Postgraduate Course: Researching Health & Policy: Quantitative Approaches (PGSP11529)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course introduces students to quantitative research methods as applied to the study of health and health policy. The course introduces students to a range of quantitative approaches and provides them with the understanding and skills needed to appraise research evidence generated via each of these. Types of quantitative evidence include: descriptive and analytical epidemiology, the use of population surveys, and economic evaluation. The course is designed to help students develop practical skills in the use of quantitative evidence from a health policy perspective. As such, the course uses a blended learning model: students will engage with short video lectures and other online materials before each class, and each 2-hour workshop will be focused on developing skills in the evaluation and interpretation of quantitative evidence. From this, students gain an understanding of the variety of quantitative data sources available to them and develop an awareness of the strengths and limitations of various forms of quantitative health research.
1) Academic description
This course provides students with an introduction to quantitative research methods commonly used to inform health policy. Key approaches covered in the course include descriptive and analytical epidemiology, the use of population surveys, and economic evaluation. Students will be introduced to each of these approaches and will develop an understanding of their role within health and policy research, including the particular value and strengths of each approach as well as its limitations and critiques. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to critically evaluate evidence generated via these methods and interpret its relevance for health policy.
2) Outline content or syllabus
- The role of quantitative evidence in health research and policy. Students will be introduced to key concepts and types of quantitative health data with relevance for health policy, and will consider the strengths and limitations of such evidence.
- Health surveys. Students will be introduced to the principles of survey design and will practice interpreting health survey data.
- Study design. Drawing on epidemiological principles, students will be introduced to different types of study design used to explore potentially causal relationships in health including risk and protective factors for disease, and the impact of health interventions.
- Evaluating study quality. This session introduces students to potential sources of study error and the principles of critical appraisal in relation to quantitative health research.
- Economic evaluation. Examination of methods used to evaluate and compare the effectiveness of specific health care interventions.
3) Student learning experience
As with Researching Health & Policy: Qualitative Approaches, this course is run in a flipped classroom set-up. Students will attend each 2 hour workshop session having engaged with the online materials (lecture videos and sometimes short activities, plus reading related to workshop). In the workshop session itself, students will engage in practical application of concepts covered in the online materials by interpreting and evaluating specific pieces of quantitative health research. The emphasis is on equipping students to understand, evaluate and interpret quantitative health research data from a policy perspective.
On completion of the course, students have an understanding of key quantitative methods used in health research including potential sources of quantitative health data, an understanding of the types of research questions such methods/data can address, and confidence in understanding and interpreting evidence generated via quantitative health research.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1)
||Block 2 (Sem 1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||As this is a 10 credit course there will be a single component of assessment:
Critical appraisal of a published study, 2500 words, 100%
Students will choose one published study (from a selection of two or three) and produce a written appraisal of that study, including a discussion of how the study fits with existing evidence on the topic and the potential relevance of this evidence from a health policy perspective.
||As this is a short 10-credit/5-week course, there will be a single component of formal assessment, as outlined above, which will be submitted after the completion of teaching.
Informal formative feedback will occur through each workshop session and in guidance & feedback hours.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of the range of quantitative methods and data sources used in health research, including the strengths and limitations of such evidence from a health policy perspective.
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of the principles of survey design and interpretation in health research and policy.
- Have a critical understanding of the different types of epidemiological studies used to explore potentially causal relationships in population health, including the strengths and limitations of different study designs.
- Demonstrate critical awareness of the strengths and limitations of a given quantitative study in terms of potential sources of error and the overall validity of the findings.
- Demonstrate critical awareness of the role of economic evaluation in health research and policy.
|Along with links to recommended online resources, students will be required to complete one or two essential readings for each week. Readings will be drawn from the following books (available via the university library) and from other sources as appropriate:|
- Bonita R, Beaglehole R, Kjellstrom T (2006). Basic Epidemiology (2nd ed). Geneva: WHO. Available at http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2006/9241547073_eng.pdf
- Bailey L, Vardulaki K, Langham J, Chandramohan D (2005). Introduction to Epidemiology. Maidenhead: Open University Press. Available in electronic form through the University of Edinburgh library (requires university username and password).
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Students will develop a range of cognitive and communicative skills including:
- A critical understanding of the range of data sources, tools and methods used in quantitative research
- Ability to critically evaluate quantitative research
- Ability to critically analyse and interpret quantitative evidence
- Effective communication skills
|Course organiser||Dr Emily Adrion
Tel: (0131 6)51 3871
|Course secretary||Mrs Casey Behringer
Tel: (0131 6)50 2456