4 day short course


20-21 April and 18-19 May 2020


Delivered at the University of Plymouth with Professor Mary Hickson


£620 including free textbook - Research Handbook for Health Professionals by Professor M Hickson

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Mary Hickson
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About the course 

This short course is aimed at clinicians - AHP, nurses, doctors and dentists - who would like to take that first step towards doing some research.

Practical exercises using the University’s computer labs, supervised by professors with long track records of developing practice-based research, this course will give you the tools you need to begin developing and carrying out research in your clinical area.

Research is a core principle of the NHS. Research activity improves patient care yet is complex to carry out and requires a wide range of skills. This course is designed to introduce some of the core skills required to carry out research successfully.

This is a short course and it is not designed to cover everything. It is no replacement for a Masters level degree, but provides an excellent grounding prior to undertaking such a course. It is also suitable for clinicians who want to improve their understanding of research. Some of the critical underpinning skills required for performing high quality research have been selected to get you started.

Other knowledge, such as research methodology, is not covered in any detail, primarily because this can be learnt from text books and requires less guidance from a tutor. Equally issues such as recruitment, data collection, management and analysis are all better tackled when you are ready to undertake them. These issues are included in the text book provided with this course: Research Handbook for Healthcare Professionals.

The course is offered in two 2 day modules. The gap between the modules is intended to allow you time to use and develop the skills taught during days one and two, and to spend time developing a research question and start to formulate a proposal.


The course aims to enable participants to:

Module 1

  • Search the literature comprehensively, in order to research the published literature prior to developing research or audit projects. Also to enable participants to find appropriate papers for journal club review.
  • Understand the commonly used terms and statistical techniques, and to interpret statistics used in quantitative research.
  • Critically evaluate research papers so they can assess the value of the available evidence, and ensure it is incorporated into practice.
  • Understand the processes required to set up a research project in clinical practice and appreciate why governance is required and what ethics committees look for in applications.
  • Describe the stages involved in developing and completing a research project successfully, and describe the purpose and content of a research protocol/proposal.
  • Understand the value of involving the patients and public in the research process.

Module 2

  • Apply an evidence-based approach to the selection of outcome measures which are psychometrically robust and clinically practical. 
  • Begin to understand qualitative research designs and methods of analysis.
  • Describe the stages involved in preparing a grant application and appreciate some of the challenges faced.
  • Understand the relevance of assessing the impact of research.
  • Identify strategies to disseminate research results and findings, and to prepare successful conference presentations and papers for submission to peer review journals.

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You can contact the Professional Development Unit with any queries

Prospective student enquiries:
Current student enquiries:
Professional Development Unit, Level 4 Rolle Building, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA, United Kingdom.
Monday – Thursday 8:30–17:00 and Friday 8:30–16:30.