Principles of Data Collection - MAST8840

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 7 15 (7.5) Alexa Laurence checkmark-circle


Sampling: Simple random sampling. Sampling for proportions and percentages. Estimation of sample size. Stratified sampling. Systematic sampling. Ratio and regression estimates. Cluster sampling. Multi-stage sampling and design effect. Questionnaire design. Response bias and non-response.

General principles of experimental design: blocking, randomization, replication. One-way ANOVA. Two-way ANOVA. Orthogonal and non-orthogonal designs. Factorial designs: confounding, fractional replication. Analysis of covariance.

Design of clinical trials: blinding, placebos, eligibility, ethics, data monitoring and interim analysis. Good clinical practice, the statistical analysis plan, the protocol. Equivalence and noninferiority. Sample size. Phase I, II, III and IV trials. Parallel group trials. Multicentre trials.

In addition, level 7 students will study hierarchical designs: fixed and random effects models; split-plot designs; crossover trials; variance components.


Contact hours

42 hours

Method of assessment

80% examination and 20% coursework

Indicative reading

Barnett, V. (2002) Sample Survey Principles and Methods. 3rd edition. New York, Wiley.
Cox, D.R. (1992) Planning of Experiments. New York, Wiley.
Cochran, W.G. & Cox, G.M. (1992) Experimental Designs. 2nd edition. New York, Wiley.
Cox. D.R & Reid, N. (2000) The Theory of the Design of Experiments. Boca Raton, Chapman & Hall/CRC
Lawson, J. (2015) Design and Analysis of Experiments with R. Boca Raton, Chapman & Hall/CRC.
Matthews, J. N. S. (2000) An Introduction to Randomized Controlled Clinical Trials. 2nd edition. Boca Raton, Chapman & Hall/CRC.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the level 7 module students will be able to:
1 demonstrate systematic understanding of sampling and experimental design;
2 demonstrate the capability to solve complex problems using a very good level of skill in calculation and manipulation of the material in the following areas: sampling,
questionnaire design, analysis of variance, clinical trial design, advanced experimental design;
3 apply a range of concepts and principles in sampling and experimental design in loosely defined contexts, showing good judgment in the selection and application of tools
and techniques;
4 make effective and well-considered use of R for the analysis of data from experiments.

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the level 7 module students will be able to:
1 work competently and independently, be aware of their own strengths and understand when help is needed;
2 demonstrate a high level of capability in developing and evaluating logical arguments;
3 communicate arguments confidently with the effective and accurate conveyance of conclusions;
4 manage their time and use their organisational skills to plan and implement efficient and effective modes of working;
5 solve problems relating to qualitative and quantitative information;
6 make effective use of information technology skills such as R, online resources (moodle), internet communication;
7 communicate technical and non-technical material effectively;
8 demonstrate an increased level of skill in numeracy and computation;
9 demonstrate the acquisition of the study skills needed for continuing professional development.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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