A34574: Types of protocols and projects to consider

The key purpose of your protocol and project work is that of teaching and learning, and so you need to consider the knowledge and skills you wish to acquire: this may be more important to you than the specific topic.

Bear in mind that the Division is particularly strong on quantitative epidemiological studies rather than those that rely on social scientific methods. For public health students this does not mean that you cannot undertake a project with a qualitative methodology but we do have limited capacity to supervise these. Applied Epidemiology students will be expected to undertake a quantitative project.

The following are all tried, tested and successful approaches within which you can demonstrate what you have learned. 

  • Collection of original data which is analysed and interpreted
  • An analysis of an existing data set, with a relevant introduction and interpretation of the findings
  • MPH(IH) are expected to bring with them ideas for projects and/or data with which they have been involved. In such cases students must ensure that ethical requirements are met in the country of origin. Alternatively, you may use the project to learn a transferable skill, such as in-depth analyses of data originating in this country or collaboration with a local health service
  • Carrying out an integral but identifiable part of a larger project located in an academic department, clinical or community based health-related setting, clearly indicating the roles of the project team and what was achieved by you
  • One part of an on-going programme in your place of work, such as an evaluation, health needs assessment or epidemiological piece of work
  • A systematic review of literature
  • An in-depth critical appraisal of the relevant literature leading to recommendations for policy or practice.

Bear in mind that the question you set yourself may not require you to collect new data. For example, you may be able to answer your question by a rigorous critique of policy documents, analyses of existing documents or existing data, stringent critical appraisal of material found in peer reviewed journals, local literature or that found on the Web, or understanding and interpreting the results of analyses, rather than necessarily carrying out the analyses yourself.
If your project will have implications for practice and change, or will be suitable for publication, so much the better.