Nursing (NURS) 603

Facilitating Inquiry


Delivery Mode: Paced/home-study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Corequisite: For MHS Students: MHST 601
For MN-Gen Students: NURS 608

Centre: Centre for Nursing and Health Studies


In MHST/NURS 603, we examine a number of issues related to our roles in facilitating inquiry. We investigate values that drive research questions, and identify appropriate research methods to facilitate inquiry in our fields of practice. We also learn basic elements of quantitative and qualitative research methods. In this journey to facilitate inquiry, we learn to become more research-minded in health care.

Course Learning Outcomes

MHST/NURS 603 is designed to help students achieve the following:

  1. Appraise various research designs in terms of underlying assumptions, appropriateness to a research question, strengths, weaknesses, rigor etc. 
  2. Discuss and appraise ethical considerations in research
  3. Identify relevant published research studies related to their topic area/problem
  4. Critically analyze, appraise and synthesize findings of published research studies in a given topic area/problem, identifying knowledge gaps
  5. Generate a researchable question in the field of health, with emphasis on the “problem” in health while considering gaps in knowledge 
  6. Develop and design an ethically sound, methodologically rigorous research proposal within the field of health
  7. Discuss, summarize and critically evaluate various elements of research methods as applied to a health problem/question
  8. Create the beginnings of a Research Portfolio, with a minimum of 4 artifacts from this course: (1) a realistic and ethically sound research proposal, (2) creation of a website, (3) completion of the TCPS 2 CORE ethical certification (see Unit 6), and (4) a mini dissemination plan (Unit 9). You may add to this portfolio as you continue through your program of study.

Course Materials

The textbook for this course is an Open Education Resource, published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Bhattacherjee, A. (2012). Social science research: Principles, methods, and practices (2nd ed.). Textbooks Collection. Book 3. Retrieved from (Online)

You are also presented with a variety of online, multi-media learning resources including peer reviewed articles from the AU library, e-textbooks, videos, podcasts, TED talks, movies etc. The course topic is well suited to utilizing online resources that allow access to emerging research reports and real-time interviews and newscasts that discuss trends as they are developing. You are invited to share learning resources you discover related to course content with others in the class. Locating additional online resources will assist you in achieving the learning outcomes and your own learning goals, as well as help us develop as a learning community.

Course Overview

MHST/NURS 603 comprises 9 units as follows:

  • Unit 1. Thinking About Research: Getting Started
  • Unit 2. Philosophical Foundations of Science and Research
  • Unit 3. Thinking Like a Researcher
  • Unit 4. Asking the Research Question
  • Unit 5. Does this Design Answer my Question? Planning the Research Study
  • Unit 6. Qualitative approaches to Inquiry
  • Unit 7. Quantitative Approaches to Inquiry
  • Unit 8. Thinking Ethically
  • Unit 9. Utilization & Dissemination Assessment Structure

Assessment Structure, Grading and Style Requirements

The following course activities will contribute to your course grade, with the percentage weighting of each activity as follows:

Participation 15%
Assignment 1:
Outline for Research Proposal

Assignment 2:
Research Proposal (Part I): Introduction and Literature Review (6-8 pages)

Assignment 3:
Research Proposal (Part II): Literature Review and Methods (10-12 Pages) |

Assignment 3:
User’s Guide to Research Methods – Creating a website and presentation (small group work) |

Participation In Group Project 5%
Certificate from successfully completing TCPS 2 Tutorial Pass/Fail
Total 100%

All written assignments of the program must be completed according to the format described in the current edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
In the MHS and MN: Gen programs, students must achieve an overall program GPA of 2.7 ( B- or 70 percent), to graduate. The minimum passing grade requirement for each MHS and MN:Gen course is C- (60 percent).

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.