Search for contacts, projects,
courses and publications

Advanced Research Methods in Health Communication


Petrocchi S.

Course director


At the end of their journey, students of the Master programme in Communication Management and Health acquire specific skills to become experts in the communication processes involved in the healthcare sector. They also obtain advanced knowledge to become digital marketing and social media specialists in the healthcare system. Other relevant professional paths for our students directly involve research activities, such as coordinating clinical or academic research, and writing about science. Among others, two common foundational skills for all those students’ professional career paths are the ability to demonstrate an advanced understanding of the research process and to critically read and assess work from scholarly literature. Research is the principal means through which knowledge is advanced in any field of science. Understanding the logic of the research means not only being able to appreciate the rigor and the complexity of research but also being able to enter into the dialog as a protagonist. Journal articles provide content for debates among experts and laypeople, evidence for policymakers, and foundations for decision-making. Therefore, a clear understanding of advanced research methods, together with skills of critical assessment of scholarly literature, allow students to challenge the wall of facts presented by scientists.

This is an advanced course meaning that it is assumed that students have previously had a course in research methods. It is highly recommended that students in the course have access to their textbooks from their prior research methods course or other social science research methods references.

A list of suggested readings (books) are provided below
A list of mandatory readings (papers) will be also provided during the first lesson.


  • To achieve an advanced understanding of the research process, the logic of research, and the main steps of research in health communication science
  • To obtain an advanced ability to critically analyze journal papers and scientific literature in the field of health communication science to inform decision-making
  • To reach an advanced understanding of the varieties of the research design
  • To demonstrate an advanced understanding of the measurement, the levels of measurements, validity, and reliability of measures
  • To obtain a comprehension of the sampling in the field of health communication
  • To become familiar with data interpretation and data meaning

Teaching mode

In presence

Learning methods

Class sessions will be focused on the application of concepts via exercises, assignments, group works/group discussions, and presentations. There will be sessions of review of key concepts followed by exercises on the application of these concepts and methods.  Articles from the health communications, public health, and medical literature will provide vehicles for study. Individual readings and individual assignments will form the bulk of the asynchronous learning activities.

Examination information

Course evaluation is based on individual and group assignments, class participation, and the preparation of three individual key assignments.

- Assignments and class participation: 30%. Deadlines will be set for submitting each of the assignments.

- Individual Key assignment: 70%. A deadline will be set for submitting the assignment.

Requirements to pass the course: To successfully pass the course, students need to pass all three of the above-described course components. Further, students can be excluded from class, resulting in a failure of the course, if they do not attend the class regularly.

Unexcused absence is not permitted and can lead to an exclusion from the course. Absence of two or more times requires a medical certificate.