This course provides an introduction to research methods in family medicine and primary care. By itself, it is not intended to provide the training necessary to do research. However, it is an excellent first step for those wanting to pursue advanced training in primary care research. The course will familiarize the student with the principles of research methods, research design, and clinical measurement and will reinforce critical appraisal skills.
Each session will consist of a brief clarification of key concepts by the tutor, followed by interactive group discussion about the assigned exercises. Reading of the course materials and completion of the assigned worksheets or exercises is required preparation for each session.
The materials for each session provide theoretical and practical background and include examples of how each topic can be applied to clinical research. Texts for the course are meant to provide additional background and reference material and they should be consulted as needed, especially when concepts in the handouts are unclear or confusing. The tutor will help to clarify key concepts and will moderate a discussion of the exercises or worksheets assigned for each session.
The course comprises nine, four hour, sessions in a modified modular format, with each session focusing on a specific aspect of research methods, research design, or clinical measurement.
To develop an approach for addressing family medicine and primary care research questions using appropriate research methods;
To introduce the types of research designs used in clinical and epidemiologic research, including those using primary and secondary sources of data;
To understand the threats to the validity of different study designs, and to become familiar with the methods used to enhance the validity of clinical research;
To be able to critically appraise a biomedical research article; and,