Research Methods in Health & Social Care Practice MSc

The programme has an authentic approach to learning activities and assessments. Real-world scenarios are embedded across the programme.


This programme has a competitive edge over other taught MSc programmes that focus on research methods, as it has a strong focus on the long-term strategic process of how a problem is addressed in practice, i.e., developing and shifting focus from understanding a problem right through to designing solutions, and then implementing and evaluating them. The programme embeds core themes of impact, working in partnerships, co-production, co-design, and implementation. These themes run through all the modules on the programme.  

The programme takes a practical and applied approach and will equip you with the relevant transferable academic skills, professional/practical skills and knowledge to practice in a manner that informs your ability to plan, prepare and produce high quality, impactful and authentic outputs.
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Mode of Study:

Part-time (available as Part-time)


2 years

Course details

You will gain skills, knowledge and understanding of quantitative, mixed and qualitative methods to evaluate complex interventions within health and/or social care practice. The programme also focusses on developing your interest, knowledge and understanding of how impact/practice changed can be achieved through the balancing of quality improvement and research.

Through lectures, guest speakers and case studies, you will develop an advanced understanding of the issues and concepts involved in planning and implementing a research study (within health and social care practice).  The programme and module teaching are delivered online using the university virtual learning environment (Moodle). They include learning activities as well as personal study and preparation for assignments.

Popular Modules: 

Year 1   
Developing Real World Research Skills (20 credits) 
Introduction to Qualitative & Mixed Methods (20 credits)
Introduction to Quantitative Methods (20 credits) 
Quantitative Data Analysis (20 credits) 
Qualitative and Mixed Method Data Analysis (20 credits) 

Year 2  
Developing Interventions for Real World Impact (20 credits) 
Dissertation (60 credits) 

Lead Academics: 

Dr Lisa O’Leary is the MSc Programme Lead. Her teaching and research interests relate to intellectual disabilities, qualitative research, mixed/multi-method approaches, coproduction, designing and evaluating complex interventions and systematic reviews. She has led and collaborated on research projects that have used these methodologies. Lisa also has a background in social care/sociology and is a member and working group leader in the Centre for Mental Health and Capacity Law in the School of Health and Social Care. She reviews for a range of a health and social care publications and is associate editor for the Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual disabilities.  

Professor Nadine Dougall is a Professor of Mental Health & Data Science. She is highly experienced statistician and has published numerous papers in this area. Nadine sits on the Chief Scientist Office (CSO) of The Scottish Government’s Health Improvement, Protection & Services (HIPS) Research Committee funding panel. She is highly experienced in complex interventions in health sciences having led, designed and collaborated in numerous CSO, NIHR and Irish HRB-funded health research studies.  

Dr Jennifer Murray is an Associate Professor of Decision Science. She is an Associate Fellow and Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society. Dr Murray is an active researcher in the areas of forensic psychology and applied health research, with an overarching theme of risk and decision making connecting these. She is passionate about developing useful, theoretically sound interventions and outputs from my research. She regularly collaborates across multidisciplinary teams, also working closely with and involving relevant stakeholders in her work to make it as applicable to ‘real practice’ as possible. 

Dr Iain Atherton is a Reader in Nursing with expertise in population health. He is also Co-Director of the ESRC funded Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research. He is interested in the interaction between health care practitioners in their day-to-day work and large-scale population trends. These interests are reflected in his research and teaching. He is also passionate about education and has published in the field of nursing pedagogy.

Dr Carol Gray Brunton is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow with the British Psychological Society with expertise in qualitative health research (spanning a range of methodologies including thematic analysis; discursive approaches; grounded theory; IPA and mixed-methods). She is a member of various BPS associated groups. Carol’s areas of teaching and research expertise primarily focus on health and social experiences including (1) experiences of cancer (2) professional role identities and service evaluations and; (3) critical approaches to vaccine confidence/hesitancy.
Dr Elaine Carnegie is a lecturer, researcher and healthcare professional with over 25 years’ experience spanning healthcare, academic and third sector arenas. Training and experience include research and policy, healthcare management, general nursing, psychiatric nursing, learning disability nursing and drug counselling complimented by Master of Medical Science in Primary and Community Care and Nursing Doctorate. Her Doctoral thesis and subsequent research focus on community environmental health.

Dr Anna Bak-Klimek is a lecturer and researcher. She has teaching and research expertise in mental health of vulnerable populations. Areas of research expertise include systematic reviews, quantitative research approaches and mixed methods.  She has   knowledge and experience in developing and delivering psychological interventions for neurodiverse populations.

Dr Andrew Maine is responsible for mentoring and managing early career researchers within School of Health and Social Care. Dr Maine areas of research/teaching expertise include critical perspectives of nursing, systematic reviews and quantitative methodological approaches.  

Guest talks from researchers include:

Professor Thanos KaratziasProfessor Jill StavertProfessor Colin McKayProfessor Glenn Robert (Kings College London)Professor Lis NeubeckProfessor Anna CampbellDr Coral HansonAlice PearsonsJan SavincMichelle JamiesonDr Janet HanleyDr Natasha SpassianiLucy JohnstonDr Janette PowProfessor Nicola RingProfessor Liz HughesProfessor Alison Porter Armstrong 

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    How you’ll be taught

    This part-time online course will start in January and will be structured to support the student thought the journey.  The programme will take 24 months to complete (depending on whether you are interested in obtaining the postgraduate certification, Diploma or MSc qualification).   

    You will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods for Health & Social Care Practice on successful completion of 60 credits from any three out of the five 20 credit SCQF level 11 taught modules on the first year of the programme.

    You will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Research Methods for Health & Social Care Practice on successful completion of 120 credits from the six SCQF level 11 taught modules on the programme. To achieve a MSc, you must achieve a minimum of 180 credits at SCQF level 11 including a minimum of 60 credits achieved from a dissertation project and the 120 credits from the 6 SCQF level 11 taught modules.

    The modules on the programme will be taught by research active staff who have expertise, within healthcare and/or social care. We will have guest lecturers from academics across Edinburgh Napier University and from within health/social care practice.
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    The programme is predominantly assessed with coursework assignments. These take form of authentic assessments and includes reports; literature reviews, projects, practical data analysis, presentations; plan for complex interventions, portfolios and a dissertation.
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Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

What are the entry requirements for Research Methods in Health and Social Care Practise?

The entry requirement for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at a 2:2 or above, or equivalent. We look for applicants to have a relevant background in Health, Health Sciences, Social Care or Social Sciences in order to be eligible for the programme.

We may also consider lesser qualifications if you have sufficient professional work experience within the industry.

Can I get admission into Research Methods in Health and Social Care Practise based on my working experience in this sector?

This course has academic entry requirements which are assessed alongside relevant work experience. Full details of any relevant work experience, including references should be submitted with your application and may be considered for entry where the minimum academic entry requirements are below those required.

Usually, unrelated work experience is not considered sufficient for entry without meeting the minimum academic entry requirements. Please contact us with your specific circumstances by submitting an enquiry form above and we will be happy to discuss your options.

Can I make an appointment with an advisor to discuss further about the admission process?

If you want to get more information on the admission process, please get in touch with the Postgraduate admissions team by submitting an enquiry form above.

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test.  The English Language requirements for this programme are IELTS (Academic) with an overall score of 6.5 with no individual component score of less than 6.5.  For guidance on the acceptability of other English Language tests please contact

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.
We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2024/25 2025/26
Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland-Taught modules *£1,105 *£tba
Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland-60credit Dissertation module £650 £tba
Overseas and EU-Taught Modules *£2,820 *£tba
Overseas and EU-60credit Dissertation £1,900 £tba
Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
Fees for modules are calculated according to the number of credits (multiples of 20). The rate shown in the table is for 20 credits*. The total fee you will pay is dependant upon the exit award you wish to achieve.
The University offers a 20% discount on Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes to its alumni. The discount applies to all full-time, part-time and online programmes. The discount can only be applied to year one of a full-time Postgraduate degree, any additional years are exempt from the discount. For part time Postgraduate degrees the discount will apply to years one, two and three only and any additional years will be exempt from the discount.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.

Please note:

The discount for Edinburgh Napier alumni can only be applied to year one of a full-time Postgraduate degree, any additional years are exempt from the discount.

For part time Postgraduate degrees the discount will apply to years one, two and three only and any additional years will be exempt from the discount.

Please read our full T&C here


Four graduating people, 3 women and 1 man, standing outside Usher Hall with their graduation gowns, holding their degrees in their hands, being very happy.

What can you do with a degree in Research Methods in Health and Social Care Practice?

By studying Research Methods in Health and Social Care Practice at Edinburgh Napier University, you will gain crucial practical skills in problem solving, communication, report writing and will develop your analytical skills which will prepare you for working in a range of roles within health and social care. This may include working in research, within a hospital, government, the private sector and social care as well as the third sector. You will also learn more about how to work autonomously, which will be of benefit to students thinking about going onto doctoral level study, and builds on skills such as research communication and dissemination. There will also be opportunities to have your research published, which will aim to advance your career in the health and social care field. If you are interested in solving and improving health problems and coming up with solutions, then this might be the right course for you.

What does a health and social care researcher do?

As a health and social care researcher, you will have an advanced understanding of individual and community health issues through your research, in which you will come up with solutions to healthcare issues. You will have strong leadership, and analytical and problem-solving skills, with the ability to develop initial research and communicate what you have found to a range of different people and stakeholders.

Daily tasks and responsibilities within this role may include:

  • Research design and planning
  • Data collection
  • Publishing reports
  • Advising on public health policy
  • Implementing research into practice in health and social care settings
Two graduating women throwing their graduation caps in the air outside Usher Hall, wearing graduation gowns and looking very happy.