Research Methods in Public Health – HLTH 511

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 01/07/2022

Course Description

This course prepares students to critically evaluate research protocols in public health. Students must be prepared to design practical research methodologies to evaluate contributing factors of contemporary health issues with measurable goals and objectives.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


The purpose of this course is to teach students the necessary concepts and skills required for research design, implementation, data analysis, statistical testing, and results reporting. Successful public health professionals should be able to demonstrate knowledge and skills in these areas in order to be able to conduct original research and critically review published research.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Develop health assessment tools to collect information about health status and determinants of health.
  2. Use information technology to access, collect, analyze, and maintain epidemiologic data.
  3. Compare and contrast purposes and methods used in program evaluation.
  4. Evaluate the appropriateness of health information materials for selected audiences.
  5. Affirm the need for community input for developing, implementing, evaluating, and improving health policies, programs, and services.
  6. Identify appropriate quantitative and qualitative research methods to assess a public health issue.
  7. Apply ethical and legal principles when collecting, maintaining, using, and disseminating data from human subjects.
  8. Describe the biblical basis for public health research and practice.

In addition to the learning outcomes listed above, this course addresses the following Program Learning Outcomes (Competencies) as primary emphases. (For a complete list of the Master of Public Health Program Learning Outcomes, see the Liberty University Academic Catalog or the MPH Electronic Student Portfolio.)

By the end of the course, the student will be able to:

1. Determine population health status, needs, and resources using appropriate assessment and analytical methods.

2. Develop, implement, and evaluate effective public health programs and policies to address identified population determinants of health.

3. Demonstrate effective written, oral, and electronic methods of communicating health information and advocating for health with diverse audiences.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

There will be reading assignments relevant to the SPSS topic assignments as well as power point presentations on current public health research methodology topics.

These reading assignments and presentations are listed in the Learn section of the course in Canvas.

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (4)

Discussion are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will respond to articles related to a public health research issue in a Discussion thread. Each thread must be 300-450 words and include integration of the student’s Christian beliefs. Outside research may be used to respond to the prompt. The student will also reply to at least 2 classmates’ threads in 200–300 words each. Each thread and reply must include at least 1 scholarly citation in AMA format.

SPSS Assignments (7)

The student is required to complete 7 analytic assignments using step-by-step instructions from the textbook for the specific statistical test being addressed. The student will also be required to perform the same analyses using SPSS with real healthcare-related data while interpreting the results generated.

Qualitative Research Software Assignment

To allow the student to become familiar with qualitative research software in order to perform content analyses on qualitative data, the student will complete an activity following the step-by-step instructions.

CITI Activity Assignment

The student will complete a training course through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Program. Upon completion of the CITI course, the student must upload his/her completion certificate to Canvas.

Research Article Review Assignments (2)

The student will choose 1 peer-reviewed article that includes community-based participatory research and complete a review of the article. The review must be under 500 words.

Research Project Assignment

The student will complete a small research project, which will take place in several parts: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Final Submission. The project will include SPSS output of descriptive statistics, tables and/or graphs, and statistical test results. There is no minimum word requirement; however, the maximum total word count is 2,500 words.

Quizzes (7)

Each quiz will contain multiple-choice and/or true/false questions based on the material in the assigned module: week, PowerPoint presentation, and SPSS Assignment. Each quiz must be completed in 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Quizzes: Hypothesis Writing (5)

For each quiz, the student will select the correct null and alternative statistical hypotheses pertaining to research questions that reflect the statistical test(s) being covered in the assigned module: week. Each quiz will contain 2–4 multiple-choice questions and have a time limit of 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis Methods Assignment

Based on a public health scenario the student will formulate qualitative data and analysis methods which could be used to determine attitudes and beliefs toward the public health issue described in the scenario.