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HLTH306 – Research Methods for Health Sciences

2017 – S1 Day

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convenor
Subramanyam Vemulpad
Contact via subramanyam.vemulpad@mq.edu.au
C5C West 351
Tuesday 10 am -12 noon
Lecturer
Kenneth Beath
Contact via ken.beath@mq.edu.au
Credit points Credit points
3
Prerequisites Prerequisites
39cp at 100 level or above
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit provides an introduction to the principles of evidence-based health practice. The unit covers a range of issues in research including: subjectivity and objectivity; different research strategies; evaluation and interpretation of data; and ethical issues. Concepts of efficacy, effectiveness, clinical and statistical significance, and critical appraisal of published work are introduced.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain the role of research and scientific enquiry in health sciences
  2. Compare relative merits of different levels of ‘evidence’
  3. Explain the importance of evidence based health care
  4. Critically appraise available information including published work related to health sciences
  5. Explain ethics, confidentiality, conflict of interest and related issues in the context of research and clinical practice
  6. Use spread sheets and Minitab for basic statistical analyses of data
  7. Interpret basic epidemiological and statistical terms such as confidence intervals, effectiveness, efficacy, error, incidence, mean, median, mode, prevalence, probability, reproducibility, risk, sample size, sampling, SD, sensitivity, significance, specificity and validity
  8. Demonstrate skills for self-directed learning and inquiry

General Assessment Information

  1. Assignment

Specific details of the Assignments will be provided in your first practical class. The assignments must be submitted by the due date.   

Extension to due date may be granted under extenuating circumstances. Application for extensions must be made under the disruption to studies policy

(http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/exams/disruption_to_studies/), applied for through www.ask.mq.edu.au within 5 days of the disruption and prior to the submission date of the assignment.  Resubmission of assignments will not be considered under usual circumstances. Late submissions without this approval will incur a penalty of 10% of the score for each day of delay. Submissions later than a week after the deadline will not be marked.

2. Practicals

The practical exercises will be marked each week, and the overall mark will be calculated using marks from all practicals.

3. Examination

The University Examination period for First Half Year 2017 is from 12 June.

You are advised that it is Macquarie University policy not to set early examinations for individuals or groups of students. You are expected to ensure that you are available until the end of the teaching semester that is the final day of the official examination period.

The raw marks resulting from assessment of your work will be used as an initial indicator of the quality of your learning and understanding. Note that the mark ranges mentioned for different grades in the Macquarie University Undergraduate Handbook are not the raw marks. To obtain a grade you must satisfy the qualitative definition of that grade. Once your grade has been determined, you are allocated a mark in the appropriate range indicating your approximate position amongst students assigned that grade.

You are expected to present yourself for examination at the time and place designated in the University Examination Timetable. The timetable will be available in draft form approximately eight weeks before the commencement of the examinations and in final form approximately four weeks before the commencement of the examinations. http://www.timetables.mq.edu.au/exam

The only exception to not sitting an examination at the designated time is because of documented illness or unavoidable disruption. In these circumstances you may wish to consider applying for disruption to studies. Information about the disruption to studies process is available at

http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/exams/disruption_to_studies/

In particular, pay attention to the following information on the Disruption to Studies:

The disruption to studies policy applies only to serious and unavoidable disruptions that arise after a study period has commenced.

Serious and unavoidable disruption: The University classifies a disruption as serious and unavoidable if it:

  • could not have reasonably been anticipated, avoided or guarded against by the student; and
  • was beyond the student's control; and
  • caused substantial disruption to the student's capacity for effective study and/or completion of required work; and
  • occurred during an event critical study period and was at least three (3) consecutive days duration, and/or
  • prevented completion of a final examination.

 Students with a pre-existing disability/health condition or prolonged adverse circumstances may be eligible for ongoing assistance and support.  Such support is governed by other policies and may be sought and coordinated through Campus Wellbeing and Support Services.

Supplementary examination: If you are granted a supplementary exam via the Disruption to Studies process, you will have to write a supplementary exam in the supplementary exam period.  The supplementary exam may be in a different format to the original exam and you will be notified of this when you are granted a supplementary exam.  Only your supplementary exam mark will be counted towards your final exam mark.

If you apply for Disruption to Study for your final examination, you must make yourself available for the week of July 24 – 28, 2017.  If you are not available at that time, there is no guarantee an additional examination time will be offered. Specific examination dates and times will be determined at a later date.

Supplementary exams may be in a different format to the exam set in the normal examination period e.g. oral examination.

 

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Due
Practical work 20% Weekly
Assignment 1 15% 11 Apr 2017 (9 am)
Assignment 2 15% 30 May 2017 (9 am)
Final Examination 50% June (University Exam period)

Practical work

Due: Weekly
Weighting: 20%

Exercises based on Practical sessions


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Explain the role of research and scientific enquiry in health sciences
  • Compare relative merits of different levels of ‘evidence’
  • Explain the importance of evidence based health care
  • Critically appraise available information including published work related to health sciences
  • Explain ethics, confidentiality, conflict of interest and related issues in the context of research and clinical practice
  • Use spread sheets and Minitab for basic statistical analyses of data
  • Interpret basic epidemiological and statistical terms such as confidence intervals, effectiveness, efficacy, error, incidence, mean, median, mode, prevalence, probability, reproducibility, risk, sample size, sampling, SD, sensitivity, significance, specificity and validity
  • Demonstrate skills for self-directed learning and inquiry

Assignment 1

Due: 11 Apr 2017 (9 am)
Weighting: 15%

Assignment would include data analysis and interpretaion as well as critical appraisal of published articles.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Explain the role of research and scientific enquiry in health sciences
  • Compare relative merits of different levels of ‘evidence’
  • Explain the importance of evidence based health care
  • Critically appraise available information including published work related to health sciences
  • Explain ethics, confidentiality, conflict of interest and related issues in the context of research and clinical practice
  • Use spread sheets and Minitab for basic statistical analyses of data
  • Interpret basic epidemiological and statistical terms such as confidence intervals, effectiveness, efficacy, error, incidence, mean, median, mode, prevalence, probability, reproducibility, risk, sample size, sampling, SD, sensitivity, significance, specificity and validity
  • Demonstrate skills for self-directed learning and inquiry

Assignment 2

Due: 30 May 2017 (9 am)
Weighting: 15%

Assignment would include data analysis and interpretaion as well as critical appraisal of published articles.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Explain the role of research and scientific enquiry in health sciences
  • Compare relative merits of different levels of ‘evidence’
  • Explain the importance of evidence based health care
  • Critically appraise available information including published work related to health sciences
  • Explain ethics, confidentiality, conflict of interest and related issues in the context of research and clinical practice
  • Use spread sheets and Minitab for basic statistical analyses of data
  • Interpret basic epidemiological and statistical terms such as confidence intervals, effectiveness, efficacy, error, incidence, mean, median, mode, prevalence, probability, reproducibility, risk, sample size, sampling, SD, sensitivity, significance, specificity and validity
  • Demonstrate skills for self-directed learning and inquiry

Final Examination

Due: June (University Exam period)
Weighting: 50%

This will be a 2 hour written examination with questions (MCQ, true/false, filling in the blank and short answers) related to all lecture and practical material.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Explain the role of research and scientific enquiry in health sciences
  • Compare relative merits of different levels of ‘evidence’
  • Explain the importance of evidence based health care
  • Critically appraise available information including published work related to health sciences
  • Explain ethics, confidentiality, conflict of interest and related issues in the context of research and clinical practice
  • Interpret basic epidemiological and statistical terms such as confidence intervals, effectiveness, efficacy, error, incidence, mean, median, mode, prevalence, probability, reproducibility, risk, sample size, sampling, SD, sensitivity, significance, specificity and validity
  • Demonstrate skills for self-directed learning and inquiry

Delivery and Resources

Delivery mode

1. 2 hour lectures per week, weeks 1-13. iLectures are available for this unit.

2. Eleven x2 hour practicals per student, starting from week 2.

3. Four to five hours per week self-instructional learning, readings from the text and exercises on lecture topics

Class times and locations

Lecture times: 2 hrs each week starting from 1 March.

Wednesday 2-4 pm; E7BT5

Practicals : 2 hrs each week, starting week 2 of the semester (6 March). All prac classes will be in E4B306.

Monday 10 – 12 noon; Prac Class 1

Monday 12 –2 PM; Prac Class 4

Monday 2 – 4 PM; Prac Class 2

Monday 4 – 6 PM; Prac Class 3

You are advised to bring a USB memory stick for practical classes. Practical group allocations will be finalized in Week 1. Students allocated to one group cannot turn up for practicals meant for another group without prior approval from the Unit convenor.

Participation in practicals is compulsory. Attendance at lectures is strongly recommended.

Required and recommended resources

 Recommended texts

An introduction to medical statistics by Martin Bland (4th edition, 2015; earlier editions should be fine)

Statistics at square one / T.D.V. Swinscow and M.J. Campbell. 10th ed., London : BMJ Books, 2002 (In addition to library copy, this book is available on line via http://www.bmj.com/thebmj)

Hoffmann et al. Evidence-Based Practice Across the Health Professions. 2 Edn. ISBN: 9780729541350, Elsevier Australia.

Minichiello et al. Research Methods for nursing and health science. 2 Edn; ISBN: 9781740095969; Pearson Education Australia.

Further reading

Straus, S.E et al. 2005. Evidence Based Medicine; 4 Edn; Churchill Livingstone

Useful web-resources:

http:/www.mq.edu.au/library  (Macquarie University library site; list and links to many databases and Journals)

http://www.cochrane.org (Cochrane Collaboration, the most reliable source of evidence in health care)

http://www.pedro.org.au/ (Physiotherapy Evidence Database)

Unit web page

The URL of the HLTH306 iLearn site is:  https://ilearn.mq.edu.au/

You will be asked for a username and password.  Your username is your student MQID.  Your MQID and password have been mailed to you by the University.  If you have lost them go to the student portal:  http://students.mq.edu.au/home/

Unit Schedule

HLTH 306 List of topics by week

The topic titles are given as a guide only.

Week

Date (Lecture)

Lecture Topic*

Prac Class

1

1 Mar

Unit overview, Introduction to Evidence Based Practice, Study Design

 

No

2

8 Mar

Data, Summarising and Graphing Categorical Data

Yes

3

15 Mar

Graphing Continuous Data; populations and samples

Yes

4

22 Mar

Confidence Intervals

Yes

5

29 Mar

What is evidence; where and how to find evidence (Hierarchy of evidence; Health/Chiro databases)

Yes

6

5 Apr

Research Planning and Research Designs I

Yes

7

12 Apr

Research Designs II

Yes

Break

14 Apr - 28 Apr

 

No

8

3 May

Hypothesis Testing - one and two groups

Yes

9

10 May

Hypothesis Testing - regression

Yes

10

17 May

Hypothesis Testing - association

Yes

11

24 May

Research in Clinical Practice (outcome measures)

Yes

12

31 May

Ethics, Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality in Health Research

Yes

13

7 Jun

Revision

No

* Dr Subra Vemulpad: Weeks 1, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12 and 13

Dr Ken Beath: Weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10 and 13

Participation in practicals is compulsory. Attendance at lectures is strongly recommended.

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html The Disruption to Studies Policy is effective from March 3 2014 and replaces the Special Consideration Policy.

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Explain the role of research and scientific enquiry in health sciences
  • Compare relative merits of different levels of ‘evidence’
  • Explain the importance of evidence based health care
  • Critically appraise available information including published work related to health sciences
  • Explain ethics, confidentiality, conflict of interest and related issues in the context of research and clinical practice
  • Use spread sheets and Minitab for basic statistical analyses of data
  • Interpret basic epidemiological and statistical terms such as confidence intervals, effectiveness, efficacy, error, incidence, mean, median, mode, prevalence, probability, reproducibility, risk, sample size, sampling, SD, sensitivity, significance, specificity and validity

Assessment tasks

  • Practical work
  • Assignment 1
  • Assignment 2
  • Final Examination

Problem Solving and Research Capability

Our graduates should be capable of researching; of analysing, and interpreting and assessing data and information in various forms; of drawing connections across fields of knowledge; and they should be able to relate their knowledge to complex situations at work or in the world, in order to diagnose and solve problems. We want them to have the confidence to take the initiative in doing so, within an awareness of their own limitations.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Explain the role of research and scientific enquiry in health sciences
  • Compare relative merits of different levels of ‘evidence’
  • Explain the importance of evidence based health care
  • Critically appraise available information including published work related to health sciences
  • Use spread sheets and Minitab for basic statistical analyses of data
  • Interpret basic epidemiological and statistical terms such as confidence intervals, effectiveness, efficacy, error, incidence, mean, median, mode, prevalence, probability, reproducibility, risk, sample size, sampling, SD, sensitivity, significance, specificity and validity

Assessment tasks

  • Practical work
  • Assignment 1
  • Assignment 2
  • Final Examination

Creative and Innovative

Our graduates will also be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. They will be imaginative and open to experience and capable of innovation at work and in the community. We want them to be engaged in applying their critical, creative thinking.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Explain the importance of evidence based health care

Assessment tasks

  • Practical work
  • Assignment 1
  • Assignment 2
  • Final Examination

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Compare relative merits of different levels of ‘evidence’
  • Explain the importance of evidence based health care
  • Critically appraise available information including published work related to health sciences
  • Explain ethics, confidentiality, conflict of interest and related issues in the context of research and clinical practice
  • Use spread sheets and Minitab for basic statistical analyses of data
  • Demonstrate skills for self-directed learning and inquiry

Assessment tasks

  • Practical work
  • Assignment 1
  • Assignment 2
  • Final Examination

Engaged and Ethical Local and Global citizens

As local citizens our graduates will be aware of indigenous perspectives and of the nation's historical context. They will be engaged with the challenges of contemporary society and with knowledge and ideas. We want our graduates to have respect for diversity, to be open-minded, sensitive to others and inclusive, and to be open to other cultures and perspectives: they should have a level of cultural literacy. Our graduates should be aware of disadvantage and social justice, and be willing to participate to help create a wiser and better society.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Explain the role of research and scientific enquiry in health sciences
  • Explain the importance of evidence based health care
  • Critically appraise available information including published work related to health sciences
  • Explain ethics, confidentiality, conflict of interest and related issues in the context of research and clinical practice
  • Demonstrate skills for self-directed learning and inquiry

Assessment tasks

  • Practical work
  • Assignment 1
  • Assignment 2
  • Final Examination

Capable of Professional and Personal Judgement and Initiative

We want our graduates to have emotional intelligence and sound interpersonal skills and to demonstrate discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgement. They will exercise initiative as needed. They will be capable of risk assessment, and be able to handle ambiguity and complexity, enabling them to be adaptable in diverse and changing environments.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Explain the role of research and scientific enquiry in health sciences
  • Compare relative merits of different levels of ‘evidence’
  • Explain the importance of evidence based health care
  • Critically appraise available information including published work related to health sciences
  • Explain ethics, confidentiality, conflict of interest and related issues in the context of research and clinical practice
  • Use spread sheets and Minitab for basic statistical analyses of data
  • Interpret basic epidemiological and statistical terms such as confidence intervals, effectiveness, efficacy, error, incidence, mean, median, mode, prevalence, probability, reproducibility, risk, sample size, sampling, SD, sensitivity, significance, specificity and validity
  • Demonstrate skills for self-directed learning and inquiry

Assessment tasks

  • Practical work
  • Assignment 1
  • Assignment 2
  • Final Examination

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Our graduates will have enquiring minds and a literate curiosity which will lead them to pursue knowledge for its own sake. They will continue to pursue learning in their careers and as they participate in the world. They will be capable of reflecting on their experiences and relationships with others and the environment, learning from them, and growing - personally, professionally and socially.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Explain the role of research and scientific enquiry in health sciences
  • Explain the importance of evidence based health care
  • Use spread sheets and Minitab for basic statistical analyses of data
  • Interpret basic epidemiological and statistical terms such as confidence intervals, effectiveness, efficacy, error, incidence, mean, median, mode, prevalence, probability, reproducibility, risk, sample size, sampling, SD, sensitivity, significance, specificity and validity
  • Demonstrate skills for self-directed learning and inquiry

Assessment tasks

  • Practical work
  • Assignment 1
  • Assignment 2
  • Final Examination

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Explain the role of research and scientific enquiry in health sciences
  • Compare relative merits of different levels of ‘evidence’
  • Explain the importance of evidence based health care
  • Critically appraise available information including published work related to health sciences
  • Explain ethics, confidentiality, conflict of interest and related issues in the context of research and clinical practice
  • Use spread sheets and Minitab for basic statistical analyses of data
  • Interpret basic epidemiological and statistical terms such as confidence intervals, effectiveness, efficacy, error, incidence, mean, median, mode, prevalence, probability, reproducibility, risk, sample size, sampling, SD, sensitivity, significance, specificity and validity
  • Demonstrate skills for self-directed learning and inquiry

Assessment tasks

  • Practical work
  • Assignment 1
  • Assignment 2
  • Final Examination

Socially and Environmentally Active and Responsible

We want our graduates to be aware of and have respect for self and others; to be able to work with others as a leader and a team player; to have a sense of connectedness with others and country; and to have a sense of mutual obligation. Our graduates should be informed and active participants in moving society towards sustainability.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Explain the importance of evidence based health care
  • Critically appraise available information including published work related to health sciences
  • Explain ethics, confidentiality, conflict of interest and related issues in the context of research and clinical practice
  • Demonstrate skills for self-directed learning and inquiry

Assessment tasks

  • Practical work
  • Assignment 1
  • Assignment 2
  • Final Examination

Changes from Previous Offering

1) Exam was a hurdle until 2016. Now it is not a hurdle. 2) For final examination, students were allowed to take 1 A4 written notes. This will be discontinued. 

Changes since First Published

Date Description
14/02/2017 Under the unit schedule, "Attendance: Attendance for practicals is compulsory. Attendance at lectures is strongly recommended." has been changed to "Participation in practicals is compulsory. Attendance at lectures is strongly recommended."