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PSIO6034 Critical Inquiry - Protocol

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aim of Critical Inquiry module 1 (the Protocol) is to enable you to build on the research skills developed in your previous programme of study and to prepare you to undertake health services research independently at a Masters level. Its successful completion is pre-requisite to you embarking on your own independent research project in Critical Inquiry module 2. Specific opportunities will be provided to enable you to appreciate a range of research methods commonly used in health services research and differences between an Honours level and a Masters level research project. The learning opportunities provided will enable you to obtain specific skills required to undertake research at this academic level.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Rationalise the selection of the specific problem or issue to be studied.
  • Identify a research question/aim and a set of research objectives or hypothesis to be examined.
  • Critically access, appraise and systematically evaluate the literature pertinent to the research question.
  • Plan for an effective research study, selecting a design sampling/recruitment strategy and data collection approach appropriate to the research aim/question.
  • Identify an appropriate analysis strategy for managing/analysing the data to be collected.
  • Demonstrate appropriate ethical awareness in the planning of the research study.
  • Demonstrate a depth of knowledge in the chosen field of study, and the ability to analyse critically, make judgements and draw conclusions.


This module is learner centred, therefore, you influence the content of the sessions. Content is likely to include some of the following and will be embedded within learning that occurs in other modules during the programme: • Critically appraising literature • Qualitative and quantitative research methods • Qualitative and quantitative data analysis and interpretation • Using the relevant statistical software package e.g. SPSS, Nud٭ist • Presenting results • Research governance framework • Ethics • Academic standards to be achieved

Special Features

36 hours timetabled sessions including lectures and workshops, up to 8.5 hours of seminars (meet the supervisor sessions) and 5 hours supervision. Critical Inquiry theory will be embedded into MSc modules and ongoing learning. Opportunities to work with and be supervised by the Professorial and research active members of the Faculty will be provided. Contemporary areas of research will be made available in the form of research projects for you to select. Additional reading material to be negotiated between individual students and their designated supervisors in accordance with their selected areas of research.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

You are expected to attend Critical Inquiry sessions, which are embedded in the programme. These sessions are designed to give you a broad appreciation of health service research methods and to assist you to prepare research protocol and necessary ethical application forms. The sessions are a mixture of lectures, tutorials and practices to support your development. You will be required to submit a background for formative assessment and to present your protocol methods to their peers (with supervisors/lecturers on the module invited), during the module. Your supervisor will be a member of the course team who is familiar with a broad area of study and has the appropriate academic and professional expertise

Practical classes and workshops8
Preparation for scheduled sessions15
Completion of assessment task83
Wider reading or practice40
Project supervision5
Total study time188

Resources & Reading list

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bell, J (2005). Doing your Research Project. 

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

Pallant J (2010). SPSS Survival Manual. 


Assessment Strategy

Formative assessments 1. Submission of a 500 word protocol background 2. Brief 10 minute presentation of protocol methods to peers Summative assessment 3500 word protocol Supporting paperwork (e.g., ethics form, consent forms, participant information sheet, questionnaires etc.) to be submitted with the protocol. Evidence of ethical approval as appropriate to the study before progression to Critical Inquiry module 2




MethodPercentage contribution
Project Protocol  (3500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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