Research Methods in Global Health


Course Objective

This is an exclusive course offered only for the first year students of
research masters Global Health.
1.Learning objectives for the theoretical component (as covered through
lectures and master classes):

At the end of the course, students are able to:
- describe, from a historical perspective, the increasing complexity of
global health problems in high- and low-income countries;
- describe the relationships between diverse global health problems
(well-structured versus complex problems);
- understand the main causes of the burden of disease in high- and
low-income countries;
- describe border-crossing health problems from the perspective of
different disciplines (biomedical sciences, epidemiology, health
sciences, health economics, anthropology);
- understand the indicators and describe the main issues in the field of
maternal health (including HIV mother-to-child transmission and
peri-natal depression);
- describe the social, economic and cultural context of non-communicable
- recognize the global burden of mental health and describe the main
issues in this field.

2.Learning objectives for the research component (as covered through
lectures, workshops and assignment):

At the end of the course, students are able to:
- describe the advantages and limitations of various research approaches
(mono-, multi-, and inter- and trans-disciplinary);
- describe theory creation in transdisciplinary research (epistemology
and methodology including criteria for scientific quality);
- describe basic methods and techniques (epidemiology, statistics,
scoping literature review, observation, interviews,
surveys/questionnaires) and methods (quantitative, qualitative,
mixed-methods) for analyzing complex health problems;
- design an interdisciplinary needs assessments in relation to a global
health problem;
- prove good academic writing skills by writing a scientific report;
- communicate a scientific message to an academic audience;
- work as a valued team member in a project team;
- provide and receive feedback from peers and supervisors.

Course Content

This course highlights the increasing complexity of health problems in a
global context and builds the case for multi-, inter- and
transdisciplinary research approach as a way to offer valuable insights
into complex health problems and to create a broad acceptance of
solutions among stakeholders.

The course consists of complementary theoretical and research

The theoretical component of the course consists of lectures and master
classes. During the lectures, students becomes acquainted with current
topics in global health, placed in a historical perspective. During the
master classes,several fields of global health (including mental health,
cross-cultural competencies and non-communicable diseases)
are used to illustrate the complexity of disease burden in a global
context and to build the case for multi/inter- and transdisciplinary
analysis of complex problems. Each master class consists of two
sessions. The first session is organized as a lecture, in which the
topic is approached from inter- and transdisciplinary perspectives. The
second session is organized as a supervised workgroup,
in which students discuss the most recent developments, as published in
the literature, and thus become familiar with the different paradigms
and models used in health.

The research component of the course consists of lectures, workshops and
an assignment. During the lectures and workshops, students acquire basic
knowledge and skills on research design, different research paradigms,
quantitative and qualitative research methods and the combination
thereof (i.e., mixed-methods). During the assignment, students design a
needs assessment for exploring the problems associated with one of the
two topics: the prevention of HIV mother-to-child transmission in a
specific context OR
the prevention of peri-natal depression in mothers.
The needs assessment is based on literature review and is conducted in
small groups. Each group receives feedback on different versions of
their draft reports during the supervised workgroups, and provide
feedback to another group in one peer review round.

Teaching Methods

Lectures and workshops (~50 hrs)
Work groups (assignment) (~60 hrs)
Self-study (~50 hrs)

Method of Assessment

Written report (30%), oral presentation (20%) and written exam (50%),
functioning within a group (pass/fail)
A grade of 5.5 or higher (or Pass in case of pass/fail assignment) is
required for each of these assessments

Entry Requirements

basic epidemiology


Gray, D. E. (2013). Doing research in the real world. Sage.
Selected articles

Target Audience

first year students in the research master global health (exclusively
for the students of the Masters, not open for other students)

Additional Information

Lecturers: Prof. dr. Jacqueline Broerse, Prof. dr. Paul Klatser, Prof.
dr. Frank Cobelens, Dr. Elena Syurina, dr. Barbara Regeer, dr. Guus ten
Asbroek, dr. Dirk Essink,

General Information

Course Code AM_1175
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. E.V. Syurina MSc
Examiner dr. E.V. Syurina MSc
Teaching Staff

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Study Group, Computer lab, Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: