Module code: MANM328

Module Overview

This module is designed to enable students to have a deep and systematic understanding of the research methods in the design of their area of health services research. They will undertake some practical research activities in groups and be able to demonstrate an understanding of current theoretical and methodological approaches and how these may affect the way data is generated, analysed and interpreted.

The orientation of the module will be towards comparing the effectiveness of two interventions or a new compared with established interventions in health care. Such interventions might either be therapies or a new care pathway. It is anticipated that such studies will be conducted using, at least in part, routinely collected health data. The literature review section will focus on assessing the evidence base and to compare two treatments/care pathways; and/or the introduction of a new technology.


Sources & Analysis of routine data:

Students will be able to describe typical patient journeys in the English NHS, and the structures and processes involved in care delivery; how and where data about treatment are recorded; and how they might be used to measure outcomes.


Quantitative analysis and evidence-based medicine:

Students will be able to develop their critical appraisal skills and apply this to different types of evidence, particularly comparing new with established treatments. They can define evidence-based medicine, how has it prioritises findings from RCTs and clinical trials to inform guideline development. They will also acquire skills in how to conduct a systematic literature review, the orientation will be towards comparing two medicines or other interventions..


Epidemiological concepts and methods:

Students will be able to define the incidence and prevalence of disease. They will be able to standardise these findings compared with a reference population. They will be able to report the sensitivity and specificity of a test and basic descriptive statistics.


Qualitative data analysis – interviews and focus groups to understand health care processes and interpret quantitative findings:

Students will learn how to conduct an interview and a focus group. They will learn how to transcribe and manage data. They will learn how to analyse data using the framework approach (Pope). We will introduce questionnaire design, and signpost students of where to find the information required for effective questionnaire design and piloting.


Evaluation of an intervention, service or system:

The student will pull together their learning to devise the evaluation of a complex intervention.

Module provider

Surrey Business School

Module Leader

DE LUSIGNAN Simon (Biosc & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 116

Lecture Hours: 18

Tutorial Hours: 9

Laboratory Hours: 6

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Data collection methods including interviews, focus groups, questionnaires, observations, documentary analysis, secondary analysis, unobtrusive measures, vignettes, use of telephone and internet, emails, photographs.

  • Sampling Strategies including hard to reach populations

  • Data analysis methods (Thematic analysis, content analysis, documentary analysis.)

  • Computer-assisted qualitative data analysis package

  • An introduction to statistical and qualitative data analysis software

  • Transcribing data

  • Rigour, audit trail, researching sensitive topics

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
School-timetabled exam/test CLASS TEST 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy


The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and understanding of health service research methods.

The formative element will take place at alternate tutorial/seminars. At these students will present their work. The successive five inputs will be:

  1. Comparing care pathways – students will describe a care pathway and the type of data collected (that is generally available for analysis) at each stage of the care pathway. The pathways must include at least three health and/or social care providers.

  2. Quantitative analysis of routine data – Students will report how they demonstrate a difference between two sets of data about a treatment or care pathway.

  3. Systematic review – students will prepare a one side of A4 + PowerPoint presentation of a brief protocol to compare two treatments/care pathways.

  4. Epidemiological methods to identify health needs – student will present how epidemiological data suggest there may be an unmet health need.

  5. Qualitative data analysis - – students will prepare a one side of A4 + PowerPoint presentation of a brief protocol to conduct a diagnostic analysis (about why there may be a gap in the quality of care) or the qualitative element of a mixed methods health services research protocol to generate an understanding of why a treatment is or is not effective in practice.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module will be in two parts. The first will be a test of their knowledge of HSR element listed above. The second part will be an integrative exercise that requires the student to write an evaluation plan.

Evaluation is a core component of health services research and students may be able to adapt this approach for other research studies. The elements of the summative assessment will be the components of the module:

  1. Factual, multiple choice test of key elements of knowledge about individual elements of HSR methods.

  2. Describing the health need/rationale for the investigation. This will include any epidemiological evidence about a gap in treatment and a description of the potential for a new treatment/therapy or care pathways/treatments that are being compared. /

  3. Conducting a systematic or other appropriate literature review to assess what is known

  4. Qualitative data analysis to identify the barriers/facilitators to uptake/implementation

  5. Sources of data for analysis

  6. Analysis plan


Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive formative feedback via the structured progress through the module. This will include:

  • Verbal discussion during lecture and tutorial contact time. Every second tutorial is student led.

  • Timely responses to verbal or email questions

  • Written formative feedback delivered after each group presentation of a chosen method. 

Module aims

  • enable students to understand how a range of health service research methods can be used to structure inquiry and develop the evidence base
  • Its focus will be on providing the knowledge and skills that enable students who complete the module to compare two interventions or to compare a new and established intervention. 

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Describe and annotate diagrams that describe a care pathway. They will understand (using the English NHS as an exemplar) the type of routinely collected data recorded at each stage of the patient journey. KCPT
2 Understand, develop and critically appraise different research data collection methods including structured/ unstructured interviews, interviews, survey, observation, participant observation, documentary analysis, quasi experiment KCPT
3 Develop critical approaches to sampling methods in both quantitative and qualitative research, within the focus of the module. KCPT
4 Critique different approaches to reliability and validity, in the context of comparing two treatments or a new compared with an established health care intervention. KCPT
5 Critically appraise different methods of data analysis including quantitative and qualitative analyses. KCPT
6 Use reflexive understanding as a means of generating theoretically informed research KCPT
7 Be able to conduct a literature review to compare treatments or to compare a new with an existing care pathway or health intervention KCPT
8 Design a study, using routine data, and supporting qualitative data collection to compare two established interventions or to compare a new and established intervention KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • prepare the students for the study of economics and econometrics at FHEQ Level 7 (first week)

  • enable students to have a deep and systematic understanding of the research methods in the design of their area of research.

  • help students make connections between known and unknown areas in relation to research methods through a structured programme of learning and sharing.

  • draw upon their own experience, and support them to demonstrate a deeper understanding of current theoretical and methodological approaches and how these affect the way the knowledge base is interpreted.


The learning and teaching methods include:

  • 4.5 hours of lectures in week 1

  • 2 hour lecture per week in weeks 2-11.

  • One hour tutorial per week in weeks 2-11 which will include Group activities through discussions and presentations. Alternate tutorials will be students presenting work prepared related to their current stage in the course.

  • Reading through directed reading via SurreyLearn.


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: MANM328

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.