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Research Design in Global Public Health


Admission requirements

Required course(s):

Academic Writing AND one 200-level methods course in Global Public Health (Quantitative Research Methods, Geographic Information Systems, or Qualitative Research Methods). The latter requirement does not apply to CHS/HD students.


This course is designed to help students pursuing a research project (either a course paper or capstone) in Global Public Health (GPH) to think about how to weave together existing knowledge, theory, concepts and methods into a coherent whole-a process referred to as research design.

Within Global Public Health, research designs differ and this is because, there are different versions on how to study social reality. We explore the great diversity of approaches and methods within public health research to understand the range of possibilities available, which is meant to lay the foundation for further study and practice of specific methods (training in specific methods is not the purpose of this course, but you can develop those skills in other LUC courses and beyond). We will explore these different designs, not in search of a single best design, but to understand the varying goals, advantages, and limitations of different research approaches. By exploring examples from the literature, designing research in groups in class, and developing a detailed proposal for their research projects, participants gain skills, awareness, and confidence to ‘think like a researcher’.

Course Objectives

  • Understand the different ontological and epistemological approaches in health research and the resulting challenges in interdisciplinary approaches.

  • Understand the steps of a research process in Global Public Health

  • Formulate research questions relating these to the relevant theories/literature and methods

  • Conduct a systematic literature review

  • Critically evaluate designs of existing research projects

  • Identify appropriate methods and analysis strategies.

  • Write a clear, concise research proposal


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2021-2022 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

This course is a highly interactive course. It will be taught through a mix of educational tools: 1. Self-study 2. mini-lectures and 3. interactive discussions and workshops.

Assessment Method

  • Participation in interactive sessions and engagement with course material - 10%

  • Research log - 20%

  • Brief Literature review- 15%

  • Peer feedback and reflection on workshop on research proposal outline -15%

  • Final research proposal -40%

Reading list

Compulsory literature:

David E. Gray, Doing Research in the Real World, 4th edition (Los Angeles: SAGE Publications Ltd, 2018).

Link to journal articles will be posted on Brightspace/MS Teams.


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Dr. Davina Osei,