Clinical Research Part 2: Developing a Research Proposal HEA4066


Covid-19 - Course Impact Statement

This module will introduce students to the research process including philosophical fundamentals of both quantitative and qualitative traditions and a range of research methodologies. The module will guide students through the crucial stages of developing a research proposal. From conceptualisation of the research question, choosing the most appropriate design, planning methods, addressing ethical issues, identifying data management and data analysis strategies, and planning dissemination, the module will aim to introduce the novice researcher to various clinical research approaches and the necessary considerations to enable a rigorous plan of enquiry.

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

Module Code: HEA4066
Level: 7
Credits: 30
Cost: £1125 for Sept 2020 to July 2021

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?

• To acquire the skills to search, retrieve and systematically appraise published research.
• Identify and critically discuss appropriate research study design.
• Conceptualise and plan a small-scale research project.
• Critically appraise the ethical issues raised by the conduct of research.

How Will I Study?

This module normally requires attendance on 8 half day sessions. The module overall takes 21 weeks.

What will I study?

• The rationale of methodological approaches;
• Strategies for searching and identifying literature;
• Critical appraisal of applied research methods;
• Generating a hypothesis/research question;
• Influencing factors in the design of clinical research studies;
• Utilising supporting evidence effectively;
• The validity and reliability of outcome measures;
• Quantitative data management;
• Approaches to statistical analysis;
• Qualitative data management and analysis;
• Ensuring rigour in qualitative data collection and analysis;
• Identifying ethical issues and planning effective strategies to address these;
• Ethical procedures processes and research governance;
• Systematic reviews and meta-synthesis as primary research;
• Principles of good clinical practice;
• Strategies for dissemination.

How will I be assessed?

5,000 word developed research proposal

On successful completion you will:

On successful completion you will be able to:

1. Search, retrieve and systematically appraise published research in their specific discipline, area of expertise or professional practice and utilise this to underpin a chosen design for study.

2. Critically justify the adoption of a research methodological approach and consider its appropriateness in relation a research question.

3. Identify and critically discuss appropriate research study design.

4. Critically discuss approaches to, and justification for, the use of research methods in relation to a proposed research study including the use of a selected data analysis approach and its appropriateness when analysing specified data.

5. Conceptualise and plan a small-scale research project, justifying their proposals in order to demonstrate their awareness of both theoretical and relevant practical issues.

6. Critically appraise the ethical issues raised by the conduct of research and demonstrate the ability to highlight and address any specific issues within their proposed study; outlining ethical process that will need to be navigating in the course of the planning phase.

Study Dates and Venues

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.

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

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

HEA 4066 S1

For further module information, please contact Module Coordinator Kate Knighting on 01695 657170 or email

HEA 4066 S2

For further module information, please contact Module Coordinator Phil Welsby on 01695 657169 or email

Or you can contact the Medical School email on


This module can be studied on a standalone basis.

It is also an optional module on the following programmes:

  • MSc Advanced Clinical Practice
  • MSc Advanced Fertility Practice
  • MSc Leadership Development (Clinical Leadership/Leadership and Management)
  • MSc Professional Clinical Practice