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The University of Southampton

PSIO2027 Research Methods 1

Module Overview

The Research Methods modules (part 1 & 2) will introduce students to an enhanced range of research methods and underpinning philosophical approaches to research. They will aim to explain epistemological and ontological considerations in research design and methodology, and address key developments in the philosophy of science, from positivism and relativism to critical realism and post-modernism. It will also introduce students to a broad range of research methods within both quantitative and qualitative paradigms. For example, qualitative research designs in healthcare research now span a wide variety of methods such as discourse analysis, conversational analysis, interpretive phenomenological analysis, auto ethnography and oral histories. Documentary research methods, including content analysis are also increasingly widely used in healthcare research. Contemporary and novel research methods across a wide spectrum of healthcare research will be addressed, including participatory theatre and narrative research. Quantitative research methods encompass a wide spread of designs, from randomised control trials to case study designs. This module will provide students with a broad overview of the wide scope of contemporary research methods used within the spectrum of health services research. This particular module (part 1) will give the students a very controlled but hands-on experience of data collection, analysis and write up. Having this early experience will help the students to understand some of the complexities and problems associated with research. This will better enable them to appreciate some of the more detailed research teaching that they would receive later on and therefore be better placed to apply that teaching. The research blocks over levels 5 and 6 are linked insomuch as each leads to the next and together will enable students to run a small scale research project, thus gaining hands on experience. As many Universities are moving away from individual research projects at undergraduate level, at Southampton it is felt that having practical experience of running an empirical project is vital in order for students to gain appropriate experience and to grow capacity for the physiotherapy profession. A unique feature of this module is that pre-approval for data collection methods have been sought from the Faculty ethics committee. This will limit the scope of projects that can be proposed but will ensure that demands on the ethics approval processes will be minimised. Each proposal will be marked by an appropriate supervisor to ensure the scientific validity of each proposal.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To prepare students with the necessary knowledge to understand the research process and the skills to begin devising and planning their own small scale research project.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • To demonstrate understanding of how quantitative and qualitative methods contribute to research and the differing requirements associated with these approaches.
  • To demonstrate an understanding of the ethical considerations involved in the planning of health services research.
  • To demonstrate an ability to prioritise workload to meet module deadlines.
  • Demonstrate an ability to plan a small scale research project.
  • To demonstrate a systematic approach to gathering evidence and an awareness of levels of evidence and their applications.
  • To explain the features and characteristics of reliable and valid data collection techniques as appropriate to quantitative and qualitative approaches.
  • To undertake the collection of data that is clinically relevant to the module, using reliable and valid methods in relation to the research aim.
  • To demonstrate an ability to present, synthesise and interpret the analysis of collected data, explaining how it is clinically relevant, how it contributes to the available evidence base and the strengths and limitations of the work.
  • To formulate a research aim amenable to study, and present congruent research question and objectives.
  • To demonstrate an ability to systematically search and critically select evidence to inform the basis of the research proposal
  • To critically evaluate research studies using appropriate assessment criteria.
  • To select and justify a research design, data collection and analysis methods appropriate to the proposed research aim, questions and objectives


The module will introduce students to research and the fundamental characteristics and concepts underpinning quantitative, qualitative and audit research methods. The students will practically collect data (both qualitative and quantitative) which will provide the basis for their first assignments and will generate formative feedback. Specific lectures on data collection and analysis will be given and these will be supported by practical workshops. Action learning sets will provide the opportunity to discuss any issues they face. This first block will include an opportunity for both qualitative and quantitative data collection prepare students for that of undertaking data collection which will be analysed and written up as a quantitative and a qualitative report, formative feedback on these reports will inform the next phase. The second block will prepare and support students in the writing of a research proposal which will then be carried forward into level 6.

Special Features

This module provides the opportunity for students to undertake both qualitative and quantitative data analysis within a controlled environment and to better understand how data are collected and analysed before embarking on a small scale pilot/feasibility study under supervision. Students will chose from a range of pre-determined and pre-approved methodologies and will frame their own research question within this framework. Appropriate supervision will be provided and feedback given on each proposal to ensure scientific validity. This will enable the project to be progressed at level 6.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, practical data collection, Action Learning Groups, practical workshops.

Preparation for scheduled sessions30
Completion of assessment task30
Guided independent study235
Wider reading or practice50
Total study time376

Resources & Reading list

Aceyard H (2014). Doing a Literature review in Health and Social Care. A practical Guide. 

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

Bell J (2005). Doing your Research Project. 

Ritchie J and Lewis J (2013). Qualitative Research Practice. A Guide for Social Science Students and Researchers. 

Critical appraisal resources.

Bowling A (2014). Research Methods in Health. Investigating Health and Health Services. 

Kaura A (2013). Evidence Based Medicine: Reading and Writing medical Papers. 

Fonagy, P. and Roth, A (2006). What Works for Whom?: A critical review of psychotherapy research. 

Green, J. and Thorogood, N. (2009). Qualitative methods for health research.. 

Van Manen, M. (1990). Researching Lived Experience: Human Science for an action sensitive pedagogy. 

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

Field, A (2009). Discovering Statistics Using SPSS. 

McDowell I & Newell C. (1996). Measuring Health. A Guide to Rating Scales and Questionnaires. 

Portney LG & Watkins MP (2009). Foundations of Clinical Research. Applications to Practice. 

French, S, Reynolds, F, Swain, J (2001). Practical Research: a guide for therapists. 

Hicks CM (2009). Research Methods for Clinical Therapists. Applied Projects and Design Analysis. 

Pallant J (2010). SPSS Survival Manual. 

Polgar S and Thomas SA (2008). Introduction to Research in the Health Sciences. 

Finlay, L. and Gough, B. (2003). Reflexivity: A practical guide for researchers in health and social sciences. 

O'Leary Z. (2009). The essential guide to doing your research project. 



Quantitative Research Report


MethodPercentage contribution
Completion of Research Proposal 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: External

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