Doctors and researchers depend on the latest scientific literature published week by week in countless different journals, but not every study can be trusted. Scientific studies are fraught with complications that can threaten their reliability, or the extent to which their results can be applied very widely. This unit will help you 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. Similarly, students will look at the basic design of laboratory research, and what are the different types of questions that can be asked from studies on humans, rats 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 yourself which findings can be relied upon to inform future research or medical practice.
Journal club and online tasks (20%), extended response questions (35%), exam (45%)
Prince, Martin (2003) Practical Psychiatric Epidemiology, Oxford University Press.
This is a core unit of study for the Masters degree only.
Basic understanding of statistics