MSc Occupational Hygiene / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Working with Communities

Course unit fact file
Unit code POPH60072
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


This module concentrates on developing theory and practice for those who have or may want to develop a health promoting role within communities. Whilst it is helpful to have some experience of working with a community, it is not a pre-requisite, as we can all draw on personal experience of being a member of range of groups and communities.

Communities can be widely defined but common ones are geographical or place-based, faith-based, communities of professional practice, interest focussed (e.g. hobbies) or simply communities of common characteristics. Increasingly we consider communities that are in the virtual and digital environments as well as those that exist in a tangible face to face sense.

Students who have a remit to work with a community often work for community health services, NGOs or charity projects, and they find this module useful, stimulating and confidence boosting. Increasingly however community specific programming, and community engagement methodologies, are becoming relevant across the whole breadth of public sector activities.

People experiencing and developing communities within the virtual and digital world as well as in their physical and social spaces also require health promotion and supportive community development The course explores the evolution of methods online.

This is an interactive online course. Students must work through the online course material. Students are encouraged to use the Blackboard discussion boards to ask questions and check their understanding of the course material.


  • Students will acquire a critical understanding of the principal methods and theoretical approaches to participatory methods in the delivery of health promotion programmes in a range of settings.
  • Students will be able to apply their learning to an assignment focussed on developing, planning and evaluating participatory approaches in response to healthcare and health promotion issues in their professional roles, workplaces or other communities.

Learning outcomes

Our aims are that on completion of this course unit, course members will:

  • Have a critical understanding of the rationale underpinning working with communities, its contradictions, and the theoretical approaches to community involvement and community development.
  • Be able to apply their learning to developing ways of involving people in the planning, process and evaluation of community-based projects.
  • Understand the place and contribution of community health development to contemporary public health practice.
  • Have considered the digital dimension emerging for community health development
  • By the completion of this unit, the specific objectives are that, successful course members will be able to:
  • Define lay perspectives of health and ill-health, and explain and critically discuss how lay perspectives should be incorporated into population health
  • Explain and critically discuss the principal methods and theoretical approaches to working with communities
  • Connect and apply their learning about theories and methods of lay and community involvement within their own work-based role or alternatively their own personal communities
  • Explain and critically discuss "asset" based ways of working and the concept of co-production of health, recognising their application in practice


  • Lay perspectives on health and disease and their determinants. Understanding cultural diversity, social detriments, and their impact on health.
  • Philosophy of community-orientated, participatory approaches and community development
  • Salutogenesis together with the theory and practices of asset based community development
  • Models of participation - consultation to participation to delegation and empowerment
  • Methods of involving the public to improve health and reduce inequalities.
  • Sources of evidence for the effectiveness of participatory approaches, and issues in the evaluation of participatory approaches.
  • Social capital and sustainability.
  • Participatory health needs assessment, community profiling and asset based approaches.
  • Participatory and inter sectoral health promotion approaches, including community development methods.
  • Advocacy and social action for health through communities.
  • Innovation in working with virtual and digital communities.
  • Designing, implementing and evaluating a participatory approach to address community health issues.

Teaching and learning methods

The learning process will be largely web-based appraising and applying information to relevant problems and scenarios from a range of mainly web-based resources. You are also encouraged to explore topics from your own settings. Sharing your ideas and thoughts about `Working with Communities’ with your tutors and fellow course members is vital. This is a two-way process - your comments can stimulate further exploration by your fellow course members and their comments can produce further learning and understanding in yourself. This helps you to apply the knowledge you have learned and you are better able to prepare for the assignments.

Webinars will be undertaken at regular intervals through the Unit and participation in these is expected of students as is active and full engagement in discussion boards throughout the unit which supports the materials.

Formative feedback is given in a variety of ways including peer comments as well as tutor comments via the discussion board activities. This kind of feedback is not allocated marks but is an integral and very important part of the learning process.

All students will receive written feedback following the  final summative assignment.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students will critically analyse the principal methods and theoretical approaches to public inclusion in decision making about health care development/implementation and will evaluate approaches to participation in health promotion and public health.
Project management
Students will be required to consider the development, planning, and evaluation of participatory approaches in response to healthcare and health promotion issues in their professional roles, workplaces or other communities.
Planning and Organisation, Time management, Action planning, Adaptability, Self-awareness, and Personal impact-confidence.

Assessment methods

Written assignment 2500-3000 words or equivalent (100% worth of marks).

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

No required text

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Andrew Rogers Unit coordinator

Additional notes

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

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