MPH Public Health (Web-based Learning) / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Evidence Based Practice

Course unit fact file
Unit code POPH60041
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


An important aspect of public health practice is using evidence to inform changes in delivery, design and policy.  All public health professionals need to be able to confidently and competently access, appraise and apply different types of evidence.

This course will provide practical skills and theoretical understanding to help you develop evidence-informed practice. The first part of the course will develop your skills in finding research evidence to inform your professional practice. The second part of the course will develop your critical appraisal skills and the practical application of evidence into practice. 

This is an interactive online course. Students are expected to progress through the 10 weeks of taught course material at the same pace and engage in weekly discussion boards with their peers and tutors. 

10% of the total marks for this course will be awarded for assessed group discussion board activity. You must participate in the weekly group discussions throughout the course to access these marks.


To develop practical skills in searching for and appraising different sources of evidence and a theoretical understanding of perspectives on evidence-based practice.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, successful students will be able to:

  • Find existing sources of evidence relevant to clinical and non-clinical health questions.
  • Be able to critically appraise common research designs and assess the published literature.
  • Understand how to apply evidence to inform professional practice and decision making.
  • Understand the strengths and limitations of traditional concepts of evidence-based practice and how these relate to their own work or profession.
  • Understand and apply alternative approaches to maximise the potential benefit from scientific enquiry, to improve the way in which health care is provided.


  • Introduction to evidence based practice
  • Defining the research question
  • Finding the evidence
  • Appraising the evidence
  • Critical perspectives on evidence based practice
  • How to incorporate the ideals of evidence based practice into contemporary ways of working

Teaching and learning methods

This course involves working through the course notes and videos provided online, linked references and other online sources of information. You will be encouraged to use self-reflection to help you think about the ideas discussed, and take part in discussion board activities. You will be required to develop skills in searching for published literature using electronic databases as part of the course. You should work through the unit in a logical sequence. The calendar in Blackboard will guide you as to what you should be doing and when. It is essential you follow this guidance so that you are doing the same topic at the same time as your fellow students. Participation in the discussion boards is greatly encouraged, and generally those students who do participate do better in their written assignments. Participation in the assessed discussion board activity is mandatory and worth 10% of the overall marks for this module.


Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students will be expected to demonstrate an ability to search for and analyse the relevance of articles and journals to current evidence based practice.
Students will be able to identify new opportunities, generate solutions, make improvements and to think creatively and enterprisingly in order to evaluate previous applications of evidence-based practice.
Problem solving
Students will need to evaluate current practice to demonstrate the ability to apply a logical approach to be able to re-assess the hierarchy of evidence and the application of problem-based practice.
Written communication
Students will need to be able to communicate their arguments coherently in the assignment questions demonstrating literacy and a strong command of the English language.

Assessment methods

Assessment task



Weighting within unit

Discussion boards

Quality of engagement in group discussions



Midterm assignment

Written assignment 1,500 words 30%

Final assignment

Written assignment 2,500 words 60%


Feedback methods

Students will be provided with personalised feedback for their mid-term and final summative assignments, within 15 working days for mid-term assignments and 20 working days for final submission. 

Further opportunities for formative feedback (on non-assessed work) will also be provided during a course unit.

Recommended reading

There is no set text book.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Paula Whittaker Unit coordinator

Additional notes

This unit is a core unit for the MPH, MRes, Postgraduate Diploma, and Postgraduate Certificate. It is expected that students will complete this module in their first semester of study.

This unit is also available as an optional unit to students studying on the Public Health Professional Development programmes.

For further information please watch this video from our Course Unit Leader:

If you have any questions about the content of this unit, please contact the course unit leader, Paula Whittaker, via email on If you have any other queries, please contact the PGT programme administrators via email on

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