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Postgraduate Skills and Evidence

Module titlePostgraduate Skills and Evidence
Module codeHPDM028
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Professor Ruth Garside (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Postgraduates are informed by research from the forefront of their academic discipline. To appropriately assess and apply this evidence to policy/practice, you need to be able to identify, critically appraise and synthesise best available evidence – quantitative and qualitative - on a given topic. This module therefore provides effective, transferrable postgraduate skills to facilitate evidence based practice.


No pre-requisites or specialist knowledge are required to undertake this module, which is well suited to interdisciplinary learning. Delivery is via expert-led small group learning, interspersed by personal study undertaken at your own pace and supported by our internet resources.


The majority of this module is delivered online, with some content delivered in-person during the Foundation Week.

Module aims - intentions of the module

You will develop a detailed practical understanding of how to critically appraise and synthesise current evidence from a variety of sources, whilst examining how the evidence base thus derived can also be effectively applied to their own area of practice.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate a theoretical and practical understanding of the design and analysis of qualitative and quantitative research studies
  • 2. Demonstrate an independent ability to critical appraise, evaluate and synthesise a contemporary evidence base

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Understand how to appraise the nature of the current evidence base in your own area of professional practice and interpret it in the context or policy relevant questions

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Critically reflect on own learning needs in support of a personal development plan as an advanced scholar and evidence-based practitioner

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows:


Masters level skills, academic writing and evidence based practice


Personal skills appraisal


Deriving an evidence base


Locating, storing and organising research evidence


Critical appraisal of quantitative and qualitative research


Formal methods of evidence synthesis (e.g. meta-analysis; meta-ethnography)

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning & teaching activities15All student taught sessions: - Face-to-face scheduled lectures in week 1, then lectures, Q&A sessions, small-group discussions in tutorials and seminars in synchronous sessions on Teams/Zoom. - Small-group discussion in tutorials and seminars in person in week 1, and then synchronous group discussion on Teams/ Zoom - Workshops involving face-to-face classroom teaching in week 1, and then by synchronous sessions on Teams/Zoom
Guided independent study35Session preparation and follow up work utilising resources provided on ELE including asynchronous structured materials (such as short pre-recorded lectures, podcasts, asynchronous workshop activities, discussion forum posts and so on)
Guided independent study100Reading and assignment preparation


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Class discussions and small group work activitiesEach taught session1-3 Facilitator and peer feedback in class and via synchronous or asynchronous online discussion.
Personal skills auditDiscussed in a taught session4Facilitator and peer feedback in class

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Critical appraisal25750 words1,2Written
Systematic review literature review752000 words1-3Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Critical appraisal (25%)Critical appraisal (750 words)1, 2Typically within six weeks of the result
Systematic review protocol(75%)Systematic review (2000 words)1-3Typically within six weeks of the result

Re-assessment notes

Please refer to the TQA section on Referral/Deferral:


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Cronin P, Ryan F and Coughlan M. (2008). Undertaking a literature review a step-by-step approach. British Journal of Nursing. 17(1); 38-43.

Bryman A. (2008). Social Research Methods. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Garside R. (2013). “Systematic review and synthesis of qualitative research” in Understanding and Using Health Experiences. Zeibland S, Locock L and Calabrese J (eds). Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Web based and electronic resources: Please also see ELE above for up to date electronic resources.

Collaboration for Environmental Evidence Guidelines for Systematic Review and Evidence Synthesis in Environmental Management. 2013. Version 4.2

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

ELE – HPDM028 2020/21 Module Pages

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Postgraduate skills, evidence based practice, systematic review, literature review, evidence synthesis, quantitative evidence, qualitative evidence, human health, environment.

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date