MSc Occupational Hygiene / Course details

Year of entry: 2019

Course unit details:
Module 7: Research Methods and Data Analysis (Occupational Hygiene)

Unit code POPH68900
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Division of Population Health, Health Services Research and Primary Care
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

Competent practice of occupational hygiene requires an ongoing commitment to continuing professional development. In order to provide competent and professional advice a hygienist needs to be able to critically appraise available data, to understand the research principles on which current evidence has been based and to effectively communicate this information to others. This unit aims to provide the research related skills that are required in the field of occupational hygiene, as well as dealing with ethical concerns that are likely to arise in the course of undertaking research.

Aims

The aim of this unit is to equip participants with the skills needed to undertake and publish relevant research, and to build on the epidemiological knowledge and statistical methods introduced in the unit Occupational Ill Health 68850.  In addition, the aim is to familiarise the student with evidence based medicine and underline its importance, as well as equipping the student with the skills to undertake critical appraisal and social research.  Finally, the unit provides an understanding of the use of IT systems in an occupational health setting.

Learning outcomes

 The learning outcomes intend to:

  • Provide an understanding of the principles of an epidemiological, as distinct from a clinical or toxicological, approach to occupational health problems.
  • Endow students with an awareness of the importance of critical appraisal.
  • Provide the skills to make critical assessments of research reports in terms of appropriateness of study design and interpretation.
  • Give students an understanding of the use of computers in an occupational health setting, including issues such as security, data protection and networking.

Syllabus

  • Epidemiology and Statistics
  • Evidence Based Practice
  • Critical Appraisal
  • Social Research MethodsI
  • Information Technology

Teaching and learning methods

The unit is delivered through a blend of written materials in electronic format (PDFs) and interactive teaching material, supported by 2 tutorials. A 3-4 day campus based course covers the practical aspects relating to units 5/6/7/8, which is held at the end of Semester 1 in Year 2.  The unit is assessed summatively via a 1-hour examination of essay style questions.

 

Knowledge and understanding

On completion, students should be able to:

  • Be aware of the scope and uses of published sources of information on mortality and morbidity.
  • Understand how to summarise and interpret environmental exposure data.
  • Be aware of the role of statistical inference in epidemiological research and compliance testing.
  • Understand the problems of bias and confounding and what can be done to avoid them.
  • Describe the research questions in the field of occupational health suitable for investigation by quantitative and qualitative research methods.
  • Depict the main components of a social research survey, focus group study or in-depth interview study.

Intellectual skills

On completion, students should be able to:

  • Know how to calculate the common measures of mortality and morbidity.
  • Be able to summarise and present epidemiological data.
  • Be able to interpret the results of statistical methods in non-mathematical terms.
  • Be able to identify the conclusions of a paper and decide whether the methodology is sound enough to justify the findings.
  • Know how to assess the results of a paper in terms of generalisability to other areas.
  • Understand the concept of reflective learning and the methods by which this can be achieved.

Practical skills

On completion, students should be able to:

  • Apply the knowledge within this unit in order to make critical assessments of research/ reports with respect to the appropriateness of study design and interpretation.
  • Know how to record and present critical appraisal of papers and be aware of resources to support this process.
  • Be able to contribute to a social research study in the field of occupational hygiene by identifying key features of methods and research practice that should be included.
  • Be able to identify the main ethical concerns likely to arise in the course of a social research study in the field of occupational health, and describe what should be done to address these issues.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

On completion, students should be able to:

  • Apply/transfer the critical reading skills relating to a report or a social research study in the occupational hygiene field, identifying key features of good and poor practice to other disciplines.
  • Keep knowledge and skills up to date throughout an individual’s professional career.
  • Apply/transfer methods for independent gathering, organising, and evaluating information from a variety of sources and developing an evidence-based approach to other disciplines.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students will know how to summarise and interpret environmental exposure data.
Research
Students will be able to contribute to a social research study in the field of occupational hygiene by identifying key features of methods and research practice that should be included.
Other
Students will be able to make critical assessments of research/ reports with respect to the appropriateness of study design and interpretation.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

  • Formative assessments with automatic feedback are available throughout the unit as an aid to understanding the course materials.
  • Feedback on summative assessments is provided following ratification of results by the Examination Board.
  • Two web-conference tutorials involving small group teaching provide immediate feedback to students.

Recommended reading

  • American Industrial Hygiene Association.  The occupational Environment: its evaluation, control and management 3rd ed.  AIHA Press 2010. ISBN 9781935082156. 
  • Cherrie J, Howie R, Semple S. Monitoring for Health Hazards at Work 4th ed. Wiley-Blackwell 2010. ISBN-10: 1405159626, ISBN-13: 978-1405159623.
  • Gardiner K, Harrington JM. Occupational hygiene.  Blackwell Publishing 2005. ISBN 1405106212.
  • Coggon D, Rose G, Barker DJP.  Epidemiology for the uninitiated 5th ed.  BMJ Publishing 2003.  ISBN 0727916041.
  • Campbell MJ, Machin D.  Medical statistics: a commonsense approach 3rd ed.  John Wiley and Sons 1999.  ISBN 0471987212.
  • Greenhalgh T. How to read a paper - the basics of evidence-based medicine 4th edition. Wiley-Blackwell 2010. ISBN-10: 1444334360.
  • Sackett DL, Straus SE, Richardson WS, Rosenberg W, Haynes RB. Evidence-Based Medicine: How to Practice and Teach EBM 2nd ed. Churchill Livingstone 2000. ISBN 0443062404.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 1
Seminars 6
Tutorials 4
Independent study hours
Independent study 139

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Adrian Hirst Unit coordinator

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