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 30 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None.


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • The course provides an overview of common quantitative health service research designs with training in basic statistics and epidemiological reasoning. It will provide students with the ability to critically appraise published literature in quantitative health research and design quantitative research projects.


  • Origins of quantitative research methods
  • Basic data types, distributions and analyses
  • Common analyses: preparation, comparisons
  • Common analyses: correlation, statistical tests
  • Epidemiological methods and reasoning
  • Observational Studies
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Experimental studies
  • Systematic reviews

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of module students will have an understanding of:
  • The variety of quantitative research techniques commonly used in health-related research
  • Critical skills necessary to appraise the validity and usefulness of published research
  • Handling and basic statistical analysis of data applied to common health research analyses
  • Strengths and weaknesses of different designs, in terms of their vulnerability to forms of bias.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Use of SPSS to conduct basic statistical analysis
  • Critical appraisal skills
Key Skills:
  • Managing and manipulating data
  • Using statistical methods appropriately within research
  • 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
  • Enhanced ability to make effective use of Communication and Information Technology

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
Introduction to statistics - Integrated Lecture/ Seminar/Tutorial/Practical sessions 1 Once 1 day 7
Integrated sessions: Lecture/Seminar/Tutorial 10 Over 5 concentrated days 3 hours 30
Self-paced learning 10 Weekly 2 hours 20
Independent study Student determined Student determined 93
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Assessment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
assignment 3500 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Feedback on exercises provided in workbooks plus a 2500 paper on aspects of critically appraising research.

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