Welcome to this second semester Public Health Research Module. I will have met some of you and had contact with all of you through having co-convened and taught on the Population and Development II module with Nikki Schaay in your first semester. It is good to reconnect with you all again.
This module was designed to meet the need for an applied course in the design of focused research, which could address the questions, which arise within the broad field of Public Health practice and research. It is also the first steps in your being able to begin the path to preparing a research proposal in year two of your MPH studies and then conducting your research and writing up your MPH mini-thesis.
It is hoped that by the end of the module, you may have identified a topic of interest, begun to explore literature related to it, and explored your research options with regard to qualitative and quantitative research problems. You should be ready to take the first steps in: reviewing literature on a research topic; formulating a research problem and study rationale; developing an aim and objectives; identifying a research design; and considering research ethics issues. In the research methods modules offered next year you will either choose the Qualitative or Quantitative Research Methods module. You will then start developing this proposal further, by paying attention to the specific research methods, techniques in data collection, sampling and analysis. So don’t stress that this is all the preparation you will have – it is the first step. If you don’t have a research topic by the end of this module that you are sure about, there is still time to think and discuss this while you are doing your second year modules in Qualitative or Quantitative Research Methods and your elective modules.
The module consists of Four Units, containing study sessions, which will provide an overview of the research process and take you through the process of beginning to develop a research proposal. You will be referred back to parts of the module you did on Measuring Health and Disease II (MHDII) on quantitative research. There will be a greater concentration on qualitative and mixed methods research in this module because you have already received some grounding in quantitative research through MHDII.
The introductory pages below provide you with an overview of the
Module, its outcomes, as well as the sources that will support and assist you. Take the time to look through this section before you begin studying. Your assignment questions appear below and are also are uploaded separately
under as Assignment questions under Assignments on the Ikamva site for this module. It is important to answer the sub-questions asked of you. These assignments will specifically focus on building your research capacity.
The module is accompanied by readings (core and optional extra) that have been loaded under Course resources on the iKamva site. These and other texts are designed for self-study. This enables you to work through the material at your own pace. Flexible learning allows you to explore the material in whatever depth you prefer, and to skip over parts with which you are already familiar. The module involves a variety of different kinds of learning activities, including reading, reflection and application.
The SOPH Programme Handbook provides you with contact information on administrative issues and module choices for the MPH. It also contains the general information you need for your assignment tasks and how they will be assessed. We have uploaded some tips on reading, writing and assignment writing under a sub-folder under Course resource. Please contact me, as the module convenor, for questions you may have related to the academic content of the module.
Remember also to consult the SOPH Academic Handbook that is uploaded onto iKamva for all MPH students. This provides additional information and guidelines for submitting assignments, referencing and on avoiding plagiarism in assignments etc. In addition, we have uploaded a very useful UCT guide on the Harvard referencing style onto iKamva under Course Resources.
We hope that you will give us some feedback on your experience of this module, so that we can improve the module for future students. You will be asked to do so on an evaluation form, which will be sent to you during Winter School for those that attend and at the end, on completion of the module. We hope that you enjoy the module and find it useful in your own efforts to improve Public and community health.