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Principles of Clinical Research (CLRS90027)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2017
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeCLRS90027
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Medical research studies can be split into five distinct phases—conception, design, execution, analysis, and publication/reporting. The quality of a study is highly dependent on the selection of a proper study design and this in turn is determined by the research question to be answered.

This subject will introduce participants to the principles of research within a clinical (ie health) setting, in particular:

  • turning an idea into a research question that is measurable and evaluable
  • examine different study designs used in clinical/medical research
  • selecting a study design appropriate to answering the research question
  • refining a research question by examining the current literature through the construction of a ‘literature review’ of published scientific studies
  • assessing the strengths, weakness and biases of qualitative and quantitative study designs commonly encountered in the medical literature
  • literature searching and critical appraisal of published scientific

This subject provides individuals from medical and allied health professions (such as nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists etc) and others with a biomedical science-based background with a conceptual framework in research which is undertaken in clinical and medical settings. This subject serves as a basis for advanced study in the Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research, the Graduate Diploma in Clinical Research and the Master of Clinical Research.

Intended learning outcomes

At the completion of this subject, students should be able to;

  • describe the different types of research questions and the characteristics of a ‘good’ research question (PICO)formulate an answerable research question and develop a conceptual hypothesis
  • compare and contrast different types of quantitative (eg randomized control trial, case-control, experimental, cross-section, cohort, etc) and qualitative (eg ethnography, case studies, in depth interviewing, document analysis etc) study designs at an introductory level
  • develop principles for selecting an appropriate research design that best answers the research question
  • describe the various tools available to assess the quality of published qualitative and quantitative research studies and critically appraise the quality of published studies
  • demonstrate effective use of online literature databases to find relevant published research studies including how to develop and record a search strategy, identify and apply relevant inclusion and exclusion criteria and select appropriate key words and limits
  • differentiate between a narrative, systematic and meta-analysis review identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the three different review types
  • demonstrate sufficient preparatory knowledge for more detailed study in clinical research at the Diploma level

Generic skills

On completion of the subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • foundational understanding of the principles of research design;
  • analyse, evaluate and interpret published scientific evidence using appropriate techniques;
  • interpret data from electronic databases;
  • apply their understanding to research conception and design;
  • communicate advanced concepts in written and oral form;
  • the ability to comprehend complex science information
  • exercise responsibility for their own learning;
  • manage their time effectively.

Last updated: 19 October 2018