HAR6062: Evaluation Methods for Complex Settings

The Complex Evaluation Methods module is led by Steven Ariss and Nasrin Nasr. It runs in the Spring semester and is worth 15 credits.


The Complex Evaluation Methods module is led by Steven Ariss and Nasrin Nasr. It runs in the Spring semester and is worth 15 credits.

It is one of the modules on:

MSc Clinical Research (NIHR for Academic Clinical Fellows) (option)

This module is available as a CPD option

This module is available Faculty-wide in any year as a DDP module


The course introduces key principles for evaluating complex health and social care interventions, and where and why these methods are useful.

It gives broad perspectives while focusing on health programmes and technologies as examples.

Participants are introduced to complex situations, complex interventions and relevant innovative evaluation methodologies. Combined methods, for instance including Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs), are explored.

The course will benefit anyone interested in evaluation, when there is a need to address issues of complexity, which are often overlooked in traditional evaluation methods.

Students will apply their learning to the development of an evaluation design in their chosen area.


This course aims to introduce the key principles of evaluation for complex interventions and where and why these methods are useful for research in health and social care settings.

Teaching activities will give broad perspectives while focusing on programme and technology evaluations as examples. Students will demonstrate learning by developing an evaluation design, in an area of their choosing.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Describe what constitutes a complex intervention or situation
  • Plan the application of methodologies and principles for evaluating complex interventions
  • Develop theories to guide evaluation
  • Appreciate the key issues for data analysis and presentation of findings
  • Discuss the strengths and limitations of methodologies for evaluating complex interventions
  • Demonstrate awareness of the limitation of traditional evaluation methods including PROMs in complex situations

Teaching methods

A “blended learning” approach will incorporate directed independent learning and structured group sessions.

Seminar sessions (4 x 2-hour) will be supported by Blackboard online resources and materials, including 3 x half-hour audio recorded lectures with slide shows. Further, students are expected to do preparatory work for (3 x 2-hour) tutorials including reading recommended materials and completing preliminary exercises.

Students will also take part in 2 x 2 hour presentation sessions with group discussion and feedback.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

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