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    The principles of critical appraisal of health literature, and an introduction to research methodology, research design methods, data collection, research reporting and research ethics.

    This distance learning paper taught by staff at the Department of General Practice and Rural Health, Dunedin School of Medicine, provides participants with the skills to critically appraise applied primary health care and quality improvement research, through review of key research methods and study designs, data collection and analysis, research reporting and research ethics. In addition, participants will learn how to write a research proposal in a topic of their choice. This paper is worth 30 points and can be credited towards a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma in General Practice or Primary Health Care.

    This paper is a prerequisite for proceeding to a Master of General Practice degree. Taught from Dunedin.

    About this paper

    Paper title Research Methods in Primary Health Care
    Subject General Practice
    EFTS 0.25
    Points 30 points
    Teaching period Semester 2 (Distance learning)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $3,103.25
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    GENX 821
    Limited to
    PGCertGP, PGCertPHC, PGDipGP, PGDipHealSc, PGDipPHC, PGDipRPHP, MHealSc
    Suitable for health professionals from a range of disciplines.
    Teaching staff

    Professor Tim Stokes
    Dr Sharon Leitch

    Paper Structure

    Learning modules include:

    • Research methods and design
    • Data collection and analysis
    • Research reporting
    • Research ethics

    The content areas include:

    • Diagnosis
    • Clinical management and treatment
    • Practitioner and patient perspectives on care
    • Health care quality and safety
    • Primary health care policy and delivery
    Teaching Arrangements

    This is an interactive distance taught online course. Students will participate in weekly videoconferences, online and independent learning.


    Required: Greenhalgh T. How to read a paper: the basics of evidence-based medicine (fifth edition). Chichester: Wiley and BMJ Books, 2019. (Online version will be available to students)

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Lifelong learning, Critical thinking, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete the paper will develop critical analytic skills related to:

    • Published research in general practice, primary health care and rural health.
    • The framing of research designs and questions.
    • The nature of applied primary health care and quality improvement research and its key study designs, as well as methods for data collection and analysis.
    • The moral and ethical implications of research of different types and the Otago process for ethics committee review of research proposals.
    • The Treaty of Waitangi implications for health research and the processes for Māori consultation.


    Semester 2

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