Speech & Language CPD

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Evidence Based Practice & Service Evaluation in Speech & Language Therapy - Part A

Course unit fact file
Unit code HCDI63541
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Full year
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit builds on the Clinical Research strand of the programme. In preceding learning, students will have had the opportunity to develop core knowledge and understanding in clinical research and to practise using and interpreting statistical tests.  

Through online materials, problem based learning tasks and seminars, students will consider the following content in two parts:

Part A1:

  • The scope of evidence based practice in speech and language therapy and evidence based questions
  • Starting the evidence based process
  • The purposes of creating evidence
  • External evidence, assumptions and myths

Part A2:

  • Quantitative research methods in evidence based practice
  • Hierarchies and levels in evidence based practice
  • Critical appraisal of evidence: validity and reliability
  • Practice in appraisal of individual studies.


The unit aims to:

  • Provide students with the opportunity to develop practice-focused skills in evidence based practice methodologies.
  • Provide students with a variety of opportunities to extend their knowledge and understanding of the nature and importance of different types of evidence
  • Provide students with an understanding of the challenges and influences on evidence-based practice in speech and language therapy.
  • Provide students with opportunities to extend their knowledge and understanding of the steps involved in the evidence based process with respect to external and internal evidence and patient-focused research.
  • Provide students with the opportunity to revise and develop their understanding of appraising validity and impact of research as evidence
  • Provide students with opportunities to gain the knowledge and understanding to carry out a critical appraisal of individual research studies.  

Provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding, to self evaluate and to receive feedback from tutors.


Teaching and learning methods

This course will be delivered using a range of online audio, video materials and interactive features within the Blackboard eLearning environment.

Each of the 2 parts of the course unit will have relevant online interactive learning materials to assist the student’s evaluation of their own independent learning.

Discussion board topics, formative on-line quizzes and a number of Learning Journal tasks (where the student is asked to reflect on their learning outcomes and record their findings in an online journal tool) offer further opportunities to explore each topic. Learning journal tasks also allow formative assessment of learning through directed reading.


Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate familiarity with the main principles of evidence based practice in speech and language therapy and related disciplines.
  • Apply EBP principles to the evaluation and design of research relevant to practice.

Intellectual skills

  • Demonstrate understanding of the quantitative methodologies and their role in establishing validity of effect
  • Critically evaluate a variety of quantitative methodologies used in primary and secondary evidence creation.

Practical skills

  • Demonstrate ability to carry out a critical appraisal using appropriate checklists
  • Create clinical questions that relate to practical application of evidence with patients and other client groups

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Understand sources of evidence and create a customised set of library searches.
  • Participate actively in group discussions and blogs. about the application of evidence to practice,
  • Communicate effectively on-line with tutor.  
  • Demonstrate the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Feedback from the on-line quizzes will be automated and immediate, recommending which areas of study require further work, allowing students to self-evaluate their work and understanding.

The submission of the on-line Learning Journal will allow the student to evaluate their engagement with the teaching material and will also contribute to the planning of their final assignment.

A summative mark and detailed, individual tutor written feedback will be provided following the submission of the written assignment.

Throughout the unit, students will have the opportunity to self-evaluate their work and understanding using both the Discussion Board tool and during problem-based learning activities in tutorials.

Recommended reading

Centre for Evidence based Medicine Critical Appraisal tools


Hoffman, T., Bennett, S. & Del Mar, C. (Eds.) (2013). Evidence-based practice across the health professions. 2nd Ed. Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, London.

Joanna Briggs Institute Evidence base resources


Melnyk, B & Finehoult-Overholt, E (2014) Evidence based practice in nursing and healthcare: a guide to best practice. Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins: Philadelphia.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Paul Conroy Unit coordinator

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