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Understanding Research: An Overview for Health Professionals

University of California, San Francisco via Coursera

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Overview

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This course looks at the various aspects of research as it pertains to health.

The course objectives are as follows:
  1. Summarize the format of research articles and the research methods included in each section of an article.
  2. Analyze and critique research questions, study design, methods including sample selection, bias, data collection procedures, measures, and analysis plan, results, discussion and interpretation of findings.
  3. Compare and contrast different quantitative study designs.
  4. Analyze the validity and reliability of measures.
  5. Understand the ethical and cultural issues related to research methods.





Syllabus

Week One: Sections of a Research Article, Abstracts, and the Introduction of a Paper (Literature Review, Significance of Problem, Research Questions, and Operational Definitions)
  • Identify the 4 sections of scientific research articles
  • Determine the purpose of the abstract
  • Identify the 2 key components of the introduction section of an article
  • Identify 3 elements of a research question
  • Understand why operational definitions are important

Week Two: Methods Section — Study Designs
  • Answer 5 questions to identify study designs
  • Understand the relation between types of study designs and the time frame of the study
  • Identify the data collection procedures by the study design
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of cohort, cross-sectional, and case-control study designs

Week Three: Methods Section — Sample Selection, Setting, Measurement (Instruments, Validity, and Reliability)

  • Differentiate a sample from a population
  • Identify the strengths of probability versus non-probability sampling
  • Determine inclusion versus exclusion criteria when developing a plan for sample selection
  • Identify different types of instruments included in research studies
  • Explain how instruments are determined to be valid and reliable
  • Identify types of internal validity and reliability
  • Identify data collection procedures

Week Four: Methods Section —Bias, Types of Variables and Rates (Incidence and Prevalence)

  • Identify types of bias related to all study designs
  • Identify types of bias specific to experimental studies
  • Determine the difference between parametric and nonparametric statistics
  • Differentiate categorical and continuous variables
  • Identify the difference between incidence and prevalence rates
Week Five: Ethical Issues, Human Subjects Committee / Institutional Review Boards, and the Discussion of a Paper (Clinical Implications, Limitations, and Future Studies)
  • Understand the history of research ethics
  • Determine the ethical lessons learned from the Tuskegee Study in the United States (U.S.)
  • Identify studies conducted in the U.S. that raised new ethical issues
  • Identify key components of the discussion section of a research article

Week Six: Final Exam

Taught by

Abbey Alkon

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