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The University of Southampton

NPMS6014 Critical Inquiry for Midwifery Practice

Module Overview

This module enables your continued development of the research knowledge base and analysis skills from previous study, and years one and two. It facilitates reflection on practice to further appreciate the importance of evidence based midwifery practice. The key component is the development and undertaking of a small research project based on research processes and principles to address a research question agreed with your academic tutor. The module requires the critical analysis of evidence related to the research topic from a wide variety of sources, as well as critical evaluation of research theory and processes. This substantial project will enable you to further develop your abilities as a lifelong learner and midwife.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To enable you to undertake substantial academic activity, in the form of a small project using research process and principles in an area of midwifery practice of particular interest to you. In doing this project you will enhance your independent learning skills, your critical reflection on practice, critical appraisal of literature, as well as the ability to synthesise from a variety of sources to develop and implement a project plan from initial idea to application to midwifery practice

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Critically reflect on practice and identify a clinically focused area of inquiry that might be addressed using a research approach
  • Demonstrate the skills of independent learning appropriate to a midwife throughout the conduct of this project
  • Demonstrate the skills of partnership working with academic and peer groups for supervision during this activity
  • Disseminate the development, conduct, findings and implications for practice from your project as a journal paper
  • Systematically identify and critically review the current best practice (policy/ guidelines) and the literature in the topic area
  • Synthesise from the literature review to develop an appropriate research question(s)
  • Develop a research project, demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge base of research theory through the justification of all stages of the research process, well applied to the topic
  • Demonstrate best midwifery practice in your articulation and application of ethical elements within your project
  • Demonstrate best midwifery practice in articulating about, and involving clients within your project
  • Critically analyse the context of maternity services and the potential challenges and solutions to undertaking the research project within practice
  • Critically evaluate the professional issues and any associated governance requirements that arise during the conduct of your suggested project, making innovative suggestions for how these are overcome
  • Analyse the findings of your study and draw conclusions for practice, future research and your learning


This module’s content will build on the knowledge gained in your previous degree and all previous modules but in particular those of the online research module of year 2. Critical review of theory and practice • Search and selection of evidence • Critical review of evidence Research theory • Paradigms and Research Approaches/designs • Analyse the philosophies underpinning different research approaches • Developing research questions/ hypotheses and objectives • Sampling frameworks and processes • Data collection and analysis Ethical and legal • Ethical principles in research • Research governance processes • Recognising and Protecting vulnerable clients • Informed Consent • Data protection Decision making Dissemination Academic partnership working Project management skills • Self management • Time management

Special Features

Your research project topic must be negotiated with your academic tutor, and where appropriate your clinical supervisor(s). Peer Review and Ethical Approval will be required for empirical projects Empirical projects may require collaboration with the Trust Research and Development Department You may be required to undertake a study day on Best Practice in Clinical Research, organised and run by the NHS Clinical Research Network for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures (Research related) Technology enhanced learning activities Self directed study Seminar activity Small group and individual supervision

Preparation for scheduled sessions100
Guided independent study96
Completion of assessment task300
Practical classes and workshops10
Project supervision10
Practical classes and workshops6
Total study time562

Resources & Reading list

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

Craig JV and Smyth RL (2012). The Evidence-Based Practice Manual for Nurses. 

Creswell JW (2011). Designing and Conducting Mixed Methods. 

Greenhalgh T (2014). How to Read a Paper: The Basics of Evidence-Based Medicine. 

Polit DF and Beck CT (2014). Essentials of Nursing research; Appraising Evidence for Nursing Practice. 

Flick U (2011). Introducing Research Methodology: A Beginners' Guide to Doing A Research Project. 

Bowling A (Ed.) (2014). Research methods in health: investigating health and Health services. 

Gerrish, K. and Lacey, A. (Eds.) (2006). The Research Process in Nursing. 

Gray DE (2009). Doing Research in the Real World. 

Straus SE, Richardson WS, Glasiou P and Haynes RB (2011). Evidence-Based Medicine: How to Practice and Teach EBM. 





MethodPercentage contribution
Research proposal  (2000 words) 10%
Research Report  (5000 words) 90%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & 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

Books and journals are available in the library and via electronic resources. If you choose to purchase such resources for yourself the costs will be your own. Some projects may need you to provide some resources, for example stationary for documents for the research activity. This should be considered as part of the research planning activity and can be discussed with your academic tutor/supervisor.

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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