Queen's University
BMED 270 Fundamentals of Research Methodology

BMED 270, Fundamentals of Research Methodology, will introduce fundamentals of health-related research methods with a focus on developing critical reasoning skills. Using examples from a wide range of health-related research topics, students will gain familiarity and skills to assess primary literature at a basic level. Throughout the course students will assess various aspects of both qualitative and quantitative research such as origins of research questions, development of study rationales, sampling and participant recruitment, data quality, strengths and limitations of various study designs, internal and external validity, ethics for research involving human subjects, and introduction to knowledge translation.

Minimum 2nd year (Level 2) standing and one of STAT 263/3.0; BIOL 243/3.0; CHEE 209/3.0; ECON 250/3.0; GPHY 247/3.0; KNPE 251/3.0; NURS 323/3.0; POLS 385/3.0; PSYC 202/3.0; SOCY 211/3.0; STAT 267/3.0; STAT 367/3.0; COMM 162/3.0 or permission of the instructor.

NOTE: Proof of completion of CORE (Course on Research Ethics) must be provided the first week of class. 

No more than 3.0 units from BMED270; SOCY210; GPHY240
No more than 3.0 units from BMED270; HLTH252
No more than 3.0 units from BMED270; PSYC203
No more 3.0 units from BMED 270; EPID 301; HLTH 323

After completing BMED 270, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss the origins of research questions in human health and disease, and best practices for articulating such questions in the health sciences.
  2. Develop compelling, evidence-based rationales for research studies based upon existing evidence and communicate logical and creative arguments in support of research ideas and associated study designs.
  3. Recognize study approaches and designs by their key features (quantitative, qualitative, mixed method).
  4. Evaluate experimental concepts, design, and basic analysis in order complete a critical appraisal of a clinical trial.
  5. Apply basic concepts surrounding the design, conduct, and interpretation of observational studies that are commonly used in the field of epidemiology by conducting a critical appraisal of an observational study.
  6. Understand and apply key concepts and practices of qualitative health research by conducting a critical appraisal of a qualitative study.
  1. Communicator
  2. Advocate
  3. Leader
  4. Scholar
  5. Professional
  6. Collaborator

All assessments will be graded using marking rubrics.

Assessment 1 – Online Quizzes

Students will be tested on research questions and rationale development, study paradigms (quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research), common study designs, and key concepts for evaluating research. These online quizzes will be completed in the first 4 weeks of term. They will be composed of multiple choice, short answer and long-answer questions.

Assessment 2 – Clinical Trial Critical Appraisal (individual) & Group Presentation

Part 1: Individually, students will be required to provide a written comprehensive analysis of their selected study based on detailed prompts provided by the instructor. The TA or instructor will provide feedback to each individual.

Part 2: Students will then be allocated into groups of 3–4 where they will collaborate and compare answers. They will use their written report and feedback from the TA/instructor to prepare a group presentation.

This assessment will serve to evaluate the students’ ability to assess each component of the research process and to develop their collaboration and scholarship competencies.

Assessment 3 – Critical Appraisal of an Observational Epidemiology Study (individual) & Group Presentation

Each student will complete a structured critical appraisal of a provided observational epidemiology study  based on module-provided guidelines and course material. This will serve to evaluate the students’ understanding of clinical trial concepts. This assessment will be submitted as a two-page report.

Assessment 4 – Qualitative Study Critical Appraisal

Each student will complete a structured critical appraisal of a provided qualitative study that will be submitted as a two-page report. This will serve to evaluate student’s understandings of key qualitative research concepts.

Assessment 5 – Discussion Board Posts and Short Answer Assessments

Each module will have a discussion board post and/or a short answer assessment where students must apply and expand the knowledge learned in the module to either a real-life scenario or research topics.

Assessment 6 – Final Proctored Exam

A final cumulative exam will include well-designed multiple choice and short answer questions, with an emphasis on problem solving, that will test the students’ overall understanding and application of the course material, rather than rote memorization.

Tutorials will correspond with the completion of each major topic covered in the course. In each tutorial, the TA or instructor will summarize major concepts covered and will facilitate a question and answer period with participating students.

9–10 hours a week in study (108–120 per term).

Required Texts

BMED 270 course notes via modules posted online and select readings made available by the instructor.