University of Technology Sydney

92618 Health Care Research Methodology

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health
Credit points: 12 cp
Result type: Pass fail, no marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject provides an understanding and appreciation of the multiple ways through which knowledge is generated in specific relationship to the disciplines of health. Students are exposed to the breadth of research methodologies that can be employed for such knowledge generation. Emphasis is placed on relationships between research question/problem, methodology and method. Basic descriptive research methods are used as exemplars of knowledge generation. Completion of the subject enables students to critically appraise an appropriate methodology and method for their chosen area of research inquiry. In addition, the subject explores how to situate an area of inquiry within existing knowledge, proposal writing, as well as ethical and practical issues of conducting research in health.

Teaching and learning strategies

The development activities in this subject are intended to assist Honours and Master (research) students to engage in a research community with their peers and hone the research and presentation skills needed to successfully initiate their research projects. In the first three day block, students engage interactively with other students and academics to solve complex research related problems. The second three day block is built around in-class problem solving exercises and presentations using data analysis software such as SPSS and NVivo. Students receive feedback from the academics and their peers on their proposed research questions and your planned approach to answer these questions.

Outside of face-to-face days, students are required to critically read journal articles and book chapters related to your research questions to complete the activities and tasks set for the classes via UTSOnline. These online tasks include responding to prompt questions and preparing short presentations. Students are encouraged to participate in online discussion groups and to contribute written responses to the online tasks. UTSOnline will be used to share information and encourage interaction between staff and students. This enables students to quickly clarify complex descriptions and terminology, and engage with research methods. Students will also discuss their research topics with their supervisors, including research questions and appropriate methods to answer these questions.

Content (topics)

  • Advancing knowledge in health through research
  • The range of methodological approaches and methods currently employed in health research
  • Stages of the research process
  • Identifying an area of research and a researchable problem
  • The role of theoretical frameworks and conceptual models in research
  • Strategies for conducting a literature review: searching, reading, critiquing, organising and synthesising knowledge relevant to the research area or problem
  • Developing and refining a research problem into a focussed question
  • The need for congruence in selection of research methodologies, designs, types of data and forms of analyses
  • Introduction to understanding qualitative research and practice on qualitative analysis software such as NVivo
  • Introduction to understanding statistics and practice on statistical analysis using software such as MS Excel and SPSS
  • Developing research designs to answer specific research questions
  • The role of rigour in research.


Assessment task 1: Development of research question


To inform the rest of the class what your research question(s) is. We will be discussing these throughout the semester.

Weight: 5%

Maximum 500 words

Assessment task 2: Literature summary tables


This assessment task demonstrates the skills to summarise literature of your research question.

Weight: 30%

1000 - 1500 words

Assessment task 3: Analysis and presentation of a ‘real world’ dataset


This assessment task addresses the capability to analyses the real world dataset.

Weight: 25%

10 - 15 minute presentation plus 150 word abstract

Assessment task 4: Further development of research proposal


This assessment task builds on further development of your research proposal.

Weight: 40%

1500 - 2000 words

Recommended texts

It is important that you have access to texts which addresses the specific method you will use when you become more certain of your research methods. A list of methods texts for this purpose is provided below. We strongly recommend that you discuss your methods text needs with your research supervisor and other mentors.

Research Methods Texts:

Bassett, C. 2004, Qualitative research in health care, Whurr Publishers, London.

Bourgeault, I., Dingwall, R., & de Vries, R. (eds) 2010, The SAGE handbook of qualitative methods in health research, Sage, London.

Bowling, A. 2009, Research methods in health: Investigating health and health services, 3rd edn, Open University Press, McGraw-Hill, Maidenhead, Berkshire. (1st and 2nd editions available in Libarary)

Creswell, J.W. & Piano Clark, V.L. 2011, Designing and conducting mixed methods research, 2nd edn, Sage, Thousand Oaks.

Minichiello, V., Sullivan, G., Greenwood, K. & Axford, R. 2004, Research methods for nursing and health science, 2nd edn, Pearson, Frenchs Forest.

Silverman, D. 2004, Qualitative research: Theory, method and practice, 2nd edn, Sage, London.

Silverman, D. 2006, Interpreting qualitative data: methods for analyzing talk, text and interaction, Sage, Los Angeles. Thomas, D. R. 2010,

Designing and managing your research project: core skills for social and health research, Sage, Los Angeles.

Waltz, C. F. 2010, Measurement in nursing and health research, 4th edn, Springer, New York.

We recommend that you access a text to support the development of your academic writing skills, literature appraisal skills and/or research student development. A list of useful texts has also been provided below. All texts listed are available in the library for you to borrow and/or preview before purchasing.

Appraising and Writing Texts:

Greenhalgh, T. 2014, How to read a paper: The basics of evidence based medicine, 5th edn, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, West Sussex.

Jacobsen, K. H. 2012, Introduction to health research methods: a practical guide, Jones & Bartlett, Sudbury, Massachusetts.

Peat, J., Elliott, E., Baur, L. & Keena, V. 2002, Scientific Writing. Easy when you know how, BMJ Books, London.

Ross, T. 2012, A survival guide for health research methods, Open University Press, McGraw-Hill, Maidenhead, Berkshire.

Other resources

UTS Student Centre
Building 10
Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm
Tel: 1300 ASK UTS (1300 275 887)

Details for student centres:
For other resources/information refer to the Faculty of Health website (, the Health Student Guide ( and UTSOnline at:

UTS Library
The Library has a wide range of resources, facilities and services to support you including textbooks, subject readings, old exam papers, academic writing guides, health literature databases, workshops, a gaming room and bookable group study rooms. There is also a team of librarians to help you with all your questions.
W:, Facebook: utslibrary, Twitter: @utslibrary Tel: (02) 9514 3666

Improve your academic and English language skills
Marks for all assessment tasks such as assignments and examinations are given not only for what you write but also for how you write. If you would like the opportunity to improve your academic and English language skills, make an appointment with the HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support) Service in Student Services.

HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support)
HELPS provides assistance with English language proficiency and academic language. Students who need to develop their written and/or spoken English should make use of the free services offered by HELPS, including academic language workshops, vacation intensive courses, drop-in consultations, individual appointments and Conversations@UTS ( HELPS staff are also available for drop-in consultations at the UTS Library. Phone (02) 9514 9733

Please see for additional information on other resources provided to students by UTS.