HAR6044: Systematic Approaches to Evidence Assessment (online)


The purpose of this module is to provide the skills and knowledge required to conduct rapid assessments of the evidence base and then to apply these assessments to health management and/or clinical practice. It introduces and explains rapid review methodologies that seek to optimise the balance between rigour and relevance, ensuring the timely and judicious use of evidence that is both user sensitive and context dependent. This module will also address the growing demand for knowledge translation of research findings, specifically within the context of developing countries. A key feature is production of a culturally-sensitive action plan that takes into account local feasibility and implementation issues.


This module aims to enable students to develop an understanding of evidence based public health and the skills in evidence assessment required to produce a context-specific rapid review and action plan. Students will make a detailed analysis of an issue, topic or problem of their choice and report their findings together with an accompanying implementation strategy.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students will be able to:

  1. Describe the key principles of evidence based public health and how they are used in healthcare organisations.
  2. Assess the different methods of evidence assessment and the contexts within which they are used.
  3. Recognise the importance of quality assessment as a key component of evidence production.
  4. Analyse the main activities required to produce a rigorous, relevant and timely evidence product situated within a local, regional, national or international context.
  5. Explain how evidence assessments may contribute to appropriate decision-making within their own organisation.
  6. Evaluate the impact of evidence-based recommendations in terms of feasibility, acceptability and implications for practice.
  7. Assess how implementation-related issues moderate the effectiveness of evidence-based interventions, programmes or policies.
  8. Interpret evaluation mechanisms which can be used to evaluate the impact/success of evidence based public health approaches.

Teaching Methods

This module is delivered completely online.  Distance learning software and other interactive technologies will be used to facilitate communication, teaching and learning. Students will be expected to carry out independent study and to prepare for interactions with tutors and the class by undertaking guided reading and/or specified learning activities, including analysis of case studies, published research studies and implementation plans. A mixture of recorded lectures, online seminars and tutor-monitored activity in asynchronous online discussion groups will be used in the delivery of this unit.


Independent Study (including preparation for assessments) 150 hours.


A portfolio based approach will enable students to achieve a structured progression through the critical stages of evidence assessment i.e. identification and prioritisation of important questions or issues, location and assessment of the evidence base, and consideration of applicability to the student’s chosen context, compiling key deliverables at each stage (80%). Having assessed the relevant evidence base students will develop a brief structured implementation (or action) plan and will present this in a visual/audible format (20%)

Component(s) Weighting
Evidence Portfolio (2.500 words) 80%
Implementation (Action) Plan 20%

Note: The pass mark is 50%.