Research Inquiry (BMRI5020)


Doctors and researchers depend on the latest scientific literature published week by week but not every paper can be trusted. Scientific studies are fraught with complications that can threaten their reliability or their generalizability beyond the study setting. This unit will help students develop the skills necessary to critically appraise the research literature and identify sources of bias and confounding. Students will learn how cross-sectional studies, case-control studies, cohort studies and clinical trials are more or less vulnerable to these problems. Basic laboratory research will also be examined, specifically the different scope of experimental questions that can be asked from studies on humans, animals or brain tissue. All classes will be based on published examples of research literature and students will learn how to navigate different methods and data types. This unit will give students the confidence to read widely across the mental health field and judge for themselves which findings can be relied upon to inform future research or medical practice.

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Further unit of study information


1x2-hr lecture/week


journal club (10%), short answer questions (20%), extended response questions (30%), 2hr exam (40%)


Prince, Martin (2003) Practical Psychiatric Epidemiology, Oxford University Press.

Faculty/department permission required?


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Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.

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