Research Issues in Family Medicine/Primary Care



This course provides an introduction to research methods in family medicine and primary care. By itself, it is not intended to provide the training necessary to do research. However, it is an excellent first step for those wanting to pursue advanced training in primary care research. The course will familiarize the student with the principles of research methods, research design, and clinical measurement and will reinforce critical appraisal skills.

Each session will consist of a brief clarification of key concepts by the tutor, followed by interactive group discussion about the assigned exercises. Reading of the course materials and completion of the assigned worksheets or exercises is required preparation for each session.


The objectives for this course are for participants to:

  1. Develop an approach and acquire the skills for addressing family medicine and primary care research questions using appropriate research methods;
  2. Understand the types of research designs used in clinical and epidemiologic research;
  3. Be able to critically appraise a biomedical research article;
  4. Understand the threats to the validity of different study designs, and to become familiar with and apply the methods used to enhance the validity of clinical research;
  5. Produce a complete concise draft of a research protocol;
  6. Help others in the class to develop these skills and protocols;
  7. Provide feedback that will improve the workshop and its materials; and,

Format: Lecture / Seminar


First Assignment: Critical Appraisal– 15%

Second Assignment: Outline of Proposed Study – 10%

Final Assignment – 40%

Class Presentation of Final Assignment – 20%

Class Participation – 15% (includes responsibility for leading question period following an assigned classmate’s Class Presentation)


Hulley SB, Cummings SR, Browner WS, Grady DG, Newman TB. Designing Clinical Research: An Epidemiologic Approach (Third Edition). Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2013.



Participants must be licensed in a recognized health profession or a senior trainee therein.