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Research Approaches in International Health

Deadline: 15 July 2023

Short Courses

  • Face-to-face

5 ECTS Credits



About the course



Using evidence-based decision-making is of paramount importance in public health to ensure that interventions are effective, reach the targeted population, and align with available resources. Understanding and appreciating research approaches are fundamental in the process of interpreting and using research findings.  

This is an introductory course to research approaches in international health. It covers different research disciplines, including epidemiology and statistics, social sciences, and implementation research. It prepares you to recognise, appraise and use a variety of health research methods, both quantitative and qualitative.  

Completion of this introductory course component is a pre-requisite to follow advanced course components on research methods, advanced epidemiology and statistics. 


The short course “Research approaches In International Health” focuses on different research approaches and their challenges. The course will provide you with the basic skills needed to apply descriptive epidemiology and inferential statistics, to visualise and interpret quantitative data and to recognise the value and good practices of a qualitative research approach. In addition, the course develops your competence to critically appraise research approaches (e.g. ethics, study design, methods and conclusions) and to interpret results in the scientific literature.  


Are you a health professional interested in international health, and you want to strengthen your research skills or to sow the seeds of your future academic career, including a Master or PhD training? Then this course is for you!  


The course integrates the expertise of an interdisciplinary ITM teaching team including epidemiologists, population health scientists, statisticians, social scientists and health systems scientists.  

Together with the teaching staff and a diverse group of course participants, you will discuss case studies from various contexts fostering international exchange and comparative analysis.  

The course can be taken as a standalone course or as part of a postgraduate certificate programme (of 20 or more credits) of ITM: Postgraduate Certificate - Research and Challenges in International Health or Postgraduate Certificate - Tropical Medicine and International Health

Learning objectives

Upon completion of the course, you will be able to: 

  • Determine the importance of evidence for decision-making 
  • Summarise the role and scope of research in international health 
  • Distinguish between the perspectives of different research disciplines and domains in international health: epidemiology, social sciences, and health policy and systems research  
  • Explain the difference between and the complementarity of qualitative and quantitative approaches in research 
  • Recognise research discipline and study design in a scientific article and interpret the findings 
  • Critically appraise the quality of the evidence in a scientific article 
  • Identify and appraise issues related to research ethics in a scientific article  
  • Apply concepts and methods of epidemiology and statistics 
  • Analyse quantitative (research and routine) data using the statistical software “R” 
  • Judge the value and good practices of a qualitative research approach 
  • Clearly communicate the results of different research approaches 

Tuition fee

€ 730 EEA / 1900 non-EEA

Course Leader(s)

  • Beatrijs Vuylsteke
  • Bernadette Hensen

Course Coordinator(s)

  • Deogratias Katsuva

Course Administrator(s)

  • Anne Thoelen
  • Gerlinde Segers
  • Cathy Liu