MSc Advanced Leadership for Professional Practice (Allied Health Profession) / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Research Design

Course unit fact file
Unit code NURS60018
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Variable teaching patterns
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit introduces students to the principles that guide identification of researchable questions, formulation of appropriate research designs and methods. The course unit will emphasise the potential for qualitative and quantitative approaches to be complementary as well as exploring their distinctive features.


  • Equip students with an in-depth understanding of research design principles and the methods used in a range of study designs.
  • Enable students to formulate timely and coherent research questions/hypotheses which are relevant to health and social care practice. 

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching and learning for this unit takes place over one semester. Learning methods utilised involve e-learning
via Blackboard. Methods include accessing course material online, interactive demonstrations and activities, and
taking part in online discussions with students and tutors. Directed study will comprise additional exercises and
specified reading related to each on line session.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a range of qualitative, quantitative and mixed research designs (including those used in the development and evaluation of complex interventions) 
  • Critically examine methods of sampling, data collection, including issues of reliability and validity, in qualitative and quantitative research
  • Critically explore a range of analytic strategies used to handle, interpret and present qualitative and quantitative data

Intellectual skills

  • Formulate appropriate research questions, objectives and hypotheses relevant to health and social care practice
  • Select with rationale, appropriate designs and methods to answer research questions
  • Critically consider how methodological principles should be operationalised in a proposed research study

Practical skills

  • Develop skills in writing and formulating clear and relevant research questions/hypotheses
  • Write coherent and well-justified research proposals which address problems/issues relevant to health and social care research

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Critically reflect on their own academic performance and utilise a range of strategies to improve these and overcome any particular difficulties.
  • Further develop and enhance skills in effective communication to a range of audiences in a variety of settings.
  • Demonstrate skills in working collegiately and effectively with others as a member of a team.
  • Effectively utilise information technology and health informatics.
  • Utilise skills in systematic and creative approaches to problem-solving and decision-making to complex issues.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Students will normally have the opportunity to receive feedback on formative work submitted prior to the summative assessment. Other feedback opportunities will also be available in class and online discussion boards. Online feedback is provided in Grademark. Provisional feedback based on internal marking will be made available prior to the Exam Board on the basis that these marks are yet to be ratified at the Exam Board and therefore may be subject to change. A standard feedback mechanism in Grademark is utilised across all postgraduate programmes within the School which provides detailed and constructive feedback on each component and aspect of assessment and identifies areas of strength and those aspects which could be enhanced.

Student feedback is obtained through open discussion forums on blackboard, in class discussions, via formal University unit evaluation forms and also qualitative, in house evaluations at the end of the unit. 

Recommended reading

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Tutorials 52
Independent study hours
Independent study 98

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Helen Brooks Unit coordinator
Janice Christie Unit coordinator

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