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Research Methodology in Health Science

Research Methodology in Health Science

Course Syllabus

Course Title and Number: HSCI 468: Research Methodology in Health Science

Catalog Description

Entry-level research methods and application to contemporary health problems. Health data analysis and development of skills for determining appropriate analytical techniques and procedures. Materials fee required

Course Overview and/or Rationale

HSCI 468 is an undergraduate course designed to introduce health science majors to principles and applications in conducting research in the health sciences. The course will introduce students to specific issues that need to be addressed when planning and executing research in public health such as research ethics, experimental control, randomization, internal validity, subject effects, and interpretation of results from descriptive and inferential statistical analyses. Additionally, students will (1) gain insight into the nature and purpose of research in public health, (2) develop their own research problem and proposal, (3) gain experience with those elements critical to the research process, and (4) learn to take an active role in the research process in public health science. An emphasis will be placed on the applied nature of research methods as it pertains to health education and promotion, health care management and services, and other areas of public health inquiry.

Students will not only learn terms, concepts, and tools for conducting basic health science research but also apply them to an actual research study. We will have some in-class activities to support student learning. Students must have successfully completed an upper division statistics course prior to enrollment.

Relevant Professional Standards

Several professional organizations govern required course content related to accreditation of the program and student learning outcomes. While there is varying content required, this course meets the requirements for health care management, and public health education students. Organizations and what they expect includes:
Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA)
Ethics in Business and Clinical Decision-making
• Explores and analyzes contemporary healthcare situations in terms of ethical dimensions. Genetic research and its application to patient care may also be explored.

Operations Assessment and Improvement
• Addresses the manager’s role in improving healthcare quality and outcomes, including clinical and organizational improvement, technology assessment, and quality improvement practices. May also present outcomes research that includes methods, cost effectiveness, measurement, decision support, quality of life, and improvement management.

Statistical Analysis and Application to Decision Making
• Examines methods of descriptive statistics and probability, including describing, exploring, and comparing data and how it can be used in decision making. Explores inferential statistics relative to population parameters and hypotheses testing.

Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH); and National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC)
The requirements for the public health major or concentration provide instruction in the following domain:
• the basic concepts, methods and tools of public health data collection, use and analysis and why evidence-based approaches are an essential part of public health practice
Students must demonstrate the following skills:
• the ability to communicate public health information, in both oral and written forms and through a variety of media, to diverse audiences
• the ability to locate, use, evaluate and synthesize public health information
The overall undergraduate curriculum and public health major curriculum expose students to concepts and experiences necessary for success in the workplace, further education and life-long learning. These concepts include the following:
• critical thinking and creativity
• ethical decision making as related to self and society
• research methods

Course content will support the Undergraduate Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcome (SLO)
At the completion of this course students will be able to:
2.2. Describe the basic concepts, methods, and tools of public health data collection, use, and analysis and why evidence-based approaches are an essential part of public health practice
2.5. Demonstrate the basic concepts of public health-specific communication, including technical and professional writing and the use of mass media and electronic technology

3.1 Use appropriate research methods and designs in public health and health services
4.2. Apply the fundamental concepts and features of project implementation, including planning, assessment, and evaluation

Course Learning Outcomes
As a result of this course, students will be able to:

1. Explain the contribution that research makes to the health sciences and public health.
2. Examine the advantages and disadvantages of various methods of data collection and research designs.
3. Understand research concepts and the processes by which research is produced.
4. Discuss various types of research designs, identifying the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.
5. Identify the ethical considerations in conducting research.
6. Conduct various data entry, data manipulations, and analyses using SPSS.
7. Locate peer reviewed journal articles, demonstrate proficiency in reading and evaluating a study, and be able to write a literature review.
8. Conduct basic statistical analyses including measures of central tendency, t-tests, chi-Square, ANOVA, linear regression, and others to test hypotheses.
9. Explain the importance and limitations of research findings.
10. Conduct a basic research study in public health and write a research report according to the manuscript guidelines set forth by the APA.

Course Requirements

1. Quizzes: There will be a total of three quizzes, each worth 20 points (total 60 points). Most quizzes will be on Tuesdays, unless otherwise announced in class (at least one week ahead). Instructor, however, reserves the right to make quizzes pop-quiz if attendance and/or participation in class is low. All quizzes must be individual work, closed books/notes (unless otherwise stated in class). No late quizzes will be accepted.

2. Exercise Reports: There will be a total of five exercise reports, worth 30 points each (total 150 points). Exercise reports will prepare students for writing their final research reports. Exercise are all due on the date posted on syllabus. No late exercise reports will be accepted.

3. Research Study and Report: One of the best ways to learn a subject is to do individual research on a topic of interest to the student. Students will be conducting an individual study examining health risk behaviors among college students. Students will have the opportunity to conduct a brief literature review, develop a hypothesis, collect data, analyze data, interpret results, and write research reports. Much of this work will take place outside of class. The report will follow the APA Manuscript Guidelines. Please use spellchecker AND proofread. Some of the work will be in groups of 2-3 students. The research reports and processes included in them take a lot of work and time to complete. You must participate fully in data collection and data entry to receive full credit on this assignment. You can expect about 8-12 hours of out of class time to complete this assignment. Some class time will be devoted to this project. We will have a peer review of manuscripts during the last week of the course. Students who do not have a draft of the complete paper and/or do not attend class that day will have 10 points deducted from their final score for this assignment. Five (5) points will be deducted for late assignments for each calendar day late for the final submission of the report. This is worth 100 Points!

4. Exams: There will be a total of two exams, Mid-Term and Final Exam. Both exams must be turned in during date posted in the syllabus. Late submissions will not be accepted. Mid –Term Exam worth 50 points and Final Exam worth 100 points.

5. Group Presentation: There will be group presentations on topics relating to the course concepts. These presentations must be completed on the date allotted for it in the course outlines. The required PowerPoint presentation worth 25 points.

6. Research Ethics Training: All students in this course must complete the Collaborative IRB Training Initiative (CITI) training. This is a web-based training program in human research subjects’ protections. You only need to complete the Group 2- Social and Behavioral Research Investigators and Key Personnel section. This assignment will take 2-3 hours to complete. You will submit your record of completion to me in person on the due date. The directions for the assignment are on Blackboard. Five (5) points will be deducted for late assignments for each calendar day late.

7. Reminder: Please review your project to ensure that it is stated in your own words and written in complete sentences. The citation of another’s work that is copied word for word is considered to be plagiarism. Do not use too many quotes. It lowers the quality of the paper. If any assignment or material is not clear, it is the student’s responsibility to ask questions. Not understanding assignments is not a valid excuse for late submissions. Do not drop off items in the mailbox, under door, bring to class, or send through email.
Course Evaluation Plan

Quizzes (x3) 60 points
Exercise I Report
Exercise II Report
Exercise III Report
Exercise IV Report
Exercise V Report
CITI Training
Mid Term Exam
Final Research Project
Final Exam 30 points
30 points
30 points
30 Points
30 Points
15 Points
50 Points
100 Points
25 Points
100 Points
TOTAL 500 points

Final Grades

A 94-100%
A- 90-93%
B+ 87-89%
B 84-86%
B- 80-83%
C+ 77-79%
C 74-76%
C- 70-73%
D+ 67-69%
D 64-66%
D- 60-63%
F Below 60%

Required Textbooks
Research Methodology: a step-by-step guide for beginners, Fourth Edition

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association- 6th Ed. (2009). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Additional readings will be posted on blackboard.

• Introduction to Research, scientific method,
• Ethics in research
• Sources of data
• Generating testable research questions
• How to Read the Scientific Literature; Conducting a Literature Review
• Research designs: quantitative and qualitative; observational, experimental; Mixed Methods
• Statistical significance; “causal relationship”; Chi square, t and F tests; ANOVA, regression
• Analyzing and Interpreting Results
• Data collection
• Measurement in research design; validity, reliability
• Sampling
• Survey Design
• Focus Groups and Interviews; coding focus groups
• Reporting results


Session Outline
Session 1 Thursday 09/24

Topic: Course Overview and Syllabus Review

Required readings: Ranjit Kumar, Research: A way of Thinking: Chapter 1
Assignments : None
Session 2 Tuesday 09/29

Topic: The Research Process: a quick glance

Required readings: Ranjit Kumar, Chapter 2

Assignments: None
Session 3 Thursday 10/01

Topic: STEP 1: Review the Literature & Formulating a Research Problem

Required readings: Ranjit Kumar , Chapters 3 & 4

Assignments: None

Session 4 Tuesday 10/06

Topic: STEP I: Identifying Variables & Constructing Hypotheses
Required readings: Ranjit Kumar , Chapters 5 & 6

Assignments: Quiz 1

Session 5 Thursday 10/08

Topic: STEP I: Identifying Variables & Constructing Hypotheses Cont.
Required readings: Ranjit Kumar , Chapters 5 & 6
Assignment: Exercise I: Formulation of a Research Problem
Session 6 Tuesday 10/13
Topic: STEP II: Conceptualizing a Research Design
• The research design
• Selecting a study design
Required readings: Ranjit Kumar , Chapters 7 & 8

Assignment: Exercise II: Conceptualizing a study design
Session 7 Thursday 10/15

Topic: STEP III: Constructing and Instrument for Data Collection
• Selecting a method of data collection
• Collecting data using attitudinal scales
Required readings: Ranjit Kumar , Chapters 9 & 10

Assignments: CITI TRAINING due next Tuesday.

Session 8 Tuesday 10/20
No Class – Work on CITI Training

Session 9 Thursday 10/22

Topic: STEP III: Constructing and Instrument for Data Collection Cont.
• Selecting a method of data collection
• Collecting data using attitudinal scales
Required readings: Ranjit Kumar , Chapters 9 & 10

Assignment: QUIZ 2

Session 10 Tuesday 10/27

Topic: STEP III: Establishing the validity and reliability of a research instrument
• The concept of validity
• Types of validity in quantitative research
• The concept of reliability
• Factors affecting the reliability of a research instrument
Required readings: Ranjit Kumar , Chapter 11

Assignment: Exercise III: Developing a research instrument
Session 11 Thursday 10/29

Topic: STEP IV: Selecting a Sample
• The difference between sampling in quantitative and qualitative research
• Sampling terminology
• Principles of sampling
• Factors affecting the inferences drawn from a sample
• Aims in selecting a sample
• The calculation of a sample size
• The concept of saturation point in qualitative research
Required readings: Ranjit Kumar , Chapter 12

Assignment: Exercise IV: Selecting a Sample

Session 12 Tuesday 11/03


Session 13 Thursday 11/05

Topic: STEP V: Writing a Research Proposal

Required readings: Ranjit Kumar , Chapter 13

Assignment: Exercise V: Writing a research Proposal

Session 14 Tuesday 11/10

Topic: STEP VI: Collecting Data – considering ethical issues in data collection
• Ethics: the concept
• Stakeholders in research
• Ethical issues to consider concerning research participants
• Ethical issues to consider relating to the researcher
• Ethical issues regarding the sponsoring organization
• Ethical issues in collecting data from secondary sources
Required readings: Ranjit Kumar , Chapter 14

Assignment: QUIZ 3

Session 15 Thursday 11/12

Topic: Processing and Displaying Data

Required readings: Ranjit Kumar , Chapter 15

Assignments: Start working on your research Report
Session 16 Tuesday 11/17

Topic: Displaying Data
• Text
• Tables
• Graphs
• Statistical measures
Required readings: Ranjit Kumar , Chapter 16

Assignments: Start working on your research Report
Session 14 Thursday 11/19

Topic: Writing a Research Report
• Writing a research report
• Developing a draft outlines
• Writing about variables
• Referencing
• Writing a bibliography
• summary

Required readings: Ranjit Kumar , Chapter 17

Assignments: None
Session 15 Tuesday 11/24

Assignments: Final Research project is due
Group Presentations Begin
Session 16 Thursday 11/26

Thanksgiving Day. No Class
Session 17 Tuesday 12/01

Assignments: Group Presentations
Session 18 Thursday 12/03

Assignments: Group Presentations
Session 19 Tuesday 12/10

Assignments: Final Exam


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