Institute for Global Health


Research Methods and Evidence for Global Health (core module)

This core module offers an introduction to research methods relevant to global health, including epidemiological study designs, statistical methods, qualitative research, and critical appraisal techniques.

Medical and health related research has a long history of utilizing a predominantly quantitative approach and Holeman (1993) says "the almost sole recognition given to quantitative methods has trained students inadequately, established flawed standards of practice and research, and delayed the development of essential medical knowledge." This module aims to re-dress this imbalance and introduce students to the potential of a qualitative action orientated approach to health and disability research.

This module will enable you to enhance the quality and credibility of qualitative studies. It provides the opportunity to gain skills and experience in valuing and using qualitative methods for investigating community health problems and undertaking actions to address the problems. It examines qualitative research concepts and tools, including interviews, observations and focus groups.

Module Code: CIHDG034

UCL Credits: 15

Module Organisers: Dr Ed Fottrell.

Please direct queries to the course administration team in the first instance to mailto: igh.adminpg@ucl.ac.uk

Who can study this course?

MSc/PG Dip Global Health and Development students and MSc Behaviour Change students.  Other UCL MSc/PG Dip students, TropEd students, Taster course students and Short course students subject to availability.

Admission Requirements

MSc and PG Dip students: Open to all UCL MSc/PG Dip Global Health and Development, and to any UCL MSc/PG Dip students.

tropEd students: evidence that you are registered as a tropEd student, successful completion of core course.

Taster students: UK Bachelor’s degree in a relevant/allied subject awarded with a 1st or upper 2nd class Honours or an equivalent qualification.  Two academic or professional reference letters.

Short course students: Professional work experience in a relevant area and/or UK Bachelor’s degree in a relevant/allied subject awarded with a 1st or 2nd class Honours or an equivalent qualification.

In addition to the above, all students must demonstrate a GOOD standard of English Proficiency with 6.5 in each of the subtests.

Course length 5 weeks 
Course dates 5 October to 3 November 2017. Exam on 10 November 2017.
Days and times Thursdays and Fridays from 09.30 to 12.30pm and from 2-5pm



  • Constructing research questions
  • Study designs (cross-sectional, case-control, cohort and intervention studies)
  • Measures of disease and types of data
  • Statistical inference: from samples to populations
  • Confounding
  • Measures of association
  • Data analysis of categorical and continuous outcomes
  • Principles of critical appraisal 
  • Qualitative research: research questions, data collection, analysis and critical appraisal

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, small group practical sessions, self-study, assignment. Moodle will be used as an information portal for participants and source for reading materials.


Unseen Exam critical appraisal (100%) 2.5 hours

Assessment Date

Exam to take place on 10 November 2017, AM

Selected Reading List

Rothman KJ, Greenland S and Lash TL (2008) Modern epidemiology. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 3rd revised edition ISBN 0781755646

Kirkwood B & Sterne JE (2003) (2nd Ed) Essential Medical Statistics. Blackwell

Bonita R, Beaglehole R, Kjellström T. (2006) (2nd Ed). Basic Epidemiology World Health Organisation

Pope C & Mays N. (2008) (3rd Ed) Qualitative methods in healthcare research. BMJ Books