MSc Occupational Hygiene

Year of entry: 2024

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. 


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 public 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. 

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

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Students will be provided with personalised feedback for their final summative assignment (2,500-3,000 words or equivalent) within 20 working days. 

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 at If you have any other queries, please contact the PGT programme administrators via email at

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