HAR6030: Introduction to Research Methods


This module provides students with an introduction to quantitative and qualitative research methods and to the types of skills necessary for the planning, data gathering and dissemination stages of health-related research. Topics covered include: - Research Design; Methods of Data Collection; Approaches to Analysing Data and Writing a Research Proposal. The course provides a foundation for further learning in specific research methods. It is primarily designed for new students beginning Masters courses in the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) and there is an emphasis on research techniques used in public health and health services research (HSR).


  • To equip students with a basic understanding of the underlying principles of quantitative and qualitative research and the links between the two
  • To introduce students to the key data generation methods of current use in public health and health-related research
  • To enable students to chose the most appropriate research method to address a particular research question
  • To enable students to gain a basic overview of a range of quantitative and qualitative approaches to analysis
  • To provide students with the knowledge and skill to undertake the design of a public health-related research proposal.

Related modules

This module is complemented by HAR6035: Introduction to Statistics and Critical Appraisal, which deals specifically with quantitative data analysis and HAR6531: Qualitative Research Design and Analysis in Semester 2.

Learning outcomes

On satisfactory completion of the course, a student will be able to:

  • Describe a range of quantitative and qualitative research designs used in public health research and identify the advantages and disadvantages associated with these designs.
  • Design an appropriate research study to answer a particular question.
  • Choose appropriate quantitative or qualitative method to collect data.
  • Write a research proposal suitable for submission to a research funding body.

Teaching Methods

Teaching will be through 12 mandatory small group tutorials where the focus will be on discussion and group work. These will be supported by MOLE on-line resources including reading, audio/visual materials and self-assessment exercises.

As this is an introductory module, only limited prior knowledge will be assumed.


Component Weighting
Formative assessment 0%
Essay (2000 words) 100%

There are two parts to the assessment:

Formative assessment
Formative assessments give tutors an indication of student progress and indicate to students the standard of work expected. A formal mark is not recorded for formative assessments, but students will be given feedback on the quality of their work throughout the module.  The formative assessment for this module involves completing five on-line journal entries. These journal entries will enable students to think reflectively about the sections required for completion of the summative assessment below. The on-line journal entries are considered mandatory and are an essential requirement for passing the module.

Summative assessment
A 2,000 word written assignment in which students will be asked to develop a research proposal on a Public Health or Health-related topic.

The pass mark is 50%.