This one-year degree provides high quality training in research methods within the broad field of health, healthcare and related social science disciplines. The degree is of particular relevance to health, social and voluntary sector professionals keen to enhance their careers through the acquisition of advanced methodological skills and to students who wish to use such skills as a foundation for PhD study. The MRes in Health Research can thus be completed as a qualification in itself or as the first stage in a four-year PhD programme at Brunel University.
The course is based upon six taught modules and a dissertation. Two compulsory modules, Health Research and Health Policy, provide students with a highly focused introduction to health-related research and its contemporary policy and organisational context. Two other compulsory modules centre upon generic research training designed to provide students with skills that can be applied in a range of academic and professional settings. A further two taught modules, selected from a range of options, allow students to focus upon areas of particular interest. In some cases it may be possible - by negotiation - for students to follow one or two “tailor-made” Guided Study Modules based on directed reading and regular meetings with relevant academic staff. The final element of the degree involves the supervised completion of a dissertation (approximately 15,000 words).
* Health Research
* Health Policy
* Graduate Research Skills and Professional Development
Elective Modules (one from)
* Anthropology and Public Health
* Clinically Applied Anthropology and International Health
* Body and Person: Anthropological Perspectives
* Guided Study Module
Main topics of study: key research methodologies, their conceptual bases and context in the field of health-related social science research; the interrelationship between theory, method and application in the context of health-related social science research; health, illness and health services.
Main topics of study: policy, ideology and service delivery in British post-war health policy; health care systems and models: comparative health policy;
analysing the policy process; medicine and power: doctors, state and society; medicine and power: public and patient involvement and empowerment; health inequalities and the politics of public health; rationing and demand management in health care; policy and technological change: the new human genetics;
challenging policy: disability activism; challenging policy: mental health service user activism.
Graduate Research Skills and Professional Development
Main topics of study: reviewing research aims and objectives; choosing research methods; study design, sampling, and analytical issues in the use of such methods; appropriate resources for such studies; using information technologies; managing a research project, presenting research information.
On a topic to be agreed between the student and supervisor(s).
Anthropology and Public Health
Main topics of study: changing conceptions of public health; constructing public health problems: the case of female circumcision; the social construction of epidemics; constructions of health and sickness in war zones; the changing relationship between anthropology and epidemiology; targeting people, targeting places: the limits of HIV prevention strategies; neglected tropical diseases and the case for targeted disease control programmes; public health and healing in the aftermath of war; evaluating public health policy; human rights and public health; ethical aspects of public health policy and practice.
Clinically Applied Anthropology and International Health
Main topics of study: medical versus lay perceptions of illness; body image and the interpretation of symptoms; psychosomatic disorders; reproduction and childbirth; death, dying and bereavement; ritual in health care; family culture and health; alcohol, tobacco and drug use and abuse; health care pluralism in the UK, and abroad; folk, traditional and alternative healers; cultural attitudes to food and causes of malnutrition; cross-cultural psychiatry, and cross-cultural definitions of mental illness; culture-bound syndromes; migration, stress and health; urbanisation and the urban poor; family planning programmes; HIV and AIDS; primary health care; malaria; cultural barriers to international aid programmes.
Body and Person: Anthropological Perspectives
Main topics of study: the body as a 'text of culture'; the notion of 'embodiment' and the three bodies: individual, social and the body politic; the disciplined body;
the body, sex and gender; the body, illness and distress; clothing the body; the body and the media; children's conceptions of the body; the possessed body;
the body, dance and performance; theories of the person; the notion of 'normality'; the emergence of memero-politics; classifications, kinds, and kind-making; 'looping effects'; cultural bound syndrome and 'ecological niche'.
Guided Study Module
Atailor-made programme of reading, supervision and assessment that is pursued by permission.
The MRes Health Research draws upon highly rated academic and postgraduate teaching expertise in the School of Social Sciences and Law, the Health Economics Research Group and the School of Business and Management. The co-ordinating School (Social Sciences and Law) was rated as "Excellent" in all four of its teaching fields (Sociology, Social Anthropology, Law and Psychology) in the last government Teaching Quality Assessment and was also highly rated in the last official assessment of research quality (a "5" for Sociology and Law and “4” for Social Anthropology and Psychology).
ESRC Recognition and Studentships
The course is "recognised" by the UK Economic and Social Research Council as eligible for the funding, on a competitive basis, of UK and EU students who wish to complete a Doctoral programme (based on one year of research training in the form of the MRes followed by a three-year PhD). Students (UK or EU) interested in entering the Economic and Social Research Council's competition should signal their intention as far in advance as possible (the Council's deadline for receipt of applications is normally in early May prior to September/October entry to relevant courses).
Transition from the MRes to PhD study at Brunel University
The MRes Health Research, as indicated, can act as both a stand-alone programme or as the foundation for PhD study. Students can apply with a view to either objective. Those planning to proceed from the MRes to registration for a PhD at Brunel University will normally require marks of at least 50% in all taught modules and the dissertation. Students on the MRes whose applications are accepted for PhD registration will receive a high degree of support and advice from academic staff.
Formal assessment depends upon modules selected for study but typically centres upon essays and/or presentations. By way of example, in 2005-06 the compulsory module in Health Policy is assessed by a 4,000 word essay, the Health Research module via two research reports of between 1,500 and 2,000 words and Graduate Research Skills and Development II through a combination of an essay and oral presentation. There are currently no seen or unseen written exams.
Teaching methods typically centre upon lectures, participatory seminars and one-to-one discussions between students and staff as the need arises (such as in the case of Guided Study modules or during the dissertation phase of the degree).
The MRes in Health Research will:
* help to develop the careers of professionals in the health, social care and voluntary sector whose interests and objectives encompass the design, execution or management of high quality research;
* provide students interested in an academic career with the resear