Skip to main content

Unit information: Statistics & Research Methods in 2018/19

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Statistics & Research Methods
Unit code MEDIM4003
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Andrew Wills
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences


  • To describe key features of study design and be able to formulate hypotheses and design effective studies to address common research questions
  • To describe the core statistical concepts necessary to be able to accurately interpret and present basic statistical analyses
  • To be able to review and critically appraise the scientific literature
  • To describe the important ethical elements of scientific and medical research

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of this unit students will be able to:

  • Interpret numerical and graphical summaries of data
  • Understand the nature of sampling variation and the role of statistical inference in helping to quantify sampling variation draw conclusions from data.
  • Accurately interpret the results of analyses based on the principles of hypothesis testing (p-values) and estimation (confidence intervals).
  • Interpret the results from common regression models.
  • Devise research questions and design effective studies/experiments
  • Offer a critical appraisal of the research methods elements of published scientific and clinical studies

Teaching details

  • Lectures/workshops
  • Conferencing
  • e-Learning

Assessment Details

Coursework: home-based assessment (60%):

(i) Write a short scientific report. This will assess your ability to select and present appropriate statistical analyses, accurately interpret results and draw sensible conclusions (35%)

(ii) Interpret and appraise a scientific paper (25%)

Examination (40%):

(i)A 2-hour closed book exam consisting of multiple choice and short open answer questions

The pass-mark for the unit will be 50%. However students will be required to reach a minimum standard in both their coursework and their written exams. As such only 5% compensation between the total coursework element and the total exam element will be allowed.

Reading and References

Students may find the following books useful accompaniments:

- Diggle P, Chetwynd A. 2011. Statistics and Scientific Method: An introduction for students and researchers. OUP - Kirkwood BR & Sterne JAC. 2003. Essential Medical Statistics. Second Edition. Blackwell Science - Motulsky H. 2014. Intuitive Biostatistics. New York: OUP. - OpenIntro Statistics. 2nd Edition. ( - Petrie A, Sabin C. 2009. Medical Statistics at a glance. 3rd edition. Wiley-Blackwell - Webb P & Bain C. Essential Epidemiology: An introduction for students and health professionals. Cambridge.