The University of Southampton

MEDI6049 Research Skills for Biomedical Science

Module Overview

This module will introduce you to key concepts underlying a broad range of biomedical research methodology. The module will focus on developing your understanding of core statistical methodology including data distribution, confidence intervals, significance testing, data manipulation, parametric and non-parametric tests, sample size and power calculations, correlation and regression, ANOVA and multiplicity. During the module you will also study methods of organising data sets and consider how to present data and statistical findings appropriately. The course is taught through a combination of lectures and interactive sessions using computer workstations. Practical examples of datasets derived from research groups within the Faculty will be used to provide context to the theoretical aspects of the course. You will be taught how to use both SPSS and Graphpad PRISM for both statistical analysis and presentation of data. At the end of this module, you should understand how to analyse a variety of types of data, and to be able to evaluate the analysis of data in published research.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• To provide the skills to understand how to apply research methods and statistics to evaluate the body of evidence in biomedicine • To develop the skills required to design, undertake, analyse and write up sound quantitative research in biomedicine

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Understand the value, nature, uses and limitations of a range of research methods
  • Identify and justify the value of different sources of data in drawing conclusions from published literature
  • Understand how to use a variety of statistical techniques
  • Understand the differences between various statistical techniques
  • Know how to use SPSS and GraphPad Prism software to manage, present and analyse data
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Use Information Technology to analyse and present research findings
  • Organise your own activities to achieve a desired outcome within a limited amount of time
  • Direct your own learning
  • Exercise initiative and personal responsibility
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify the appropriate use of quantitative methods
  • Differentiate the value of information from different types of study designs and different sources
  • Differentiate the value of information from different types of study design and different sources
  • Critically assess research carried out by others, evaluate its usefulness for your own practice
  • Distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate use of statistical techniques
  • Explain the value, nature, uses and limitations of a range of quantitative research methods
  • Differentiate between the different types of data
  • Identify and perform appropriate data presentation and summary
  • Undertake quality checking and data manipulation as necessary
  • Identify appropriate statistical techniques for data analysis
  • Identify the appropriate use of statistical methods


• Types of Research • Developing a Research Hypothesis and Proposal • Chance, Bias and Confounding • Accuracy, Reliability and Validity • Types of Data • Statistical Concepts and Techniques • Hypothesis Testing • Regression analysis • Sample size calculation • Data Manipulation • Use of SPSS and PRISM

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

A variety of methods will be used including lectures, active participatory methods, , e-learning/interactive tools for learning and self-assessment, computer demonstrations and practical exercises using computers, guided reading, group study and individual study

Independent Study165
Total study time200

Resources & Reading list

Kirkwood B.R. & Sterne J.A.C. (2003). Essential Medical Statistics. 

Statistics for the Terrified.

Faculty of Medicine web site.

Field A. (2009). Discovering Statistics Using SPSS for Windows.. 

Power and Sample Size Calculation.

UCLA Statistical Computing Resources.

Altman D.G., Machin D., Bryant T.N. & Gardner M.J (2000). Statistics with Confidence. 

Campbell M.J., Machin D. & Walters S.J. (2007). Medical Statistics: A Textbook for the Health Sciences. 

Altman D.G. (1991). Practical Statistics for Medical Research. 

Confidence Interval Analysis.

Electronic Statistics Textbook.

Bowling, A. (2001). Research Methods in Health: Investigating Health and Health Services. 

Bland M. (2000). An Introduction to Medical Statistics. 

SPSS downloaded.

Machin D. and Campbell M.J. (2005). The Design of Studies for Medical Research. 


Assessment Strategy

The assessment for the module provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes. There will be two assessments: - 1) a report of the analysis of a set of data appropriate to the student’s discipline - 2) The development and written presentation of a research proposal. For the MRes in Stem Cells, Development & Regenerative Medicine, Assessment 2 will relate to one of the two research projects. For the iPhD in Biomedical Sciences, Assessment 2 will relate to your PhD project. Assessment 1: Analysis of a set of data appropriate to the your discipline (50%) You will demonstrate that you can: • Analyse a set of data using SPSS and PRISM • Modify and Transform the data to create derived data • Summarise the data in tabular or graphical form to publication quality • Make comparison between groups using appropriate statistical techniques • Report analyses to publication standard Assessment 2: Develop a research proposal including a literature review and protocol design (2000 words) (50%) You will consider all aspects that contribute to a successful proposal for a research question related to your PhD project (iPhD programme) or research project (MRes programme). You will: • Identify an area of research interest. • Establish the context for the study and demonstrate a need for it. • Show how the proposed study will meet that need, using the methods proposed. • Give assurances that the study will be ethical. • Indicate how the information will collected and analysed. Assessment requirements You must pass the module overall at 50% or above. All elements must be passed, no compensation allowed. Candidates who fail the module at the first attempt will be permitted to re-sit specific elements as supplementary assessments as agreed by the module lead. Candidates who achieve at least 50% overall at the second attempt will be permitted to pass the module and the module mark will be capped at 50%. Method of repeat year: There is no opportunity to repeat the year for students enrolled on the iPhD programme. For students enrolled on the MRes in Stem Cells, Development & Regenerative Medicine it is only possible to repeat internally.


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment 50%
Assignment 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment 50%
Assignment 50%


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:

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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