The Short Course that I’m coordinating is called Fundamentals of Research Design, which we call FORD as its little short name. As the name says it’s about research design and understanding research methods. What we do in that course isn’t to just explore how you would conduct research, although you will learn those skills. It’s also about how you understand research, so even if you don’t see yourself as becoming a researcher or scientist, that will help you be able to look at research information, maybe in your workplace, and interpret which research is good and which research is not so good. Aberdeen University has a world-renowned reputation in research, not just in the individual research we do, so we have a lot of really top quality research in things like cancer research, maternal women’s health, lots of the health fields where we are really leading the way, but in particular we have the health services research unit here. Now what they are is a group researchers who focus on how we run trials and do health services research, so other universities actually come and commission us to help them design and run their work. So those people that are running those services here will be your tutors on this programme. These are the people who teach you, so you’re getting the best scientists, not just in the field, but also in research methods who will be guiding you through this course. Normally in research methods you learn about science communication and how to disseminate your findings at the end, because we teach you how to do your science first. But actually we’ve turned that on its head and we teach you that at the beginning, because it’s really important if you know at the beginning what the message is that you want to get out, and how to get that message out, as this helps guide you with how you do your research. We also then go on from – how do you get your message out? – to how do you design the best study possible? Then we go through your study design, we look at personal practice, study conduct: how do you manage your study in an ethical way? But also in a professional way: how do you manage participants? How do you deal with using somebody else’s data? We do both quantitative and qualitative. I’d say one of the key things about this course is that it’s the launch course. So if you’re at the moment sitting looking at a range of our short courses, maybe you’re thinking about doing a PGCE or Masters, and you’ve got to make some choices on electives, and you’re not really very sure. What is epidemiology? What is Health Informatics? Firstly, don’t feel bad about that, we don’t expect you to know that at this stage. This course will give you a little taster of every one of those and then you can go: I really liked Health Informatics or Qualitative Research really got me, and that will help you make those choices as to what other courses might be in the mix that you want to build for your future studies. So what we do from the very beginning of this course is we’re working on you developing a research proposal. A research proposal is where you set out a piece of research, a question, a burning question that you want to know the answer to, something you’ve always thought: but why is that? We help you structure that into a proper scientific question, work out how you could test it, and you build that proposal. So you work on that all the way through the course and every week you’re getting tutor support on how you build the next part. You submit that at the end and the feedback you get from that will help you take that forward. So if in your career you’re going to have to apply for a grant, you’ve written your grant proposal during this course. Or, you’re thinking of going on to do a PhD, you’ve written the proposal that you will need to then submit to go for that PhD. Or maybe it’s for a master’s project, so for all these reasons the assessment isn’t designed just to assess you, it’s actually going to produce for you a document which will be useful for you. The Short Course is taught fully online so you can do that in your own time, from anywhere that suits you. All the material is available from the beginning and it’s a series of different types of material that you would use. So there are websites we will send you to, there are documents for you to read. We have videos and we have some lectures that we’ve already recorded for you to watch over, and we also have a lot of discussion boards and we really encourage students to use the discussion boards. There will always be tutors monitoring those, but also it will help you get to know the other classmates and build your own research network as you meet other people who are studying alongside you. Having looked back over the last few years and how much time students have actually put in, we think it takes between 10 to 15 hours a week commitment and that 10 to 15 hours is broken down to I think about 5 hours to work through the teaching material each week that we have on there, and then we’re allowing about another 5 to 10 hours for you to take on board that learning and actually turn it into knowledge. So it’ll take about 10 hours, maybe 15, depending on the different topics.