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B202.30.16 Social Science Research Methods in Public Health


With this module, students will learn how to design a research project to address a public health issue. The major stages of a research process - ie research design, data collection and data analysis - will be examined, through concrete examples and personal work. Upon completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Formulate a relevant research question
  • Select an appropriate data collection method
  • Define an appropriate sample
  • Plan data collection
  • Select an appropriate data analysis method


  • Characteristics of good research questions
  • Quantitative and qualitative social science research methods
  • Sampling issues (types of sampling, recruitment of participants)
  • Ethical issues related to field work
  • Data collection methods (surveys, interviews, focus groups, observation)
  • Data analysis methods (statistical analysis, content analysis)
  • Feasibility of a planned project with respect to available resources (time, staffing, budget)


This is a hands-on, interactive course where students will hear lectures, but also do group work and receive immediate feedback from the teachers. Prior to the module, students will formulate 1 or 2 research questions related to their work environment. During the module, presentations and group work sessions will take the students through the successive stages of designing a research project. After the module, each student will write a research proposal.


Group work during the module and personal essay at the end of the module, ie a research proposal of 3 to 5 pages

Preparation and postprocessing

5 hours preparation, 15 hours postprocessing

ECTS Credits

1.5 ECTS

Target audience

Advanced course for students of the MPH programme


required are:

«Grundlagen der Gesundheitswissenschaft und Sozialepidemiologie» (B201.20)


Institut für Epidemiologie, Biostatistik und Prävention der Universität Zürich
Département de Sociologie, Université de Genève

Coordination of course

Prof. Dr. Claudine Burton-Jeangros, Département de Sociologie, Université de Genève


26-28 October 2016




Fr. 1'350.-

Registration deadline

26 August 2016

Additional information

The module will be taught in English