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PSME406 Research Methods: Mental Health

This practical and academically orientated paper aims to upskill health professionals in the science of research methods, particularly those related to mental health research.

Paper title Research Methods: Mental Health
Paper code PSME406
Subject Psychological Medicine
EFTS 0.25
Points 30 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (Distance learning)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,018.75
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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PSMX 406
Limited to
MHealSc, PGCertHealSc, PGDipHealSc

Applicants must be graduates or hold an appropriate health professional qualification requiring at least three years' full-time tertiary study.


Teaching staff

Convenors: Professor Lois Surgenor
Associate Professor Joseph Boden

Paper Structure
This paper is arranged around three main themes:
  • The first theme examines fundamental concepts on social science research
  • Following this, the course content moves to more specific research paradigms and models used in research
  • The third part of the paper involves developing an individual research proposal
Teaching Arrangements

The Distance Learning offering of this paper is a combination of remote and in-person teaching.

Four 2-day block courses in Christchurch. Attendance at all block courses is compulsory.

There are no official prescribed texts for this paper. A variety of general texts pertaining to research methods can be located in the Canterbury Medical Library. Required readings will be supplied directly to the class.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Critical thinking, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will:

  • Recognise the importance of research in mental health and its relevance to the work of all disciplines of health professionals
  • Develop skills in the critical scientific appraisal of the research literature pertaining to mental health
  • Master some of the special conceptual tools of research, including logic and reasoning
  • Understand the basic principles of measurement. This includes knowledge of scales, managing bias and missing cases, reliability and validity, and test construction
  • Gain knowledge of relevant research designs in mental health. This includes sampling and survey designs, cross-sectional and longitudinal research, randomised controlled trials (RCTs), single-case design, introduction to meta-analysis, selected qualitative methods
  • Gain knowledge of relevant statistical concepts and procedures. These include descriptive statistics, power analysis, univariate tests of significance, simple multivariate tests (regression, etc)
  • Understand the ethical issues involved in clinically related research
  • Gain some knowledge of the areas of research undertaken in mental health and their relevance to clinical practice
  • Know how to formulate a research question that may arise from one's clinical work
  • Develop a scientific basis for decision making in professional areas
  • Design one's own preliminary proposal, putting into practice the skills developed in this paper

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system