PHARM 7521EX - Research Methodology in Addictions

External - Trimester 3 - 2017

This course/module is designed to enable students to develop knowledge and understanding of the different methodological processes underpinning research in the addictions. The research principals involved in hypothesis testing and estimation procedures will be covered as well as the generic skills necessary to analyse data and interpret statistical findings. Basic epidemiological study designs, policy analysis and inferential statistical methods will be explored pertinent to the addictions field.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PHARM 7521EX
    Course Research Methodology in Addictions
    Coordinating Unit Medical Sciences
    Term Trimester 3
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s External
    Units 6
    Contact Online
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Restrictions Available to MSciAddictSt, GradCert and Grad Dip in International Addiction studies students only
    Course Description This course/module is designed to enable students to develop knowledge and understanding of the different methodological processes underpinning research in the addictions. The research principals involved in hypothesis testing and estimation procedures will be covered as well as the generic skills necessary to analyse data and interpret statistical findings. Basic epidemiological study designs, policy analysis and inferential statistical methods will be explored pertinent to the addictions field.
    Course Staff

    No information currently available.

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Week 1 Topic 1 / Assignment
    Week 2 Topic 2
    Week 3 Topic 3
    Week 4 Topic 4
    Week 5 Topic 5
    Week 6 Topic 6
    Week 7 Topic 7 / Short Exam
    Week 8 Topic 8 / Assignment 2
    Week 9 Topic 9
    Week 10 Topic 10
    This schedule is indicative of the timetable only.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    • Develop knowledge and understanding of the different ways in which research is conducted in the addictions.
    • Be able to describe the features of, and issues raised by, case-control, cohort and cross-sectional studies and randomised controlled trials.
    • Be able to recognise factors that contribute to bias and confounding in research.
    • Be able to critically appraise research.
    • Explore the principles involved in hypothesis testing.
    • Become familiar with data analysis methods and interpretation of statistical findings.
    • Design a small scale research project.
    • Develop awareness of the ethical issues arising from research with human subjects.

    At the end of this course you should be able to demonstrate an understanding of:
    1. steps in the scientific method and the research process;
    2. critical appraisal of research, including consideration of bias and confounding;
    3. different types of research studies and the inferences that can be drawn from them;
    4. the different roles of quantitative and qualitative research;
    5. basic statistical methods; and steps that should be taken to protect human subjects in research.

    Skills and Attitudes
    You will be expected to develop and/or enhance your:
    6. comprehension of different research designs and their application to the addictions;
    7. understanding of epidemiological research methodology;
    8. understanding of the requirements for small scale research;
    9. academic writing and referencing skills;
    10. ability to effectively communicate your intellectual curiosity and knowledge to others in an online discussion;
    11. current ethical issues in human subjects research;
    12. competence in critically reviewing research articles with regard to their study design; and
    13. awareness of statistical methods for data analysis
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Online Learning
    The International Programme in Addiction Studies is delivered entirely online; no campus attendance is required. The programme is available to students from all countries, however, online lectures, assignments and correspondence are in English only.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    Each week new material is released that you will work through. Your first focus should be on the Topic outline as this describes what you need to master on a certain topic and what information is available to you. Each study topic is comprised of the following components:

    • learning objectives
    • revision questions
    • concept lecture
    • readings
    • quiz to test your understanding (not graded)
    • discussion forum

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The expected work load for the course is 20 hours a week. This will be spent on reviewing the video and reading material, doing the revision quizzes, engaging in discussion and preparing for the assessments.
    Learning Activities Summary

    The following topics may be taught:

    Topic 1:  Planning a Research Project
    Topic 2:  Overview of Research Methods
    Topic 3:  Epidemiology in the Addictions
    Topic 4:  Confounding and Bias
    Topic 5:  Case-Control Studies
    Topic 6:  Qualitative Research
    Topic 7:  Randomised Controlled Trials
    Topic 8:  Understanding and Interpreting Statistics
    Topic 9:  Planning Statistical Analyses
    Topic 10:  Ethics of Research with Human Subjects

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due (approx)
    Weighting Learning Outcome
    Online Tests Formative

    Weeks 1-10

    Discussion Board participation Summative Weeks 1-10 10%
    Short Answer Examination Summative Week 7 40%
    Research Project Planning Summative Week 6 10%
    Research Protocol Summative Week 11 40%
    Assessment Detail

    Formative assessment in this course includes short tasks that are designed to help you learn and increase your level of understanding of the course/module material but do not contribute to your final grade. Formative assessment in the Research Methods module will come in the form of online quizzes mainly relating to the statistics topics. You will receive automated feedback in response to your answers. Any additional questions or issues should be discussed through the discussion board.


    Discussion Board
    Students report that participating in the Discussion Forums motivates learning and is an effective way to communicate with others about the course/module material. It will also prepare you for the written assessment, particularly if you use the Discussion Board to practice writing concise and informative comments and raise issues for discussion.

    Written Assignments 
    There are two assignments. The first is about planning a research project and the second involves preparing a protocol for a research project. Specific details of each assignment will be provided on Blackboard as indicated in the timetable.

    Short Answer Examination
    You will get 24 hours to submit the exam after it has been released. The exam will comprise 10 or 11 questions (some with multiple sections) each of which can be answered with a single sentence or at most a paragraph. The questions will relate to the course objectives and the topics presented in the first six weeks of the course.

    You will receive and submit your written assignments electronically via the Assignment section in Blackboard or via email if you are instructed to do so. In each course where written assignments are required, you will receive specific instructions as to the manner in which you will be expected to make assignment submissions.


    Several courses use exams that can be either supervised written exams or computer-based open book exam. These exams will have a specific time at which they need to be completed. The duration and mode of the examination may vary by course/module at the discretion of the course/module director.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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