edition. Sage OR Moule, Pam and Gill Hek, (2011) Making Sense of Research, 4th Edition. Sage.
  • Greenhalgh, T. (2001) How to read a paper (2nd edition). BMJ books.
  • Bryman, Alan (2004) Social Research Methods (2nd edition). Oxford University Press. Companion website at: http://www.oup.com/uk/orc/bin/9780199264469/
  • Bowling, Ann (2002) Research Methods in Health (2nd edition). Open University Press.
  • Saks, Mike and Allsop, Judith (2007) Researching Health: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods. Sage. Companion website at: www.sagepub.co.uk/saks_allsop
  • Moule, Pam and Margaret Goodman (2009) Nursing Research: An Introduction. Sage.
  • Literature reviews
  • A Booth, D Papioannou, A Sutton. (2012) Systematic approaches to a successful literature review. Sage.
  • Aveyard, Helen (2007) Doing a Literature Review in Health and Social Care. Open University Press.

Further information

External Examiner Information

  • Name: Prof Susan Mary Carr
  • Academic Role: Professor of Public Health Research

Should you have any queries about the Module Directory pages, please contact the Course Record Team, Systems Administration Office, Academic Section; email: crt (non Essex users should add @essex.ac.uk)