Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Health [Queen's Campus, Stockton]


Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None.


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide training and skills for important quantitative research techniques and statistical techniques commonly used in healthcare related research. A series of common research questions are addressed as design, conduct, analysis and interpretation problems within lectures and self-paced workbooks. The course begins with a primer in the philosophy of science and concludes with guidance for planning new quantitative research.


  • Philosophy of science principles and health services research
  • Experimental design: unit of analysis
  • Developing measures and tools: principal component analysis, validity measures
  • Analysis of choices: conjoint analysis, attributes and levels
  • Cohort studies: regression modelling (linear, binary and Cox)
  • Diagnostic tests: development phases and analytic approaches
  • Quasi-experimental designs: interrupted time series
  • Systematic reviews: heterogeneity, meta-analysis, meta regression
  • Research design: implications of non-equivalent groups, signal-noise enhancements, funding

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Important quantitative research techniques commonly used in health-related research
  • Statistical software used to analyse these techniques
  • Design and interpretation issues, vulnerability to forms of bias.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Designing quantitative research in health related fields
  • Common analysis techniques in important health research designs
Key Skills:
  • The ability to think independently, including problem-solving ability and the ability to discriminate and use judgement
  • The ability to organise data, abstract meaning from information and share knowledge at an advanced level
  • The ability to select and use appropriate advanced numerical techniques Planning and conducting research, both independently and within a team

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lecturing - Outlines key quantitative research methods, their strengths and weaknesses - Explains the basic components of each technique
  • Tutorials conducted as Self-Paced Learning - Workbooks, including reading and practical exercises will help students to work through concepts in more detail, encouraging group working, peer support and developing inter-professional working skills. Support will be available and provided throughout tutorials as required.
  • Computer/practical classes - allow students to develop skills using common statistical packages for quantitative analysis
  • Independent study, research and analysis - Focuses student knowledge more deeply by pursuing aspects of the module that are of special interest to themselves and exploring specific applications in their field of study.
  • Essay assessment will test students' critical knowledge and understanding of key concepts, their ability to argue coherently and communicate effectively in writing, and to reflectively assess their proficiency in thinking through how the various quantitative research methods can be best utilised in understanding research questions in health.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lecture 10 weekly 3 hr 30
Self-paced learning 10 weekly 2hr 20
Independent study Student determined Student determined 100
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: assessment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
assignment 1500 words 50%
assignment 1500 words 50%

Formative Assessment:

Feedback on practical exercises provided in workbooks

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University