Research Skills Development

This dynamic 5-week Research Skills Development Course (RSDC) uses didactic and hands-on, learning-while-doing training to develop the skills and competency to conceptualize, design, write, and communicate a thoughtful, persuasive, and fundable research proposal that addresses a public health concern.

Course includes English as a Second Language instruction during the entire five weeks. Also included is hands-on software training for collecting and organizing research literature (e.g., PubMed®, Web-of-Science®, Google Scholar®, EndNote Web®). Organized social events (including July 4th festivities), airport pickup on arrival and departure, books and supplies, and refreshments are included.

Course Topics

  • PubMed ® literature search and EndNote ® basics
  • Anatomy of proposal, conceptual framework, field concentrations and budget Basic biostatistics and analytic epidemiology
  • Causation
  • Surveys and sampling
  • Ethical consideration (IRB approval)
  • Successful scientific writing
  • Interpretation and communication of data
  • Effective oral communication skills
  • Objectives
  • Apply the purpose and objectives of scientific research in proposal development
  • Retrieve relevant and appropriate published data, information, and scientific evidence relevant to an issue
  • Discriminate between appropriate study designs
  • Identify ethical, legal, and social issues of responsible scientific research
  • Plan data collection, activities, and budget
  • Apply knowledge management processes and utilize bibliographic tools in proposal development

Course themes

  • Week 1: Define the problem; Search the literature
  • Week 2: Study design and methodology
  • Week 3: Anatomy of a proposal
  • Week 4: Scientific writing
  • Week 5: Peer review and presenting the proposal

Course Description

This course uses didactic and hands-on training to develop competency in scientific research skills. Its aim is to help students design and develop a thoughtful, persuasive, and fundable scientific research proposal that addresses a health concern. Students come with research questions and during the 5-week period develop a protocol, defend it orally in class, and depart ready to submit it to a funding agency. This course helps students understand and develop the elements of a research project. Students receive hands-on software training to conduct a literature review and establish a literature database (e.g., EndNote Web®). They also learn skills in scientific writing and oral presentation. Students will also have an opportunity to experience the culture of Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Course Objectives

1. Apply the components of scientific research in proposal development
2. Retrieve appropriate published data, information, and scientific evidence relevant to public health issue
3. Discriminate among appropriate study designs
4. Develop program priorities and an evaluation approach for the proposal
5. Identify ethical, legal, and social issues for responsible scientific research
6. Plan data collection, tasks, and budget
7. Apply knowledge management processes and utilize bibliographic tools in proposal development
8. Verbally communicate the research proposal plans for marketing purposes

List of Learning Objectives Associated with the Competencies

  • Generate a thoughtful, persuasive research proposal ready for submission to a funding agency
  • Specific class sessions and assignments will build students’ ability to:
  • Describe the scientific foundation of the field of public health
  • Identify the basic public health sciences (including, but not limited to biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health sciences, health services administration, and social and behavioral sciences)
  • Recognize the ethical principles in the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of data and information
  • Describe the public health applications of quantitative and qualitative data
  • Describe how data are used to address scientific, political, ethical, and social public health issues
  • Recognize the primary objectives of each section of a proposal
  • Formulate a problem statement and specific research aim
  • Formulate a well-written hypothesis (quantitative) or research question (qualitative) and appropriate specific aims and objectives
  • Develop a targeted review of the literature to relate research aims to the current state of knowledge and use of methods in the field
  • Retrieve scientific evidence from a variety of text and electronic sources
  • Describe the scientific evidence related to a public health issue, concern, or, intervention
  • Distinguish the key components of the problem/question and represent them in a visual “conceptual framework” of the research or program
  • Determine appropriate methods for data collection and outline their implementation
  • Identify stakeholders for participation and collaboration in the study
  • Recognize the integrity and comparability of data
  • Discuss the limitations of research protocols
  • Identify gaps in data sources
  • Identify sources of public health data and information
  • Develop a realistic and feasible budget and timeline
  • Critique a proposal
  • Prepare a proposal for funding from external sources
  • Develop written and oral English communication skills related to scientific research