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Research Methods in Bioethics

Course Type

Credit value: 30
Semester: 1
Status: Compulsory
Contact hours: 32
Module co-ordinator: Prof Heather Draper
Lead Teachers: Prof Heather Draper, Dr Jon Ives, Dr June Jones


This module will enable you to develop more advanced skills of philosophical argument and critical reasoning than you can be expected to have developed during their MBChB learning to date. It will provide you with sufficient knowledge of modern bioethical research methods and skills to be able to make a reasoned and justified decision about which method (qualitative or purely analytical) is most appropriate for your dissertation.

You will be introduced to different means of mounting a robust philosophical argument. You will be provided with the tools for critical analysis including how to read and critique ethics and law papers/materials, and for developing the skills necessary to complete the assessments for the programme as a whole.

You will be introduced to a variety of qualitative research methods, as well as to theoretical and practical issues in combining ethical analysis and qualitative data. You will be shown how to critically appraise current empirical bioethics research, and to plan and carry out your own independent research project. The integration of ethics and qualitative data gathering will enable students in the healthcare ethics and law stream to gain some experience of empirical research, introducing them to this new and developing area that is at the cutting edge of modern bioethics, as well as ensuring that you understand how to read and write effectively using traditional philosophical methods.

Standard offer

International Requirements

International Students

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

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