Research Methods in Human Communication A

Course code HCS6048
15 credits

This module will develop students' knowledge, understanding and skills of the range of research methodologies used in human communication sciences, education and health. The main aim of the module is to allow students to become competent consumers and producers of scientific evidence. Topics will include the qualitative and quantitative research cycle (e.g. study design, development of research questions), concepts of statistical analysis (e.g. descriptive statistics, presenting data, selected inferential statistics), qualitative research methods (e.g. interviews) and case study designs.

Suitable for

Speech and Language Therapists, teachers and other professionals working with people with speech, language, literacy and communication difficulties.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students are expected to be able to:

  • Demonstrate awareness of the range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies used in social sciences, health and education research.
  • Describe key concepts in descriptive and inferential statistics and apply them competently to describe and evaluate published studies. 
  • Describe and interpret different ways of tabular and graphic data display (descriptive tables, frequency tables, histograms, scatterplots, pie charts, etc.) and employ them appropriately.
  • Explain and interpret output from statistical data analysis (descriptive statistics, Null Hypothesis Significance Testing, significance levels, correlations, confidence Intervals).
  • Describe qualitative methodologies and approaches to analyse qualitative data
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of different research methodologies to critical reading of research papers

Teaching Methods

The module content is delivered online and includes guided independent study, using online reading material available from the University Library. Unit readings as well as PowerPoint presentations and lecture recordings covering the core contents of the module are available online and are released gradually throughout the module timetable.

The module is also accompanied by a series of practical online exercises, which allows students to investigate, apply and practise the aspects covered in the module. Students are supported by University tutors via online discussion boards and email. 

Online learning will be supplemented by an optional 2-day weekend study block in Sheffield.


The module starts at the end of September each year. The module runs over a period of 3 months, and this 15 credit module should take about 150 hours to complete (including preparation for the assignment). See timetable for the year.


A multiple choice questionnaire (equivalent to 500 words) and an assignment (equivalent to 2500 words).

Associated programmes

CORE Module on:

PGDip/MSc Language & Communication Impairment in Children

PGDip/MSc Speech Difficulties

PG Dip/MSc Acquired Communication Disorders

Fees and funding for the module

Fee information 

Fully funded places may be available for NHS employees in Yorkshire and Humber, and in East Midlands – please contact us for more information

How to apply for the module

Please visit our how to apply page.

For more information email