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The University of Southampton

HMPR1001 Doing Research in Healthcare 1: Literature Review

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

During this module you will: 1. Identify and describe the literature relevant to a research question in a specific field of healthcare set by your research mentor 2. Critically appraise that research in a systematic manner 3. Draw the findings from research together to address the research question 4. Present your review in accordance with the prescribed format.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • In-depth knowledge of a specific area of health services research.
  • The skills needed to locate, manage and reference relevant resources for the purposes of review.
  • Understanding of the different types of evidence and an appreciation of their reliability and validity.
  • Understanding of how to read a piece of academic research and an ability to evaluate each component of that research to include literature review, theoretical framework, methodology, ethical considerations, analysis and conclusions.
  • The ability to interpret findings from the range of research selected for inclusion in your review.
  • How future research can develop to address key issues in the area.
  • The ability to present the review accurately, and with structured and coherent arguments in accordance with basic theories and methodologies relating to the area of research.
  • An ability to communicate your findings effectively to both academic and lay audiences
  • An understanding of academic integrity


Part 1 of the module will focus on undertaking literature searches and the storage and referencing of research retrieved. Specifically, you will be introduced to the range of library resources and electronic databases and learn about the different types of research evidence available to researchers. You will learn how to develop and deploy a search strategy and how to present your methodology in your academic writing. In addition you will learn how to use software (EndNote) to enable you to store retrieved literature and reference it appropriately so as to observe University regulations about academic integrity. Part 2 of the module will focus on how to review a piece of academic research. You will learn how to critically assess research studies, drawing on the merits and disadvantages of different research designs and theoretical frameworks as well as the ethical considerations inherent to research design. You will become familiar with and use critical appraisal tools to produce an in-depth critical appraisal of one study. Part 3 of the module will focus on producing a synthesis of findings and writing up your review for scientific and lay audiences. Specifically, you will learn how to present and summarise research findings from multiple research studies in written and tabular format, highlight methodological strengths and weaknesses and synthesise findings to make rational and evidence-based conclusions. You will use these skills to produce a scientific report and lay summary of your project.

Special Features

Students taking the BSc Healthcare: Management, Policy and Research will be supported whilst undertaking this module by a research mentor. This research mentor will hold a senior position within the Faculty of Health Sciences and will offer support and advice as you progress through the module. This relationship will stimulate debate and critical thinking as well as expose you to real life research questions and issues. The taught programme of this module will interface closely with the semester 1 modules “Evidence for Answers” and “Social Science and Health”. Practical workshops and interactive seminars will support you and provide the forum to share ideas and troubleshoot problems.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

In this module you will be assigned a Research Mentor – a senior researcher or professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences - who will provide you with a research question and focus for your review as well as guide you through this module. The research focus will relate to your mentors specific expertise and consider a current issue in healthcare system design and delivery. You will have fortnightly meetings with your Mentor to expose you to research practice through discussion. Your mentor will support the identification of appropriate literature, develop your ability to discuss this literature in a critical manner, and help you to prepare your written assignment. Mentor meetings will interface with Semester 1 modules “Evidence for Answers” and “On the Social Science of Healthcare” to help you to learn how theoretical frameworks inform research and also to ensure you know how to read, interpret and critique quantitative analysis sections effectively. Although you will be working independently with your Mentor throughout the module, you will take part in a series of workshops and seminars that will teach you the skills you will need to conduct your review; give you the opportunity to learn from fellow students undertaking their own reviews; and provide you a forum to identify and solve issues as they arise. The following workshops and seminars are scheduled: - Library workshop: database searching, search limits, managing references. - Database workshop: practising skills from library workshop - Search strategy workshop: developing search terms, designing search strategies to answer research questions. - Academic integrity seminar: referencing standards, intellectual property - Methods and designs seminar: overview of research designs - Research ethics in healthcare - Methods and designs workshop: designing methods to answer questions - Critical appraisal workshop: critiquing qualitative and quantitative studies - Structuring a literature review seminar: types of reviews, writing up review methods, presenting findings in tabular format. - Data synthesis workshop: summarising findings from multiple studies and developing coherent conclusions. - Writing for different audiences: scientific report writing and translating for lay audiences.

Practical classes and workshops30
Wider reading or practice135
Completion of assessment task160
Preparation for scheduled sessions40
Project supervision10
Total study time375

Resources & Reading list

NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination University of York.

Robinson-Stats,C., (2003). Real World Research. A Resource for Social Scientist, Practitioner and Researcher. 

Bryman,A., (2004). Social Research Methods. 

Cochrane Centre.

Muir Gray,J., (1998). Evidence-Based Healthcare. How to Make Health Policy and Management Decisions. 

Efficient literature searching: a core skill for the practice of evidence-based medicine.. ,29 , pp. 2119-2127.

Brown,B., Crawford,P., & Hicks,C., (2003). Evidence Based Research: Dilemmas and Debates in Health Care Enquiry. 

Greenhalgh T (2010). How to read a paper: The basics of evidence based medicine. 

Utilization of the PICO framework to improve searching PubMed for clinical questions. ,7 , pp. 16.

NHS Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP).

Bowling,A., (2009). Research Methods in Health: investigating health and health services. 

Hart,C., (2001). Doing a Literature Search: a Comprehensive Guide for the Social Sciences. 

A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies.. ,26 , pp. 91-108.

Enabling the implementation of evidence-based practice: a conceptual framework.. ,7 , pp. 149-158.

National Library for Health.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence Research Findings Electronic Register Both can be accessed via DOH website:.

Golafshani, N. (2003). Understanding reliability and validity in qualitative research, page 597-607. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  (1000 words) 30%
Assignment  (500 words) 10%
Assignment  (3000 words) 50%
Assignment  (500 words) 10%


MethodPercentage contribution

Repeat Information

Repeat type: External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Students may wish to purchase texts to support their learning, however, the library is well stocked with suitable texts.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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