Basic Elements of Research Methodology and Statistics


Students should be able to:

- Understand the epidemiology of mental disorders;

- Understand biological & non-biological factors contributing to mental disorders & well-being;

- Develop competence in using epidemiological data in service re-design;

- Interpret clinical trials & the implications for treatment & well-being;

- Formulate a null hypothesis;

- Design their own research question;

- Understand research ethics;

- Understand the difference between parametric and non-parametric statistics;

- Apply statistical data to inform the delivery of care;

- Identify gold standard research, systematic reviews & meta-analysis to inform clinical practice;

- Identify the necessary evidence to develop care packages. 

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Professor Doutor Fernando Miguel Teixeira Xavier


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language



Average level use of English (understanding and writing skills).


- Altman DG. Practical statistics for medical reseach. London: Chapman & Hall, 1991;

- Sackett DL, Hayes RB, Guyatt GH, Tugwell P. Clinical epidemiology. A basic science for clinical medicine (2nd Edition). New York: Little, Brown & Company, 1991.

Teaching method

This CU will be based on:

- Lectures

- Face to face seminar sessions

- Small group work

- E-discussion

- E-learning

- Review of log

- Peer feedback

- Self-assessment feedback

- Research/audit/service re-design project.

Peer and reflective learning will be supported by structured lectures to provide up to date knowledge, face-to-face seminar sessions and group work to review current evidence based guidelines, consolidate learning and develop skills. Practitioners will benchmark themselves against best practice.

Participants will have access to an electronic platform for lecture notes, presentations, reading materials, pre and post learning self-assessment materials to track progress & an e-discussion forum. Participants will complete practical homework tasks to consolidate theoretical learning and through Case Based Discussion (CBD).

Participants will keep a personal reflective learning log to map progress.

Evaluation method

Self-assessment (25%), peer assessment (25%), faculty assessment (50%).

Subject matter

The syllabus consists in:

1. Basic epidemiological concepts: epidemiology of mental illness, biological and non-biological factors that contribute to mental illness and well-being, use of epidemiological data in service re-design;

2. Clinical trials: interpretation of clinical trials and the implications for treatment and well-being;

3. Hypothesis formulation: the null hypothesis, design of research questions, research ethics;

4. Statistics: difference between parametric and non-parametric statistics, use of statistical data to inform the delivery of care;

5. Critical appraisal, systematic & meta-analysis: gold standard research and reviews to inform clinical practice, evidence necessary to develop care packages.


Programs where the course is taught: