Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

HLTH8011 Designing, Implementing and Communicating Research

Module Overview

This module aims to provide a modern and high-level of intensive research and professional development training for all new doctoral students in health sciences. The module is designed to enable you to develop the knowledge, practical skills, and confidence required to take a research project through all its stages, from developing the original idea, gathering data to communicating the results. You will be expected to analyse and understand the workings of a health care research environment, as appropriate to your professional and cultural context, and develop an individual training plan in line with your career ambitions.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

See Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Critically appraise and integrate a wide range of literature related to your area of research, both from a scientific and a pragmatic perspective, and in the context of a health care environment.
  • Identify issues and translate them into questions amendable to scholarly enquiry
  • Select, critically appraise and justify research methodologies relevant to your thesis
  • Select, critically appraise and justify research methods relevant to your thesis
  • Select, critically evaluate and justify appropriate data analysis techniques for your proposed thesis.
  • Exercise appropriate ethical awareness in the planning and execution of your research
  • Develop a robust research proposal to meet the criteria for peer review and prepare for ethical approval.
  • Communicate complex concepts in writing and orally


Underpinning the syllabus is research conducted by Faculty staff, all of whom are leaders in their respective fields of research and experienced educators of adult learners. The module covers: 1. The process of developing as a researcher, including managing role transitions, identifying new networks, and using the Vitae Researcher Development Framework 2. The value and meaning of scientific research in the context of health care services and systems 3. The practicalities of doing research, such as project and time management, managing references, presentational skills, preparing for your viva, organising and participating in conferences, and data management and archiving 4. An introduction to the socio-economic and political aspects of health-related research, including funding priorities and finding research funding 5. The characteristics of a positive research culture 6. Information and data management skills, using effective search strategies 7. Critically appraising research material using appropriate tools 8. Designing addressable research questions, aims and objectives 9. Identifying research users and involving users in the research process, including individuals and families living with disabilities and ill-health 10. Research paradigms, philosophies and methodologies 11. A wide range of research designs, including randomised controlled trials, surveys, phenomenology, case study and action research 12. Basic introduction to data collection methods used in quantitative and qualitative traditions; including for example, surveys, and interviews, diary-method 13. Construction of data collection tools used in research 14. A wide range of ethical issues, including seeking formal ethical approval, contextual ethics in the field, and publication ethics 15. Introduction to the issues of reliability and validity and the naturalistic equivalent of credibility 16. The use of SPSS for Windows to summarise data and perform statistical analysis 17. Statistics: e.g. the use of quantitative data in epidemiology and population demographics, describing and summarizing data, estimation and confidence intervals, hypotheses and significance testing, determining sample sizes 18. Qualitative data analysis techniques 19. UK legislation and institutional policy related to data management and data archiving 20. Ethical issues relating to the conduct of research and research in clinical practice, including for example access considerations, data utilisation, risk assessments and Research Governance 21. Models of knowledge transfer and research utilisation, including art-based methods and use of social medial and digital platforms

Special Features

To ensure there is parity across doctoral programme with the Faculty, the structure and assessments of this module for the Doctorate in Clinical Practice students and the Research Education programme for MPhil/PhD students have been aligned. Student support The following forms of support will be available to students within the Faculty: • Research supervisors (and the research groups in which they are based); • Programme Lead; • Module leaders and lecturers; • Action Learning Groups; • Post-graduate Research Forum; • On-line resources located on the Blackboard learning site. In addition, you will have access to all the resources and services provided by the University including library research support, IT support from iSolutions, iSurvey, Researcher Development and Graduate Centre, Career Management support, International Student Support, Disability and Dyslexia Support, Students Services, and the Sports Centre.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching sessions are designed and facilitated by research active staff from across the Faculty. You will learn collaboratively and inter-professionally throughout the module. The taught sessions are shared with the Faculty of Health Sciences Research Training Programme for the MPhil/PhD programme. Active student participation in all learning activities of the module will be promoted so that you will assume responsibility for your own learning. A range of student-centred learning and teaching strategies will be employed that will include the use of workshops, interactive lectures by key experts in their field, tutor- and student-led seminars, group work, peer review, case study analysis, independent supported learning and individual supervision. Reflective journals, research log books and/or personal learning logs will be used to promote students’ reflections and personal development planning and provide a record of material that may contribute to seminars, case study analysis and the research project. To support your learning throughout the module, material and resources and course documentation and further reading suggestions will be available via Blackboard - the University’s web-based managed learning environment.

Independent Study300
Total study time400

Resources & Reading list

Aveyard, H (2010). Doing a literature review in health and social care: a practical guide. 

Punch, K (2006). Developing effective research proposals. 

Morgan, G.A., Leeach, N.L., Gloeckner, G.W. & Barrett, K.C. (2012). IBM for SPSS Introductory Statistics: Use and Interpretation. 

Phillips EM, Pugh DS (2010). How to get a PhD. A handbook for students and their supervisors. 

Polit DF, Beck CT (2010). Essentials of Nursing Research: Appraising Evidence for Nursing Practice. 

Somekh, B (2006). Action Research: A methodology for change and development. 

Gabbay J, le May A (2010). Practice-based Evidence for Healthcare: Clinical Mindlines. 

Vitae – Realising the potential of researchers.

Craig JV, Smyth RL (2011). The Evidence-Based Practice Manual for Nurses. 

Leech, N.L., Barrett, K.C. & Morgan, G.A. (2014). IBM SPSS for Intermediate Statistics: Use and Interpretation. 

Oppenheim AN (2000). Questionnaire design, interviewing and attitude measurement. 

Clearly, L (2013). Doing cross-cultural research with integrity: Collected wisdom from researchers in social settings. 

Drake, P and Heath, P (2011). Practitioner research at doctoral level: developing coherent research methodologies. 

Robson C (2011). Real World Research. 

Scott, I. and Mazhindu, D. (2014). Statistics for Healthcare Professions: An Introduction. 

Pallant, J. (2013). The SPSS Survival Guide. 

Field, A. (2013). Discovering Statistics Using IBM SPSS Statistics. 

National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM).

Denzin NK, Lincoln, YS (Eds) (2005). The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research. 

McGill I & Brockbank A (2004). The Action Learning Handbook. 

Lee, N (2009). Achieving your professional doctorate. 

Brett Davies M (2007). Doing a Successful Research Project: Using Qualitative or Quantitative Methods. 

Greenhalgh T (2010). How to Read a Paper: The Basics of Evidence-based Medicine. 

Law M (2008). Evidence-Based Rehabilitation: A Guide to Practice. 

Muir Gray JA (2009). Evidence-based Healthcare. 

Holloway I, Wheeler, S (2010). Qualitative Research in Nursing and Healthcare. 

Streiner DL, Norman GR (2008). Health Measurement Scales. 

Costley, C (2010). Doing Work-Based Research: approaches to enquiry for insider-researcher. 

Field, A. & Hole, G.J. (2003). How to Design and Report Experiments. 

The Field (2013) text has a companion website.

Cluett ER, Bluff R (2006). Principles and Practice of Research in Midwifery. 


Assessment Strategy

Completion of the first progression review will form the course requirements and summative assessment for this module (see below). These exactly match the research progression requirements for students on the PhD programme as the nature of the learning is common to both groups. Students studying for the Doctorate in Clinical Practice programme must develop a project that is appropriate to their professional expertise and health care context. The size of the project developed within the following assessment must be commensurate with a final thesis of 45,000 words. N.b. For students registered in the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (Faculty of Engineering and the Environment), assessment of this module will follow the processes specified in the one month plan & training needs analysis, and first review progress report (9-month milestone). Student progress, development and understanding will be supported within the supervisory processes. During the process of supervision and in the lead up to your first progression review, you will demonstrate your ability to focus on your study and articulate your ideas in writing at an early stage. This work will form the basis of developing work towards your first progression review (and therefore assessment) and will help the supervisory and programme teams gauge that satisfactory progress is being made with your research. As part of the work needed to complete the assessment for this module, you will need to include development of your research question or questions or hypothesis. This will need to be clearly articulated and considered in the context of your study. As you develop your thinking and prepare for this first progression review, it is recognised that these may be initial working questions and hypotheses that you anticipate your research will address. You will also need to give consideration to identifying, interpreting and synthesising relevant literature within your field of research. At this stage of your research journey you will also need to have considered the methods you will use including ethical considerations. Summative assessment You will be required to undertake your first formal progression review by the end of month 10 (full-time) or month 21 (part-time).This first progression review forms the summative assessment for this module. The work must give due regard to your professional and cultural context. You will submit a written report of approximately 5000 words representing a substantial contribution towards a research protocol in preparation for peer review. This should contain, as a minimum, a concise literature review and justification of the proposed research, the research question and/or aims and objectives and an outline of methods, including ethical considerations. Completing this first progression review will enable you to demonstrate your knowledge base and skills of analysis and synthesis related to your topic and the relevant research processes. All students will be provided with guidelines and criteria to facilitate the completion of this first progression review. You will have the support of the taught research component, your research supervisors, and Blackboard – a managed learning environment. Your supervisors will be aware of the details and criteria for this assessment. Assessment process Your report will be submitted for review to the assessment panel consisting of one of your supervisors and one independent assessor. A progression review meeting (viva voce) will be held with you and both members of the assessment panel to assess your knowledge and understanding of your project, your understanding of the wider context of the work, your progress to date and your plans to develop the project. The panel may recommend that you progress to the next stage of your project or may require re-examination. If re-examination is required, the format of the examination will remain the same (both written and oral examination), and must be completed by the end of the 12th month (full-time) or 24th month (part-time) of your candidature. The panel of the second examination may recommend either that you progress to the next stage or that your candidature is terminated. The assessment panel’s feedback will help you to develop the report into a protocol for a separate peer review and research ethics/governance approvals. If you are planning to collect data in a foreign country you will still need to meet our requirement and any additional ethical approvals systems of that country. Students who fail a module at the second (exceptionally third) attempt (i.e. do not submit the course requirements or meet the criteria for the summative assessment) will be deemed to have failed the programme and will have their registration terminated. For further details, see Students may appeal against decisions by relevant bodies (i.e. Academic Integrity Panel, Board of Examiners, Fitness to Practise Panel, Faculty Programme Committee, Senate, Upgrade Panel or Committee) by following the procedures set out in the Regulations Governing Academic Appeals by Students (see N.b. Students making an appeal must do so within 20 working days of notification of the decision giving rise to the appeal.


MethodPercentage contribution
Progression Review  (45000 words) 100%
Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.