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PG Cert Research Methods for Social Science & Health student profiles

Find out more about students past and present  following our Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods for Social Science & Health.


Alan D'Arcy, Full Time, 2012 - 13

Alan---photo---smallI am currently a civil servant with a background in sciences (biology and chemistry) and environmental regulation and public policy. I have worked in the public, private and academic sectors over the past 25 years and in a variety of roles. I have grown-up children and an extended family in the north west of England and I live with my partner in London.

I was looking for a post-graduate course in social research methods which would consolidate my "on the job" learning and develop my knowledge and skills - hopefully making me a more "intelligent client" for work I and my colleagues commission and to be better able to understand, interpret and challenge others research.

Having researched available courses, the King's IOG course seemed to fit the bill for my needs, combining qualitative and quantitative methods, design and data analysis - coupled with the opportunity to study at King's.

I hope to improve my knowledge and understanding of social reseach methods and be able to commission better quality research and ensure that best use is made of the evidence gathered through research and surveys.

The post-graduate certificate has to fit around my work and family life. This requires commitment and a preparedness to sacrifice some evenings and weekends to ensure I keep up with the reading and assignments. However, I definitely get a lot out of it... I have already become more confident in challenging research findings and this has helped me at work in securing better value for money from projects. I have also developed much clearer ideas of potential work to commission and even found myself wondering about a change in career direction based on the subject areas I have studied. The teaching is, as you would expect at King's, of a very high standard.

Deborah David, Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods for Social Science & Health, Full Time


I have an initial biomedical science background but in recent years, have also qualified and worked as a dietitian in both the acute and community healthcare settings. Throughout my previous studies and employment, I encountered various research techniques and felt it was now time to develop a deeper understanding of various research methods and processes. I chose to study the Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods course at King’s College London as it is one of the top universities and has a reputation for high standards. I felt this qualification would undoubtedly enhance and enrich my existing skills and knowledge. I would say that the course has been challenging, but well worth the effort and I am hopeful that this qualification will allow me to be better placed to pursue either further postgraduate study or successfully secure suitable employment within the healthcare policy and research field

Claire Gibbs, Postgraduate Certificate Research Methods for Social Science & Health, Full Time

As an Intensive Care Nurse I have encountered huge changes in critical care practice over the five years since qualification. I commenced my current role as a Critical Care Clinical Research Sister with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in May 2010 and it has proven to be extremely diverse, far more perhaps than I had anticipated. I cover the Trust’s three Intensive Care Units and quickly became involved in preparing documents and protocols for Research Ethics Committees and Research and Development approvals, as well as the preparation, implementation and overall management of more than a dozen clinical trials. You may assume, as many others have, that preparation for the huge responsibility this job entailed specialist courses and receiving close guidance from others; however lack of funding within the NHS and a lack of a specific pathway meant I was learning everything ‘on-the-job’.

A simple Google search for a course in Research Methods pointed me towards King's, Institute of Gerontology and their new ‘Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods for Social Sciences and Health’. Further investigation found the course to contain exactly the criteria I had in mind and appeared unique in this aspect in comparison to courses advertised from other universities. Whilst my background does not specifically relate to gerontology this course is directed at health professionals from any area who wish to gain an enhanced understanding of research methods in connection with their professional role.

After being awarded a Research Scholarship from The Florence Nightingale Foundation I was able to commence the course in September 2010 and was easily able to transfer the learning to date into my daily practice. It has given me the confidence to write and conduct my own study which has perhaps been the biggest learning experience of all. The wealth of knowledge of the tutors is second to none and their support and encouragement has been wonderful. I would encourage anyone who wishes to apply research as part of their practice, no matter what their clinical background, to apply for this course as it gives a solid foundation on which to build.

Since completing the course my partner and I have decided to relocate to Norfolk. The course has enabled me to apply and be successful in obtaining a Band 7 (G grade) Senior Research nurse Lead for a large hospital with the Norfolk and Suffolk Local Clinical Research Network. I would not have been eligible to apply for the job had I not completed this course and perhaps more importantly, I would not have had the confidence to undertake the role.

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