Introduction to Empirical Research

General Course Information

Course Director Name:  Ian Baptiste Course Lecturer(s) Contact Information:   

Course Director Contact Information: 

Course Lecturer(s) Office Hours: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thurs: 1:30 – 5:00 PM 

Course Director Office Hours: NA

Course Director Office Location: In-Person, Caribbean House or Online

Course Support:   Technology-enhanced learning through the use of the SAKAI course management software, and the Examplify testing platform. Readings specific to each topic are posted on SAKAI. These include PowerPoint presentations (PPTs) on every topic (they serve as study guides). Augmenting the PPTs are pdfs of selected textbook chapters, journal articles, and links to instructional audio-visuals.

Office Hours: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thurs: 1:30 – 5:00 PM: 

By appointment only, via Signup Genius

Click on the link below to sign up. 30 mins per slot. Do not schedule more than ONE slot per day.

In the “Comments” section on Signup Genius please indicate the following:

  1. Whether you’re attending in person or via Zoom, and
  2. Whether you’re scheduling for yourself or your group

Course Management tool: To learn to use Sakai, the Course management tool, access the link

Course Curriculum Information

Course Description: 

What the course is about

What is empirical research? Is it the same thing as scientific research? What distinguishes it from institutional research and other ways of knowing? What are internationally established standards and criteria for interpreting (describing and assessing) empirical, health science, research? These are the major questions examined in this course.

Benefits to you, the students

Upon successful completion of this course, you (the students) will:

  • Develop skills needed to describe and assess the design components of peer-reviewed journal articles that follow the IMRaD format. 
  • Developing these skills will help you in other courses in which you are expected to make use of empirical research articles.
  • You will also find the skills developed here useful in your everyday live – as informed consumers of health science research: at home, school, workplace and community.

Course Objectives: 

Student Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete the course would be able to:

  1. Describe how empirical research is distinguished from institutional research and other ways of knowing,
  2. Describe and assess design components of empirical health science research,
  3. Describe and assess research findings
  4. Describe and assess quality indicators and strategies
  5. Identify and assess components of hypothesis testing research—i.e., types of variables, levels of measurement, and measures of association.

Topics Covered

  1. Levels of measurement
  2. Relationships among variables
  3. Measures of association
  4. The nature of empirical inquiry 
  5. Design considerations
  6. Levels of research procedures
  7. Research approaches – quant, qual, ad mixed
  8. Research quality

SAS Grading Scale: Grades will be assigned as follows:

A  = 89.5% or better

B+ = 84.5 - 89.4%

B  = 79.5 - 84.4%

C+ = 74.5 - 79.4%

C = 69.5 - 74.4%

D = 64.5 - 69.4%

F = 64.4% or less

Course Materials:

Text: We will not be using a textbook for this course. Required readings and other course materials are posted under the RESOURCES tab on Sakai.

Course Requirements:

You will be graded on three (3) quizzes (MCQs) and two Article Critiques. The article Critiques are team efforts. Guidelines for each graded assignment are provided on separate handout.

Assignments Breakdown

Due Date/Period



Thurs Feb 10

Quiz 1 (10 MCQs)


Fri Mar 18

Article Critique 1


Midterm Week

Quiz 2 (30 MCQs)


Fri Apr 29

Article Critique 2


Final Exams Week

Quiz 3 (40 MCQs)


Course Schedule



Week 1 – Jan 18 & 20

Orientation and course introduction Levels of measurement

Week 2 – Jan 25 & 27

Levels of measurement

Assessing quality in measuring variables

Week 3 – Feb 1 & 3

Assessing quality in measuring variables Relationships among variables

Week 4 – Feb 8 & 10

Integrated Exams Quiz 1 (Feb 10)

Week 5 – Feb 15 & 17

Relationship among variables

Measures of Association

AC1 Action Plan due (Feb 17)

Week 6 – Feb 22 & 24

Nature of scientific inquiry Design considerations

Week 7 – Mar 1 & 3

Design considerations

Week 8 – Mar 8 & 10

Integrated Exams Quiz 2 (Mar 10)

Week 9 – Mar 15 & 17

AC1due (Fri Mar 18)

Levels of research procedures

Week 10 – Mar 22 & 24

AC2 begins (Mar 24)

Levels of research procedures Quantitative approaches

Week 11 – Mar 29 & 31

Qualitative approaches

Week 12 – Apr 5 & 7

Integrated Exams

Week 13 – Apr 12 & 14

Mixed methods research

Week 14 – Apr 19 & 21

Research quality

Week 15 – Apr 26 & 28

AC2 Due (Fri Apr 29)

Week 16 - May 02 - 06

Final Exams Week

Quiz 3

School of Arts and Sciences Master Syllabi — Info for All Sections

Plagiarism Policy

Academic Integrity

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

Plagiarism is regarded as a cardinal offense in academia because it constitutes theft of the work of someone else, which is then purported as the original work of the plagiarist. Plagiarism draws into disrepute the credibility of the Institution, its faculty, and students; therefore, it is not tolerated” (p. 48).

Plagiarism also includes the unintentional copying or false accreditation of work, so double check your assignments BEFORE you hand them in.

Be sure to do good, honest work, credit your sources and reference accordingly and adhere to the University’s Honor Code. Plagiarism and cheating will be dealt with very seriously following the university’s policies on Plagiarism as outlined in the Student Manual.

Your work may be subject to submission to plagiarism detection software, submission to this system means that your work automatically becomes part of that database and can be compared with the work of your classmates.

Attendance Requirement

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

Students are expected to attend all classes and or clinical rotations for which they have registered. Although attendance may not be recorded at every academic activity, attendance may be taken randomly. Students’ absence may adversely affect their academic status as specified in the grading policy. If absence from individual classes, examinations, and activities, or from the University itself is anticipated, or occurs spontaneously due to illness or other extenuating circumstances, proper notification procedures must be followed. A particular course may define additional policies regarding specific attendance or participation” (p. 9).

Examination Attendance

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

All matriculated students are expected to attend all assigned academic activities for each course currently registered. Medical excuses will be based on self-reporting by students. Students who feel they are too sick to take an examination or other required activity on a specific day must submit the online SAS medical excuse, which is available on Carenage. Students are only allowed two such excuses a year. Upon consultation with the Director of University Health Service, the third excuse will result in a mandatory medical leave of absence. The policies regarding make-up examinations are at the option of the Course Director” (p.46).

For additional specific examination policies and procedures, refer to the St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020), pages 31 through 37.

Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services Policy

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

A student with a disability or disabling condition that affects one or more major life activities, who would like to request an accommodation, must submit a completed application form and supporting documentation to the Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services (SAAS) located in the Dean of Students Office. It is highly recommended that students applying for accommodations do so at least one month before classes begin to allow for a more efficient and timely consideration of the request. If a fully completed application is not submitted in a timely fashion, an eligibility determination may not be made, and accommodations, where applicable, may not be granted prior to the commencement of classes and/or examinations” (p. 8).


It is the responsibility of the student to read and understand the policies, laws, rules and procedures that while they could affect your grade for a course, have not been specifically outlined in the course syllabus. These are contained in the St. George’s University Student Manual.