Research Methods in Human Communication B

Course code HCS6049
15 credits

This module will expand student’s knowledge, understanding and skills of the range of research methodologies used in human communication sciences, education and health. It will further develop their competencies in interpreting and producing scientific evidence. The main aim of the module is to allow students to design and conduct a methodologically and statistically sound research project. Topics will include inferential statistics (parametric and non-parametric statistical tests, effect sizes and strength of relationships, regression), psychometrics (concepts, derived scores and confidence intervals), and qualitative research methods (e.g. mixed methods) and qualitative data analysis.

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:

  • Differentiate the range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies (quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods) used in social sciences, health and education research.
  • Explain concepts in inferential statistics and apply them competently to describe and evaluate published studies.
  • Explain and interpret output from statistical data analysis (descriptive statistics, Null Hypothesis Significance Testing, correlations, parametric and nonparametric tests, effect sizes and strength of relationships).
  • Choose the appropriate statistical test for a given dataset
  • Carry out a range of statistical analyses using the SPSS software 
  • Explain the concepts of psychometrics and interpret data from psychometric testing
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of different research methodologies to design a methodologically sound qualitative or quantitative research project or proposal

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 in January of 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.


An assignment (equivalent to 3000 words).

Associated programmes

CORE Module on:

MSc Language & Communication Impairment in Children

MSc Speech Difficulties

MSc Acquired Communication Disorders

Fees and funding for the module

Fee information

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

How to apply for the module

Please visit our how to apply page.

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