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NU7013 Theory and Practice of Enquiry Methods for Healthcare (10 ECTS)

Learning Outcomes

Following completion of this module the student should be able to:


Distinguish the philosophical underpinnings and theoretical frameworks/perspectives of healthcare enquiry and analyse how these influence the subsequent conduct of research and enquiry


Critically review, analyse and synthesise the literature, including interpretation of findings


Formulate appropriate research/review questions or hypotheses from a defined healthcare problem


Explore a variety of enquiry methodologies so as to address stated questions


Outline the actions that are essential in the conduct of ethical enquiries 

Methods of Teaching and Student Learning

Lecture/group discussion, Student-led discussion, e-learning

Module Learning Aims & Rationale

Masters graduates should create and promote a climate of enquiry and critical thinking and emphasise the importance of best evidence in their area of practice. In this module students are given the opportunity to consolidate their previous knowledge and appreciation of research and enquiry. Various methodologies and methods in professional practice are presented with the purpose of enabling students to conduct a relevant enquiry into their area of practice.

Module Content

  • Formulating a research/ review topic and question.
  • Literature Review & Literature Searching Critical Analysis, Synthesis & Writing a review.
  • The role of theory and knowledge (epistemology) in research and enquiry.
  • Principles of determining quality in research.
  • Overview of Qualitative, Quantitative & Mixed Methods Research
  • Conducing a Systematic Review.
  • Conducting Survey Research
  • Conducting a Qualitative Descriptive study
  • Conducting an Action Research/Innovation in Practice study
  • Conducting Evaluation/Audit Research.
  • Ethical principles in healthcare research

Recommended Reading List

Indicative Resources - more detailed lists will be provided by module lecturers.

  • Arthur J., Waring M., Coe R. Hedges L. (2012) Research Methods and Methodologies in Education. Sage, Los Angeles Bettany-Saltikov, J. (2012).  How to do a Systematic Literature Review in Nursing. A step-by-step guide. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
  • Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) (2009) Systematic Reviews CRD’s guidance for undertaking reviews in health care. CRD University of York, York.
  • Cluett E.R., Bluff R. eds (2006) Principles and practice of Research in Midwifery. 2nd edn. Churchill Livingston, Edinburgh.
  • Coghlan D., Brannick T. (2010) Doing Action Research in your own Organization. 3rd edn. Sage, London.
  • Coughlan M., Cronin P., Ryan F. (2013) Doing a literature review in nursing, health and social care. Sage, London.
  • Creswell J.W. (2009) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches. 3rd edn. Sage, Los Angeles.
  • Cronin P., Coughlan M., Smith V. (2015) Understanding Nursing & Healthcare Research. Sage, London.
  • Gerrish K., Lacey A. (2010) The Research Process in Nursing. 6th edn. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester.
  • Higgins J.P.T., Green S. (2008) Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. Wiley Blackwell, Chichester.
  • Newell R., Burnard P. (2011) Research for Evidence-Based Practice in Healthcare. 2nd edn. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester.
  • Polit D.F., Beck C.T. (2014) Essentials of Nursing Research – Appraising evidence for Nursing Practice. 8th edn. Wolters Kluwer, Philadelphia.
  • Reason P., Bradbury, H. (2008). Handbook of Action Research: Participative inquiry and practice 2nd edn. Sage, London.
  • Robson, C. (2011) Real world research. 3rd edn. Blackwell, Oxford.