Research in Tropical Health


After this unit, students should be able to:
1. List the phases of a research project.
2. Describe the objectives of the different types of studies and specify their characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. Adjust the type of study to the research question.
3. Use the principles of descriptive epidemiology (time, place and person). Define epidemic/outbreak; create a case definition. Calculate and interpret cumulative incidence, measures of association, attributable risk and relative difference in cohort studies; calculate and interpret measures of association in case-control studies.
4. Describe the types of sampling; calculate sample size based on estimated population proportion.
5. Calculate and interpret location and dispersion measures, tables and graphs. Identify the applicability conditions of statistical hypothesis tests and calculate associations/differences between variables.
6. Explain different types of data sources and data collection instruments, specifying errors to be avoided in the preparation of questionnaires.
7. Describe the characteristics of the investigation using in-depth interviews and group interviews.
8.Name principles of ethics linked to biomedicine.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Rosa Teodósio


Weekly - 12

Total - 84

Teaching language

English and Portuguese


Not applicable


• Fortin, M. F. (2009). O processo de investigação da concepção à realização. (5ª ed). Camarate: LUSOCIÊNCIA – Edições Técnicas e Científicas, Lda. (obra originalmente publicada em 1996).
• Gordis, L. (2011). Epidemiologia. (4ª ed). Loures: LUSODIDACTA – Sociedade Portuguesa de Material Didáctico, Lda. (obra originalmente publicada em 2009).
• Hill, M. M., Hill, A. (2005) Investigação por questionário. (2ª ed). Lisboa: Edições Sílabo, Lda.
• Knapp, R.G., Miller, M. C. (1992). Clinical Epidemiology and biostatistics. Ed. Williams and Williams, Baltimore, Maryland.
• Murteira, B. J. F. (1993). Análise exploratória de dados e estatística descritiva. Ed Mc Graw-Hill, Portugal.
• Daniel, W.W. (2004). Biostatistics: a foundation for analysis in the health sciences. 8th Edition. Ed. John Wiley and Sons.
• Sheskin, D. J. (2007). Handbook of Parametric and Nonparametric Statistical Procedures. 4th Edition. Ed. Chapman and Hall/CRC.

Teaching method

- Lectures in the classroom;
- Theoretical-practical classes with performing exercises;
- Tutorials for follow-up work and clarify doubts.

Evaluation method

- Individual and group work (30% of the final grade);
- Individual final test/exam (70% of the final grade).

Subject matter

I. Information Sources and Research strategies. Ethical principles in biomedical research.
II. Research project phases.
III. Observational (descriptive, case-control and cohort), experimental and quasi-experimental studies. Features, advantages and disadvantages, adaptation to the research question. Epidemiological characteristics related to time, place, person; OR, RR, RA and relative difference. Bias, confounding and interaction concepts.
IV. Sampling: sample size; inclusion and exclusion criteria; random and non-random sampling. Sampling error concept.
V. Selection, classification and operationalization of variables. Measures of location and dispersion. Tables of frequencies and graphics.
VI. Statistical hypothesis testing: null and alternative hypothesis; significance level. Chi-square test, population comparison from independent samples and paired samples, ONEWAY ANOVA, correlation and regression; non-parametric tests.
VII. The interview and self-administered questionnaire. In-depth interview and group interview. Content analysis.


Programs where the course is taught: