MSc/PGDip/PGCert Humanitarian Practice

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Research Into Practice

Course unit fact file
Unit code HCRI70030
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Humanitarian Conflict Response Institute
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit is a key element of the overall programme. 

It is intended to cover main aspects of qualitative and quantitative research methods applicable to humanitarian health situations.  It complements the learning from ‘Critical approaches to evidence’ module

In this unit, students will learn how to develop an appropriate research question from a given problem, and develop appropriate tools such as questionnaires and the use of qualitative tools such as interviews or focus groups that can be used in basic field research or professional research to explore a situation and inform practice.  Students will also further develop their skills in how to undertake an appropriate literature review.  Students will be expected to explore problems or issues that are particularly pertinent to their own humanitarian practice. 



It is strongly recommended that the module ‘Critical approaches to evidence’ will be taken before this module.  However, if a student can demonstrate adequate knowledge and skills to learn effectively, either through prior learning or experience, they can take this as an independent module. 


The unit aims to:

Prepare those working in the NGO/humanitarian sector with the knowledge and skills they need to develop a research proposal, and undertake appropriate research to inform practice. It also aims to prepare students for the dissertation or higher level exploration in this field.


Teaching and learning methods



Knowledge and understanding

Demonstrate critical knowledge and understanding of qualitative and quantitative research methods and processes.

Demonstrate critical understanding of the ethics associated with conducting research with vulnerable groups.

Intellectual skills

Formulate humanitarian or professional research questions and design a study to evaluate an identified problem.

Practical skills

Identify and implement appropriate qualitative and quantitative research techniques for use in their research proposal.

Assess and evaluate the health needs of a given population in humanitarian assistance situation.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Develop and use appropriate tools such as questionnaires, focus groups, individual and group interviews.

Assessment methods

Research Report - 60%

Research Questionnaire - 30%

Contribution to Discussion Board - 10%

Feedback methods

Written feedback after submission

Recommended reading

The global health network website.  Available at:

Research for health in humanitarian crises (elrha) website.  Available at:

Series of four papers in the Lancet (2017).  Blanchet K, Ramesh A, Frison S, et al. Evidence on public health interventions in humanitarian crises. The Lancet.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 10.5
Seminars 10.5
Supervised time in studio/wksp 2
Independent study hours
Independent study 127

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