This unit (HMB3216) introduces students to the fundamental knowledge of the research process. It aims to provide a broad range of research designs and methodologies that are currently utilised by midwife researchers and to validate and refine existing midwifery knowledge in order to improve midwifery practice. It also presents the skills that are needed to understand and appraise a systematic review and meta-analysis, and how to appraise and use research in midwifery practice. Topics covered include the following: - Significance of research in midwifery; - Links between midwifery education, theory and practice; - Approaches to research process: qualitative and quantitative designs including mixed and triangulation methods; - Classification and characteristics of exploratory, descriptive and explanatory studies; - Steps in the research process: identification of problem statement, literature review, theoretical framework, sampling, data collection and analysis using descriptive and inferential statistics; - Ethics and research; - Disseminating and applying midwifery research; - Evaluating research reports; - Appraising a systematic review of the literature; - Utilise basic statistics for appraisal of systematic reviews, including statistical significance, chance, probability, confidence intervals, odds ratios, numbers needed to treat and pitfalls in analysis; and - Appraising the professional application of a systematic review and meta analysis to an aspect of professional midwifery practice.

Unit details

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Credit points:
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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Discuss the research process in relation to midwifery practice;  
  2. Critically examine the relationship between midwifery research and improvement in health care outcomes;  
  3. Discuss research designs and methodologies;  
  4. Critically evaluate a piece of midwifery research;  
  5. Recognise the ethical implications of research;  
  6. Develop a beginning knowledge in research proposal relevant to midwifery practice;  
  7. Access and appraise research papers and systematic review;  
  8. Develop the ability to appraise a systematic review of the literature on an aspect of midwifery practice; and  
  9. Recognise how to utilise research to inform midwifery practice.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Examination 3 hour written exam 50%
Essay 2000 words 50%

Required reading

Introduction to research for midwives, (3rd ed).
Rees, C. (2010).
Books for Midwives:Edinburgh.

Nursing Research Processes- an Australian perspective, (2nd ed).
Roberts, K. & Taylor, B. (2002).
Thomson: Australia.

Where to next?

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