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Unit of study_

FMHU2000: Introduction to research methods in health

Semester 2, 2022 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

The unit of study introduces students to key research paradigms in health, and to the major approaches to designing and evaluating research in health. Students will be introduced to key concepts of qualitative and quantitative methodology including research ethics, research design and research methods

Unit details and rules

Unit code FMHU2000
Academic unit Health Sciences
Credit points 6
BACH2140 or HSBH1007 or HSBH2007
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Lee-Fay Low,
Lecturer(s) Lee-Fay Low,
Tutor(s) Lisa Vaccaro,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Participation Tutorial participation
Completion of data collection (interview and surveys) and other activities
10% Multiple weeks Weekly 1 hour tutorials
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO4 LO3
Presentation group assignment Results and discussion presentation
Presentation in pairs of qualitative or quantitative results and discussion
25% Multiple weeks 6 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3
Assignment Literature review
Pragmatic literature review
25% Week 04
Due date: 18 Mar 2022 at 23:59
750 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment Research proposal
Written research proposal
40% Week 13
Due date: 27 May 2022 at 23:59
1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO4
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

  • Tutorial participation: Attend and actively participate in scheduled tutorials
  • Pragmatic literature review: Identify a real world health related question and conduct a literature search to identify published papers and other reserach relevant to the question. Write a pragmatic 750 word narrative literature review drawing on the highest quality relevant research to answer the question. Reflect on the quality of evidence in drawing conclusions.
  • Presentation of qualitative of quantitative results and discussion: In pairs, in 6 minutes present the basic data analysis results and discuss findings of data collected in tutorials. Talk about limitations and recommendations from the findings. 
  • Research proposal: Design a research project related to human health suitable for an honours student (i.e. can be conducted within 1 year, and require minimal resources beyond what is available at the University and within your network). Your 1500 written research proposal will include aim, design, data collection and data analysis sections, and discussion of the strengths and limitations of the research design. It may also include sections on ethics, recruitment, sample, instruments, and statistical power if relevant.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name Mark range Description
High distinction 85-100  
Distinction 75-84  
Credit 65-74  
Pass 50-64  
Fail 0-49 When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Written work submitted electronically after 11.59 pm on the due date will be considered to have been submitted late. For every calendar day up to and including ten calendar days after the due date, a penalty of 5% of the maximum awardable marks will be applied to late work. For work submitted more than ten calendar days after the due date a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Who, what, why of research Writing a research question Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO4
Interviewing skills Tutorial (1 hr) LO3
Week 02 Anatomy of a research paper, Literature reviews, Searching academic databases, Observational studies, Assignment 1 overview Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Cross-sectional survey design Tutorial (1 hr) LO3
Week 03 Qualitative research designs Research bias and research quality Following results sections Online class (2 hr) LO2
Qualitative analysis - coding Tutorial (1 hr) LO3
Week 04 Experimental research designs Drawing conclusions from the literature Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Qualitative analysis - identifying themes Tutorial (1 hr) LO3
Week 05 Descriptive statistics, Inferential statistics, statistical testing Online class (2 hr) LO3
Quantitative data - data cleaning Tutorial (1 hr) LO3
Week 06 Mixed methods research, Results sections, Assignment 3 overview Online class (2 hr) LO2 LO3
Quantitative data - basic statistical testing Tutorial (1 hr) LO3
Week 07 Discussion and conclusions, Interpreting statistical results Independent study (2 hr) LO3
Interpreting findings, drawing conclusions Tutorial (1 hr) LO3
Week 08 Choosing your research design, Sampling and recruitment, Selecting survey instruments, Writing qualitative questions Online class (2 hr) LO4
Designing a research study Tutorial (1 hr) LO3
Week 10 Writing interview questions, Planning analysis – considerations of power, Structure of a research proposal Online class (2 hr) LO4
Assignment 2 presentations Tutorial (1 hr) LO3
Assignment 2 presentations (contd) Writing a research proposal Tutorial (1 hr) LO3 LO4
Week 11 Ethics of research, Collaborative research Online class (2 hr) LO2 LO4
Week 12 Research dissemination, Co-design of research Online class (2 hr) LO2 LO4
Peer feedback on research proposals Tutorial (1 hr) LO4
Week 13 Review Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Individual consultations on proposals Tutorial (1 hr) LO4

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Saks, M. & Allsop, J. (2013). Researching health: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods (2nd ed.). London: Sage.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Locate, critically read, and draw appropriate conclusions in relation to health-related questions from academic and grey literature
  • LO2. Describe the objectives, key methods and strengths and weaknesses of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research
  • LO3. Undertake basic qualitative or quantitative data collection, analysis and interpretation
  • LO4. Design a research proposal to address a question in human health

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Based on student feedback in S1 around attendance of in-person lectures, the needs of offshore students to complete this unit necessitating a remote option, and risk-mitigating around COVID-19 and the flu, face-to-face workshops have been replaced with recorded lectures and online learning activities.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.