Clinical Research Part 1: Critical Appraisal of Published Research HEA4065


This module will introduce students to the research process through the recognition of the fundamental stages of research design. Based on the principles of ‘Good Clinical Practice’, the student will focus on appraisal of the research question, design, methods, ethical issues, and data management and analysis strategies.

In addition, students will be introduced to principles of critical appraisal and modes of critical analysis in order that knowledge, regarding research design, can be applied to develop appropriate critical appraisal skills. The module is intended to develop skills and competence in critical appraisal of evidence for busy clinicians, in order that they may apply principles of evidence based medicine and practice.

For information on the impact of Covid19 on our teaching, please see our Covid19 Teaching Update page.

Module Code: HEA4065
Level: 7
Credits: 30
Cost: £1125 for Sept 2021 to July 2022

Who is this module for?

Healthcare professionals wishing to access as a stand alone module or as part of a masters programme.

What are the key aims of the programme?

  • Acquire the skills to search, retrieve published research.
  • Critically appraise published research in a systematic rigorous manner, including critique of research study design, ethical issues, approaches to data analysis and utility of findings.
  • To identify concepts such as validity and reliability in relation to outcome measures.

How Will I Study?

This module normally requires attendance at 8 half day sessions. The module overall takes 20 weeks.

What will I study?

  • Philosophical underpinnings of research design;
  • The validity of methodological approaches;
  • Identification and critique of levels of clinical evidence;
  • Design of clinical research studies;
  • Quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods design;
  • The generation and validation of outcome measures;
  • Appropriateness of data analysis in published papers;
  • Ethical issues in professional literature;
  • Strategies for searching and identifying literature;
  • Modes of critical analysis;
  • Critical appraisal skills;
  • Critical appraisal tools;
  • Integration of diverse methods for review;
  • Processes regarding assuring the reliability of outcome measures;
  • Principles of ‘Good Clinical Practice’ (EU directive 2001/20/EC);
  • Dissemination of information: verbal & visual.

How will I be assessed?

Part 1: 30 minute presentation (20 minute presentation and 10 minutes questioning) outlining the critical appraisal of one published key empirical study pertaining to an area of clinical interest negotiated with the module leader. This should include an account of the quality appraisal techniques adopted, critical analysis, reporting of any identified issues regarding validity, reliability, biases and synthesis of findings in the context of published evidence. Recommendations for implications for practice and/or further research should be made. (50% weighting)

Part 2: 2,000 word supporting paper outlining the process above including the main findings and recommendations for research/practice. (50% weighting)

On successful completion you will:

On successful completion you will be able to:

  • Critically appraise the design and conduct of selected published research evidence to their own discipline, area of expertise or practice setting.
  • Critically discuss the ethical issues raised by the conduct of research within their specific discipline, area of expertise or professional practice.
  • Critically appraise the utilisation of specific outcome measures as related to selected research within their own field, with emphasis on concepts including validity and reliability.
  • Critically appraise the appropriateness of approaches to data analysis in relation to research within their specific discipline, area of expertise or professional practice.

Study Dates and Venues

December 2021 S1A

Venue: Ormskirk Campus

Starts: Sat 11th Dec 2021

Session Times:
  • Session 1: Saturday 11th December 2021, 9am-6pm, Ormskirk Attendance
  • Session 2: Saturday 22nd January 2022 , 9am-6pm, Ormskirk Attendance
  • Session 3: Saturday 19th February 2022, 9am-6pm, Ormskirk Attendance
  • Session 4: Saturday 12th March 2022, 9am-6pm, Ormskirk Attendance
  • Session 5: Saturday 2nd April 2022, 9am-6pm, Ormskirk Attendance
  • Presentation deadline: Friday 1st April 2022, 4pm
  • Assignment deadline: Monday 25th April 2022, 4pm

Study dates and times are subject to change.

Further Information

Module availability varies from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Due to the popularity of some modules it may be that the module is fully booked when your application is received. We will include your details on a waiting list and allocate you a place on the next available intake.

We encourage you to apply as early as possible to give you the best chance to obtain a place on your preferred cohort, module applications will close as soon as the module is full. Applications received within two weeks of the start date may have to be considered for a later cohort.

For details of how to apply, please visit the apply page.

If you have any other queries about studying with us, please see the FAQ page.

HEA 4065 S1A

For further module information, please contact the Module Coordinator Philip Welsby on 01695 657067 or email [email protected]

HEA 4065 S1

For further module information, please contact Module Coordinator Nicola Relph on 01695 657056 or email [email protected]

Or you can contact the Medical School email on [email protected].


This module can be studied on a standalone basis.

It is also a module on:

  • MMed Medicine
  • MCh Surgery
  • MHealth Res Master of Health Research