Student Pages
Postgraduate course

Methods in Global Health Research

Main content

Level of Study


Teaching semester


Place of Instruction

Centre for International Health, University of Bergen

Objectives and Content


The aim of this course is to introduce the students to different scientific perspectives and research paradigms (traditions), and to facilitate the development of research skills relevant to global health.


The course comprises an introduction to the theory of science and ethics; qualitative research methodology; epidemiology and statistics; and introduction to proposal writing. It provides an overview of the theory of science related to the use of different research methodologies for global health, as well as key concepts and approaches to study design, data collection methods and analysis related to theses methodologies. Global health issues are used as the basis for formulating both epidemiological and qualitative research questions. Students are introduced to the principles of data collection, processing and interpretation of epidemiological and qualitative data and are given individual and group assignments for both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to develop their skills. The assignment includes problem formulations and design outlines, written and oral presentations on own and group work as well as peer review of other students¿ assignments and presentations. Ethical considerations and analytical approaches are emphasized. The course also includes student- led seminars and critical reviews of research articles.

Course design: The teaching consists of lectures, seminars and group assignments. The seminars and group assignments require compulsory attendance. All teaching and group work require student preparation prior to the face-to-face meetings.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student should be able to:

  • Explain/describe the philosophical underpinnings of research methodologies used in global health studies
  • Describe the theoretical foundation and concepts of qualitative study de- signs in research
  • Discuss the principles of causality in research
  • List relevant databases for scientific literature and explain the principles of literature reviews
  • Compare different research concepts and epidemiological study designs such as randomized controlled trials, observational studies (surveys, cohort studies, case ¿control studies, cross- sectional studies,)
  • Describe qualitative research methods (observations, interviews, group dis- cussions and document analysis)
  • Explain fundamental statistical con- cepts and methods relevant to global health research, including methods for reporting and summarizing data
  • Use tables and graphs, report descriptive statistics for continuous and categorized data from data sets
  • Recognize ethical challenges in global health research; integrity, accounta- bility and social responsibility and their possible consequences.
  • Consider trustworthiness and validity aspects of research


The student should be able to:

  • Search systematically for scientific literature in global health
  • Critically evaluate scientific literature in global health
  • Independently identify appropriate objectives, study designs and methods for data collection and analysis and argue for these choices
  • Plan an ethically sound study
  • Present, explain and justify choice of research tools
  • Develop a qualitative interview guide and plan a qualitative interview
  • Conduct basic coding/analysis and establish thematic categories of qualitative data
  • Present, explain and justify choice of research methods in public health and epidemiological research as well as in basic biomedical research within life sciences
  • Apply statistical methods
  • Estimate disease occurrence
  • Estimate and interpret risk associa- tions
  • Discuss measures to increase trustworthiness and how to minimize bias and confounding in qualitative and quantitative data
  • Handle, organize and secure data sets
  • Plan, design and present a visual and oral presentation

General competence

The student should be able to:

  • Reflect upon the role of different disciplines and research methodologies in global health research relevant for low- and middle income countries

Critically evaluate and interpret results from global health research its relevance, societal and ethical implications

Required Previous Knowledge

A Bachelor¿s degree level in medicine, dentistry or related disciplines in health, natural or social sciences is required for admission.

Proficiency in English at a level corresponding to TOEFL 550 (paper-based) or 213 (computer-based) or IELTS band 6.0 is expected.

The students must have basic mathematical understanding. This involves:

  • Using mathematical symbols and basic formal mathematical language to solve problems and present solutions.
  • Being able to create adequate figures, graphs and tables
  • Being able to calculate with whole numbers, fractions, decimal numbers, percentages, root ex- pressions, exponential expressions, log transformations

Being able to calculate probability.

Access to the Course

Students enrolled in the master programme in Global Health, students enrolled in similar programmes at UiB or other partner institutions.

Teaching Methods and Extent of Organized Teaching

Class-room lectures ¿ short lectures with student tasks, 30% Interactive discussion with the students, 20%

Self-studies, 20%

Computer laboratory work, 20 %

Group work and presentations, written and oral ¿ 10%

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Compulsory attendance at seminars and workshops, individual- and group assignments.


Methodological review of 2-3 papers for each study design. The student will be expected to describe methodological issues as well as reflecting on relevance, appropriatness, ethical issues and scientific choices for the chosen research topics.

The assignments will be given feedback through peer-review; group-presentations and discussions, and/or teacher¿s comments. The teacher selects one assignment to be submitted as part of the portfolio assessment.

Forms of Assessment

Portfolio assessment, composed of:

  1. Assignment 1 (25%)
  2. Written exam (4 hours) (75%)

Students who receive the grade "F" are allowed to re-sit according to standard procedures at the University of Bergen.

Grading Scale

ECTS A-F (F = fail)

Assessment Semester


Reading List

The reading list will be made available by 1 June on Mitt UiB.

Course Evaluation

Students evaluate the teaching according to the quality assessment requirements of the University of Bergen.


Centre for International Health

E-mail: studie@igs.uib.no

Tel: 55 58 85 69

Exam information

  • For written exams, please note that the start time may change from 09:00 to 15:00 or vice versa until 14 days prior to the exam.

  • Type of assessment: Portfolio assesment

    Withdrawal deadline
    • Exam part: Assignment

      Examination system
      Digital exam
    • Exam part: Written examination

      09.12.2021, 09:00
      4 hours
      Examination system
      Digital exam