Health Research Methodology

Course content

The course introduces the principal concepts and methodological approaches used in global health research; with a focus on quantitative and qualitative research methods, as well as methods for completion of systematic reviews. The aim is to develop the ability of the student to critically discuss, select, and apply the appropriate method(s) for addressing specific research questions in global health, while at the same time respecting international and national regulations and declarations on research in relation to health.

Teaching in quantitative methods will build on the student’s pre-requisite knowledge of the basic principles of statistics. The course will cover methods for primary (field-based) and secondary data collection - including definition of variables; target populations; sampling; sample size calculation; and questionnaire design. Central issues on data management, analyses and validation using statistical software (e.g. SPSS) are also covered during the course.

Teaching in qualitative methods will build on the student’s existing knowledge of the basic concepts of anthropological and sociological research. The course covers the principal methods for primary data collection including focus group discussions; key informant interviews; participant observation and oral history. Central issues on data management and qualitative content analysis are also covered.

The course will provide an introduction to the mixed methods approach in terms of the rationale for use, common procedures, and limitations.

The basic methodological approach to systematic reviews of health interventions is introduced, including search strategies for secondary data; pre-determined inclusion criteria for eligibility and quality of identified data; specification of outcomes and indicators; as well as narrative and statistical data analysis (including meta-analysis).

In addition, the course covers the basic principles and statutes on research ethics addressing the considerations and challenges of ensuring good research practice at each of the main stages of the research process. 


MSc Programme in Global Health - compulsory

Learning outcome


On completion of the course, the students should be able to:

  • Identify relevant research problems in global health
  • Demonstrate knowledge of general concepts, ethical considerations and methods used when addressing research problems



On completion of the course, the students should be able to:

  • Design a feasible and ethical research study in global health
  • Determine  research questions, study objectives and select appropriate research method(s)
  • Plan, collect, manage and analyse qualitative and quantitative health related research data and materials
  • Ensure respect for and protection of human research subjects
  • Address study limitations and interpret and communicate research findings



On completion of the course, the students should be able to:

  • Critically evaluate, validate and discuss existing scientific literature and data
  • Differentiate between various research study designs and methods
  • Carry out and coordinate scientifically valid research
  • Increase knowledge in a particular problem area or issue of global health

The teaching methods will include a combination of formal lectures, class and group exercises, online quizzes as well as problem-based learning, using research-based case studies.

Primarily research papers provided during the course

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
The length of the written take-home assignment must be 7-10 pages (2400 words/page), excl. Cover page, table of contents, list of references and appendices.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

To achieve the maximum grade of 12, the student must be able to:


Identify and describe relevant research problems based on a critical evaluation of available scientific literature and data within the field of global health. This includes the evaluation of systematic reviews with an emphasis on health interventions of global health relevance.


Formulate specific research questions and objectives to be addressed within the framework of a mixed methods research project

Determine appropriate study designs and critically discuss relevant quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis methods that align with these designs.


Apply knowledge of general concepts for ensuring good academic and research practice including the key concept in research ethics.

Synthesise all of the above into a coherent research proposal adhering to the conventional structures of research literature.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 62
  • Exercises
  • 18
  • Seminar
  • 12
  • Preparation
  • 58
  • Exam
  • 56
  • English
  • 206