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PBHE550 - Research Methods in Public Health

Course Details

Course Code: PBHE550 Course ID: 3628 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

This course teaches the student to design their own empirical research, and evaluate the research of others, in any of the sub-fields of public health. The course begins with an introduction to the field of public health. It introduces the philosophy of social science and several theoretical approaches used in public health. The course then concentrates on teaching the details of public health research design. The course takes the student step-by-step through qualitative, comparative, and quantitative research design and analysis methods. (Prerequisite: PBHE520)


Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
05/21/21 - 10/29/21 11/01/21 - 12/26/21 Fall 2021 Session I 8 Week session
06/28/21 - 12/03/21 12/06/21 - 01/30/22 Fall 2021 Session D 8 Week session
07/27/21 - 12/31/21 01/03/22 - 02/27/22 Winter 2022 Session B 8 Week session
08/31/21 - 02/04/22 02/07/22 - 04/03/22 Winter 2022 Session I 8 Week session
09/28/21 - 03/04/22 03/07/22 - 05/01/22 Winter 2022 Session D 8 Week session
10/26/21 - 04/01/22 04/04/22 - 05/29/22 Spring 2022 Session B 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate proficiency in the use of selected research methods and tools.
  2. Describe and examine the scientific method.
  3. Accomplish specific research tasks: hypothesis construction, conceptualizing terms, literature review, data collection, critical analysis, and communicate findings.
  4. Evaluate data and critically assess research findings.
  5. Judge the usefulness of various research approaches: quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods analysis.
  6. Show graduate level critical thinking and writing.


Please join the Discussion each week. Replies must be posted in the week due and replies after the end of the each week will not be graded or receive credit. The discussions are for student interaction and input and must be submitted before the week ends in order to receive full credit. Students should demonstrate their own knowledge in the discussions and avoid copying and pasting from websites. The Rubric is attached to discussion description.


Initial Response:

  • Post your initial response to each discussion by 11:55pm, ET, Wednesday.
  • Initial responses should have substance where students explore, explain, and expand upon issues being discussed, and apply relevant course materials.
  • Students should analyze course concepts, theories or materials correctly, using examples or supporting evidence.
  • Initial responses should be supported by at least two references (APA referencing format is not required for discussions)

Peer Responses:

  • For each discussion, reply to at least 2 of your classmates by 11:55pm, ET, Sunday.
  • Students are required to respond to at least two (2) other student’s initial postings (and the instructor) with significant comments that have substance.
  • Students should collaborate with fellow learners, relating the discussion to course concepts, add several innovative ideas, and provide considerable additional insight that relates to core concepts.
  • Peer responses should include at least two (2) of the following components: Offering advice; posing a question; providing an alternative point-of-view; and acknowledging similar experiences.
  • Peer responses should be supported by at least one reference (APA referencing format is not required for discussions)
  • All discussions can be accessed in the discussion section of the course.
  • A Discussion rubric is included in the discussion section of the course
  • More in-depth specific instructions for each discussion can be found in the discussion tab within the course.
  • Late Discussion posts receive a 10% per day late penalty. If your 2 peer responses are posted after the week is ended (after Day 7, Sunday) they receive a zero, and that the discussion is finished. You cannot receive credit for participation in a discussion with others after the discussion week has closed.
  • If there are less than 3 students in the course, only one (1) peer posting will be required. Your peer postings should challenge or expound upon at least one of the points made by your peer, and “I agree” does not constitute as an adequate response. As graduate students, you will be expected to provide comprehensive, relevant and well supported points in your assignments.

We all bring something unique to the classroom, from our understanding, our experiences, and our value systems. We honor and respect each person’s diverse beliefs to help us see beyond the classroom to be the most effective individuals we can be. Therefore, we should all be respectful of others while expressing our viewpoints and opinions. Proper Netiquette behavior is expected. Any inflammatory, demeaning or disrespectful language in a posting will be immediately removed from the discussion space.


For this course, students will be required to submit a writing assignment each of the eight (8) weeks. All papers should be formatted in APA format and style and are due by Sunday of each week.

  • More in-depth specific instructions for each assignment can be found in the Assignment tab within the course.
  • Assignments submitted late without advance notice will receive a 5% per day late penalty and will not be accepted for grading five (5) days past the due date.

Additional Readings:

Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). (2012). Guide to social science data preparation and archiving: Best practice throughout the data life cycle (5th ed.). Retrieved from

Jackson, G., Kezar, A., Kozi, M., & de las Alas, N. (2006). Preparing scholarly reviews of the literature: A webtorial. Retrieved from

Pole, K. (2007). Mixed method designs: A review of strategies for blending quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Mid-Western Educational Researcher, 20(4), 1-4.

Smith, D., Schwarz, N., Roberts, T.R., Ubel, P.A. (2006). Why are you calling me? How study introductions change response patterns. Quality of Life Research, 15(4), 621-630.

Spencer, L., Ritchie, J., Lewis J., & Dillon, L. (2003). Quality in qualitative evaluation: A framework for assessing research evidence. Retrieved from

Academic Writing Requirements:
The School of Health Sciences requires use of APA format and style and all students are encouraged to have a current copy of the APA Publication Manual. All written assignments are to be submitted in APA format style unless otherwise noted in the assignment directions.

Web Sites
In addition to the required course texts, the following public domain web sites are useful. Please abide by the university’s academic honesty policy when using Internet sources as well. Note web site addresses are subject to change.
• APUS Library Public Health Program Guide:
• Public Health Research Methods Student Study Site:
• Purdue Online Writing Lab:
• American Psychological Association:

Book Title:Public Health Research Methods - Ebook available through the APUS Online Library
Publication Info:Sage Lib
Author:Guest, G. and Namey, E.
Unit Cost:$100.40
Book Title:Quantitative Methods for Health Research : A Practical Interactive Guide to Epidemiology and Statistics - Ebook available through the APUS Online Library
Publication Info:Wiley Lib
Author:Bruce, Pope and Stanistreet
Book Title:Qualitative Methods in Public Health : A Field Guide for Applied Research - Ebook available through the APUS Online Library
Publication Info:Jossey-Bass Lib
Author:Tolley, Ulin, Mack, Robinson, and Succop
Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Please visit to locate the course eReserve.
Author: No Author Specified

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.