Skip to main content

Unit information: Study Design in 2020/21

Unit name Study Design
Unit code BRMSM0014
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Penny Whiting
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences


The aims of this unit are to:

  • Give students an appreciation of the importance of good study design in epidemiology
  • Convey an understanding of best practice for a study protocol for an epidemiological study, to include data management and research ethics
  • Consolidate the learning from other units and apply that knowledge to designing an epidemiological study through writing a study protocol.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Formulate an appropriate research question for an epidemiological study
  2. Justify why this research question needs to be addressed in light of existing knowledge
  3. Select an appropriate epidemiological study design and analysis strategy to answer the research question
  4. Design an epidemiological study by writing a comprehensive study protocol

Teaching details

Teaching will include learning activities set by the tutor including lectures (synchronous and asynchronous), small group work, discussions, individual tasks, and practical activities (face to face or online).

Directed and self-directed learning will include activities such as reading, accessing web-based supplementary materials, critical analysis and completion of assessments.

Assessment Details

Formative assessment: There will be opportunities in both group and individual settings to receive feedback on writing progress. Students will receive feedback for learning in the form of an oral poster presentation of their research project in a research colloquium with feedback from tutors and peers.

Summative assessment: The unit will be assessed using a single piece of coursework:

  • Students will be required to prepare a 5000-word appropriately referenced, structured study protocol for an epidemiological study from a given choice of topics (ILOs 1-4; 100% of total unit mark).

A mark of 50% is required to pass the unit.

Reading and References

There is no essential unit text book.

Recommended reading:

Epidemiology – Beyond the Basics. Moyses Szklo and Javier Nieto. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc; 4th Revised edition (18 April 2018)