Student Pages
PhD course

Basic Course in Research Tools and Theory

  • ECTS credits6
  • Teaching semesterAutumn
  • Course codeINTH901
  • Resources

Main content

Course description

Language of instruction


Course content


The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to scientific perspectives and skills that are required to address global health research, and include research within ethics and philosophy of science, epidemiology, statistics and qualitative methods. The course also aims to introduce concepts in basic research studies, and show how the research can be evaluated.


This course provides an introduction to research tools and theory. The course includes descriptions of research; research ethics and philosophy of science, research methods, and how to communicate scientific results to the research community and in teaching ¿ all in relation to global health.

The course includes the following main themes:
Philosophy and Science
Ethics and scientific conduct
- Human and animal studies
Methods in
- Epidemiology
- Basic medical research
- Clinical research
- Qualitative research
Scientific communication
- The Library, PubMed and use of EndNote
- The scientific paper
- Posters
- Successful lecturing
Grant applications
Statistical issues

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
- knows that systematic searches for scientific knowledge can be performed
- knows important statistical concepts and ethical perspectives in research; integrity, accountability and social responsibility
- knows the main principles of epidemiological research
- knows different research methods in public health and epidemiological research, basic biomedical research within life sciences, important statistical methods and qualitative research tools
- knows the main principles of clinical studies
- knows how basic medical research methods are chosen and why they are used.

The student shall be able to:
- Perform systematic searches for scientific knowledge
- Critically evaluate scientific knowledge in light of important scientific ideas
- Apply simple statistical methods in analyses of data
- Understand and recognize the design of clinical trials, observational studies (cross-sectional studies, case -control studies, cohort studies), experimental methods (controlled clinical trials, intervention studies) and qualitative research methods (observations, interviews and document analysis) and justify the choice of methods.
- Evaluate the quality of scientific articles

General competence
The student
- understands the role of different disciplines and research methods in health research relevant for studies of global health challenges in middle and low-income countries, and can discuss quality of research

Study period


Specific terms


Master level in a health related topic

Good knowledge of English

Compulsory Requirements

80% attendance on practical sessions is required

Form of assessment

Written home exam including three parts:
a) Test in knowledge of different research expressions and methods
b) Writing an abstract based on two research papers; using quantitative or qualitative research methods
c) Writing a peer review evaluation of two scientific articles; one using quantitative methods, and one using quantitative methods

This is a Home examination and all support material can be used. The questions asked in the examination will reflect the skills of the student.

ECTS credits A-F (F = fail)

Who may participate

Students enrolled in the PhD programme in Global Health at UiB or students enrolled in similar programmes at partner universities of CIH/UiB.

Addtional information

Supplementary course information

A mixture of lectures, individual and group exercises and individual study


Course Coordinator: Bernt Lindtjørn /Bente E. Moen

Course Administrator: Centre for International Health, Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care

E-mail: studie@igs.uib.no

Tel: 55 58 85 69

Reading list

1. Laake P, Benestad, HB, and Olsen BR. Research methodology in the medical and biological sciences. Academic Press. 2007.

2. Day RA, Gastel B. How to write and publish a scientific paper, selected chapters. Eight edition ISBN-10: 1440842809.

3. The following journal articles:
- Swift JA and Tischlert V (2010): Qualitative research in nutrition and dietetics: getting started. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 23:pp 559-566
- Draper A and Swift JA (2010): Qualitative research in nutrition and dietetics: data collection issues. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 24:pp 3-12
- Fade SA and Swift JA (2010): Qualitative research in nutrition and dietetics: data analysis issues. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 24:pp 106-114
- Pilnick A and Swift JA (2010): Qualitative research in nutrition and dietetics: assessing quality. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 24: pp 209-214
- Rekdal OB (2014): Academic citation practice: A sinking sheep?"portal. Libraries and the Academy Volume 14, Number 4, October 2014.


Study period