Course Details - Clinical Research Methodology in a Nutshell

Key Facts

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Surgical team members need to be research literate in order to design and appraise quality improvement programmes, critically appraise research outputs and, in some cases, design clinical studies or even trials. This course also alerts delegates to the investigational possibilities of patient engagement and of routinely collated national datasets. Acquired skills also comprise part of CCT requirements in most surgical specialities.

Course Tutors to include: -

  • Mr Alexander Laird PhD FRCSEd(Urol), Consultant Urological Surgeon and Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer, The University of Edinburgh and Western General Hospital
  • Prof Janet Wilson MD FRCSEd FRCSLT (Hon); RCSED Council Member; Emerita Professor of Otolaryngology, Newcastle University
  • Dr Paula Leslie FRCSLT (UK) & CCC-SLP (USA), Reg HCPC. Member American Society for Bioethics & Humanities. RCSLT Professional Advisor; Center for Biethics & Health Law, University of Pittsburgh, Affiliated Faculty
  • Dr. Bhuvaneswari Bibleraaj, DNDM, DRCS, NMP, MPhil, PhD, SFHEA, PFHEA, NTF, FFPCEd. Reader in Health and Social Care and Postdoctoral NIHR Research Fellow Edge Hill University, Manchester
  • Mr Daniel Good MA MB BCh BAO MRCSI MSc PhD, Consultant Urological Surgeon, Western General Hospital Edinburgh
  • Dr. Holly Tibble, PhD. Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Medical Informatics, Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh.

Target Audience

Trainees of all grades; SAS doctors; Allied Health Professionals; Consultants.

Learning Style

The emphasis is on interactive and group work interspersed with concise expert talks. Pre-course work is required.

Aims & Objectives

To deliver:

  • an understanding of the principles of research methodology to critically appraise the literature and practice evidence based medicine
  • the basic principles and tools to develop their own research / QI project

Learning Outcomes

By attending this course, you will gain the core skills of research designs and methods. You will be able to: - identifying a feasible research question - Demonstrate an understanding of clinical research design and quality improvement audits (Service improvement, Service evaluation etc). - Confidently collect and understand the principles of data collection (prospective, retrospective), current data protection and GDPR guidelines. - Demonstrate understanding of ethical process, funding streams, access to national databases - Appreciate the vital importance of patient engagement. - Acquire the rudiments of data analysis and interpretation. - Understand the key elements of a successful abstract and commonly used reference management software program to use the endnote and other referencing programmes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I contact the Education Section?

The Education Section is open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.  If you wish to contact a member of the team please see contact details below:

Education mailbox:

Phone number:  0131 527 1600

Will I receive CPD?

All RCSEd educational activity is awarded CPD hours. Please see individual course for specific award.

Will I receive a Certificate?

Yes, RCSEd Certificates of Attendance are awarded for all educational courses and are handed out at the end of the course (however, please note that where an event has a PASS or FAIL this will be posted to you after the event). 

What is RCSEd’s course cancellation policy?
  1. What happens if RCSEd cancels a course I am booked on?
  2. On occasion, RCSEd may need to cancel a course, for example if we are affected by an event out with our control or if it is not financially viable for us to deliver the course. If we do need to cancel, we will let you know as soon as possible and provide you with a full refund of course fees paid.

RCSEd shall incur no further liability (eg. travel or accommodation costs). You may wish to consider taking out appropriate travel insurance for any non-refundable costs you may incur when arranging to attend the course.

  1. What happens if I need to cancel my place on a course I am booked?
  2. If you cancel your place more than four weeks before the event date, you will incur an administration fee of 10% (or £50, whichever is greater) of the total course fee. NB: For course fees £250 and under, the cancellation fee is £30)

If you cancel your place less than four weeks before the course date, once the course has started, or you do not notify us, the total course fee will be charged, and no refund will be given.

Please also note that you cannot transfer your place on a Course to someone else.  This is because many of our courses have a waiting list, and we have an obligation to honour this.

  1. Can I cancel a course booking online?
  2. NO, cancellations must be made directly with the education team by email (
  3. Can I transfer to another date for the same course?
  4. YES, you can transfer to another date by contacting the Education section directly ( Please note that you can transfer only once and transfers can only be made if more than 4 weeks prior to the start of the course, without incurring additional costs.  Should you cancel again, no refund shall be given.

Should you have any further questions, the Education Team can be contacted on 0131 527 1600 or by email to

How do I book a place on an RCSEd course?

You can book a place for all our courses by visiting the RCSEd website, and selecting the course you wish to book.  Please note that you will need to register with the website in order to book.

For some regional and international courses you will need to book directly with the centre.  Please check individual courses for details.

You can also contact the Education Section by phone to book (0131 527 1600).

What payment methods do RCSEd accept?

Visa and MasterCard are accepted on the RCSEd website and over the phone to the education team.

All course bookings will receive a booking confirmation email:  this email acts as your receipt.

Request an Invoice:  If your course fees will be paid by a third party (eg trust, hospital, charitable fund) and they wish to be invoiced then they must provide us with an official purchase order.  We are unable to process applications without this.

The purchase order should be submitted with the application form and can be emailed to  Please note that we can only invoice organisations and not individuals.  Please check with your hospital or trust, as some may require you to pay yourself and then claim the money back.

Do I receive a discount if I am a Member of RCSEd?

A 10% discount is applied to all educational courses and events organised directly through RCSEd, for Members, Fellows, Associates and Affiliates.

Are you able to help me with my VISA application?

YES, RCSEd can provide you with a Visa support letter confirming the course details and fees paid by you.  This is only possible once you have booked your place on a course and RCSEd have received the full course fee.

If a course is fully booked what can I do? Is there a waiting list?

If a course appears full and you wish to be placed on a waiting list then please contact the education team directly by email or phone 0131 527 1600.

Do you provide lunch or refreshments?

YES, for all educational courses, refreshments are served throughout the day and lunch is provided if the duration is one day or more.


Additional Information

Pre-course requirements:

  • Acquire online or equivalent GCP certificate
  • Ensure any local mandatory clinical data protection / GDPR training up to date 
  • Identify a topic area you might be interested to explore in future with research or QI
  • Identify a piece of informal research (not necessarily medical) from written news / other media – eg investigative TV journalism
  • Find out what your local Trust; Trials Unit or regional PPI group hub comprises
  • Study the two quantitative and qualitative papers circulated

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Get in touch

If you have any questions about this course, please contact us and a member of our Education team will be happy to help you.

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
Education Section

Phone: +44 (0)131 527 1600
Fax: +44 (0)131 557 6406