HAR6030: Introduction to Research Methods

The Introduction to Research Methods module is led by Inge Kersbergen. It runs in the Autumn semester and is worth 15 credits.


The Introduction to Research Methods module is led by Inge Kersbergen. It runs in the Autumn semester and is worth 15 credits.

It is one of the modules on:

  • European Masters Programme in Public Health (core)
  • Master of Public Health (Health Services Research) (core)
  • Master of Public Health (Management and Leadership) (core)
  • Master of Public Health (MPH) (core)
  • MSc Clinical Research (NIHR for Academic Clinical Fellows) (core)
  • MSc Clinical Research (standard route) (core)
  • MSc Human Nutrition (core)

This module is available as a CPD option

This module is available Faculty-wide in years 1 and 2 as a DDP module


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 Blackboard online resources including reading, audio/visual materials and self-assessment exercises.

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

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Information last updated:

A world-class university – a unique student experience

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.