AC0778 - Research: Approaches, Methods and skills

What will I learn on this module?

On this module you will appreciate the knowledge and skills needed to undertake research. You will learn about research philosophy, methodology and the different methods associated with a range of research traditions. You will explore the value of research evidence in informing public health and healthcare management practices and be able to apply the principles of research to critically appraise research quality. Specifically on this module you will learn about:
• Locating and organising literature
• Philosophical assumptions and foundations of enquiry
• Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methodological approaches
• Data collection, data analysis and interpretation
• Research governance and ethical issues
• Analysis and interpretation
By the end of the module you will be able to prepare a research proposal on a topic of interest to yourself and of value to public health / healthcare management.

How will I learn on this module?

A number of different strategies are used within this module to assist your learning around research within the public health and healthcare management setting. More formal learning will take place within lectures where you will be presented with theoretical background knowledge upon which to build your understanding. This module embraces an interactive approach to learning, so in seminar sessions you will be able to further develop your appreciation of research principles through discussion and peer learning. You will use a range of desktop research exercises to experience the stages of the research process. You will have the opportunity to experience data collection and data analysis through the use of anonymised public available data during research workshops. You will also be involved in discussing research methodology and findings with your peers during collegiate seminar sessions. You will be taught by lecturers with current research experience and who have expertise in particular methodological approaches. Your lectures will be recorded and stored within the e-learning portal for you to visit again if you wish.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module tutors are available to support you with your learning during the module and will have assignment tutorial support leading up to the submission of your research proposal. Your peers on the programme will also be able to provide you with support. Many of the activities undertaken within seminar sessions are aimed at enabling fellow students to talk and learn with, and from one another. The library also offer study skills support in the form of helpful work sheets.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

Please list below essential key text underpinning the module content and ultimately the learning outcomes:
Creswell, J. (2013) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. [International Student Edition]. London: Sage. Cunningham, C.J.L., Weathington, B.L. and Pittenger, D.J. (2013) Understanding and Conducting Research in the Health Sciences. New Jersey:John Wiley and
Creswell, J. (2013) Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches [3rd Edition]. London: Sage.
Silverman, D. (2013) Doing Qualitative Research: A Practical Handbook [4th Edition]. London: Sage.
O'Dwyer, L.M. and Bernauer, J.A. (2013) Quantitative Research for the Qualitative Researcher. London: Sage.
Morgan, D.L. (2013) Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Methods: A Pragmatic Approach. London: Sage
Dancey, D., Reidy, J. and Rowe, R (2012) Statistics for the Health Sciences: A Non-Mathematical Introduction. Harlow: PEARSON Prentice Hall.
Hammersley, M & Atkinson, P (2007) Ethnography: Principles in Practice. [3rd Edition].Oxon: Routledge?Skeggs, B. (1999) Seeing Differently: Ethnography and Explanatory Power. Australian Educational Researcher. Volume 26, 1, pp33 – 53 Skeggs, B. (2004) Class, self, culture (Transformations: Thinking Through Feminism). London: Routledge
Case Study
Yin R.K. (2011) Application of case study research. [3rd Edition]. London: Sage.
Etherington, K. (2004) Becoming a Reflexive Researcher: Using Our Selves in Research. London: Jessica Kingsley Moustakas, C. (1994) Phenomenological Research Methods. London: Sage.
Grounded Theory
Birks, M. & Mills, J. (2011) Grounded Theory. A Practical Guide. London: Sage.?Charmaz K.C. (2006) Constructing Grounded Theory: A Practical Guide through Qualitative Analysis. London, Sage
Narrative Research/Discourse Analysis/Visual Research
Baker, P. & Ellece, S. (2011) Key Terms in Discourse Analysis. London: Continuum?Mitchell, C. (2011) Doing Visual Research. London: Sage.?Wetherell, M.; Taylor, S. & Yates, S.J. (2003) Discourse as Data: A Guide for Analysis. London: Sage/OU
Action Research
Herr, K. & Anderson, G.L. (2005) The Action Research Dissertation: A Guide for Students and Faculty. Thousand Oaks: Sage McIntyre A. (2008) Participatory Action Research. California: Sage
Systematic Reviews in the Social Sciences
Pettigrew, M. & Roberts, H. (2006) Systematic Reviews in the Social Sciences: A Practical Guide. Blackwell: Oxford Little, J.H.; Corcoran, J. & Pillai, V. (2008) Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis. Oxford: OUP
The Centre for Reviews and Dissemination. The Centre for Reviews and Dissemination is a department of the University of York and is part of the National Institute for Health Research. CRD undertakes high quality systematic reviews that evaluate the effects of health and social care interventions and the delivery and organisation of health care. Brilliant resources for all social researchers.
Ethical Research Practice
Ransome, P. (2013) Ethics and Values in Social Research. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Quantitative Methods
Dancey, C., Reidy, J. and Rowe, R. (2012) Statistics for the Health Sciences: A Non-Mathematical Introduction, London: SAGE.

Osborne, J. (2008) Best practices in quantitative methods, Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Survey Research
Biemer, P. and Lyberg, L. (2003) Introduction to Survey Quality, New York: Wiley.

Blair, J., Czaja, R. and Blair, E. (2014) Designing surveys: A guide to decisions and procedures (3rd edn.), London: Sage.
DeVaus, D. (2002) Surveys in Social Research (5th edn.), London: Routledge.

Fowler, F. (2008) Survey Research Methods (4th edn.), Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Groves, R., Fowler, F., Couper, M., Lepkowski, J., Singer, E. and Tourangeau, R. (2004) Survey Methodology, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the module you will have:

1. Demonstrated a critical awareness and evaluation of a range of philosophical research approaches to enquiry.

2. Critically appraised the research literature in a specific area of public health / healthcare management.

3. Demonstrated a systematic understanding of evidence based knowledge to critically justify the choice of a research methodology to apply to a specific public health / healthcare management issue.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
By the end of the module you will have:

4. Demonstrated advanced competence in the location, retrieval and management of literature from a variety of sources.
5. Identified ethical issues arising within public health or healthcare management and strategies for their management.
6. Critically evaluated appropriate methods of data collection and data analysis for research within public health / healthcare management.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
By the end of the module you will have:

7. Critically reflected on your role within the research process of global and multi-cultural public health / healthcare management issues and contexts.

How will I be assessed?

Summative Assessment:

4,000 word research proposal. The proposal should include as a minimum: Background, literature review/rationale, aims and objectives, research question or hypothesis, research approach, review search strategy or project outline, consideration of ethics, governance issues, validity / reliability / trustworthiness and reflection on your role in the process.
(Module Learning Outcomes 1-7)

Formative assessment:

The formative assessment will be broken down in two parts, on which you will get individual written feedback in a way that best informs the development of your research proposal. Formative assessment parts will follow the structure of the module. You will be asked to produce 500 words (no more) to apply the learning in class to your proposed dissertation topic. You will be given written feedback, which you will be able to follow on in tutorials at the end of the module if needed.
The formative tasks will be as follow:
Part 1: formulate a research question linked to your area of interest and explain which data collection methods you will use to answer it.
Part 2: detail the broader research design (including methodology and data analysis) best apt at answering your research question. (Module Learning Outcomes 1-7)





Module abstract

On this module you will appreciate the knowledge and skills needed to undertake research. You will learn about research philosophy, methodology and the different methods associated with a range of research traditions. You will explore the value of research evidence in informing public health and healthcare management practices and be able to apply the principles of research to critically appraise research quality. You will be able to develop a research proposal which demonstrates your understanding and critical appraisal of how to plan and undertake a research project. You will develop a range of skills so that you can use and apply appropriate research to build robust understanding, knowledge and insights on the issues that concern you. These are all key skills that are identified as important by employers.

Course info

Credits 30

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 18 months Part Time

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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