Course syllabus for

Research methodology, 7.5 credits

Forskningsmetodik, 7.5 hp
This course syllabus is valid from autumn 2020.
Please note that the course syllabus is available in the following versions:
Course code
Course name
Research methodology
7.5 credits
Form of Education
Higher Education, study regulation 2007
Main field of study 
Global Health 
AV - Second cycle 
Grading scale
Fail (U), pass (G) or pass with distinction (VG)
Department of Global Public Health
Decided by
Programnämnden för folkhälsovetenskap
Decision date
Revised by
Education Committee GPH
Last revision
Course syllabus valid from
Autumn 2020

Specific entry requirements

A Bachelor's degree or a professional degree equivalent to a Swedish Bachelor's degree of at least 180 credits. And proficiency in English equivalent to English B/English 6.


After completion of the course the student should be able to:

  • Describe how to design, collect and analyze data in qualitative and quantitative projects.
  • Use appropriate statistical methods for the analysis of different data sets, interpret and present findings from statistical analyses in a clear, concise, and logical manner.
  • Identify problems caused by systematic errors, bias and confounding in interpreting epidemiological data.
  • Describe and discuss key characteristics of qualitative data collection methods and reflect on their main advantages and challenges
  • Describe key characteristics of main qualitative analysis methods including the role of the researcher in the process of analysis
  • Assess strengths and limitations of different sources of epidemiological and qualitative data on health status & health care utilization in low, middle, and high-income countries.
  • Compare qualitative and quantitative approaches and understand when these are best used singly or in combination


During the course the following will be covered:

  • Study design: cross-sectional, case-control, cohort, and intervention studies.
  • Measures of disease frequency and risk, and alternative sources of epidemiological data.
  • Interpretation of epidemiological and statistical concepts as causality, random errors, bias, confounding.
  • Describing univariate and bivariate data: tables and graphs; proportions; measures of central tendency (mean, median), and variability (range, standard deviation, percentiles); correlation coefficients, differences and ratios.
  • Statistical inference: confidence intervals and p-values, hypotheses tests.
  • Simple and multiple linear and logistic regression analysis.
  • Analyses using statistical software
  • Qualitative research methods: observational method, interviews, focus group discussions, participatory methods.
  • Measures of illness perceptions and experiences; participant accounts of everyday life
  • Describing the data collection process; sampling principles; the role of gatekeepers; the interactions between researcher and researched; the links between theory and method
  • Qualitative data analysis, validity and triangulation in qualitative research

Teaching methods

Learning activities include lectures, group work and practical sessions.


Written examination. The exam will consist in three sections: biostatistics, epidemiology and qualitative methods.
To pass the exam, the student needs to obtain at least 65% of the total score and at least 60% of the score in each section.
To pass with distinction, the student has to achieve at least 90% of the total score and at least 60% of the score in each section.

Compulsory participation

The examiner assesses if and, in that case, how absence can be compensated. Before the student has participated in all compulsory parts or compensated absence in accordance with the examiner's instructions, the student's results for respective part will not be registered. 

The grades used are fail, pass or pass with distinction.

Limitation of number of occasions to write the exam
Students who have not passed the regular examination are entitled to participate in five more examinations. If the student has not passed the exam after four participations he/she is encouraged to visit the study advisor. If the student has failed six examinations/tests, no additional examination or new admission is provided.

The number of times that the student has participated in one and the same examination is regarded as an examination session. Submission of a blank examination is regarded as an examination. An examination for which the student registered but not participated in will not be counted as an examination.

​If there are special grounds, or a need for adaptation for a student with a disability, the examiner may decide to deviate from the syllabus's regulations on the examination form, the number of examination opportunities, the possibility of supplementation or exemptions from the compulsory section/s of the course etc. Content and learning outcomes as well as the level of expected skills, knowledge and abilities may not be changed, removed or reduced.

Transitional provisions

Examination will be provided during a time of two years after a possible cancellation of the course. Examination can take place according to an earlier literature list during a time of one year after the date when a major renewal of the literature list has been made.

Other directives

Course evaluation will be carried out in accordance with the guidelines established by the Committee for Higher Education.

The course language is English.

Literature and other teaching aids

Bonita, Ruth; Beaglehole, Robert; Kjellström, Tord Basic epidemiology
Health research methodology : a guide for training in research methods.
Pagano, Marcello; Gauvreau, Kimberlee Principles of biostatistics
Green, Judith; Thorogood, Nicki Qualitative methods for health research
Koch, Lene.; Vallgårda, Signild Research methods in public health