Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions


Analytics and Evidence Based Public Health

Module titleAnalytics and Evidence Based Public Health
Module codeHPDM119
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Dr Gary Abel (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

During this module you should expect to become acquainted with the essential and advanced numeracy needed to be an effective public health decision-maker.  You will then integrate treatment of statistics alongside population health intelligence and data sources. You will also study the principles of study design and critical appraisal before transitioning to evaluation design (including process, outcome and economic evaluations) to develop the foundational literacy in evidence necessary for effective public health decision-making. The assessment will include a take-home exam, a critical appraisal exercise and a study design plan. While predominantly delivered online, you should expect to take advantage of a series of scheduled teaching days and drop-in clinics, as well as opportunities for formative assessment.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to equip you with an understanding on statistical and methodology tools that are used by public health professional to conduction data collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of information. The focus of the module will be on understanding and interpretation, with an introduction to carrying out analysis of data yourself. We will cover a wide range of measures used in public health, understand their limitations, and review the information technology used in calculations. Evidence-based concepts and theories from social and behavioural disciplines and key social and demographic factors that affect population health will also be covered to allow you to bring your knowledge together ready to apply it to real world problems.


This module will cover ASPPH Core 2. Concepts, methods, and tools of public health data collection, analysis and interpretation, and the evidence-based reasoning and informatics approaches that are essential to public health practice.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Understand fundamental principles of statistical inference
  • 2. Know how to interpret results of analyses for public health, policy or practice
  • 3. Use a statistical package to analyse data

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 4. Select quantitative and qualitative methods for public health data collection and analysis to evaluate public health programs
  • 5. Calculate mortality, morbidity and health risk factor rates

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 6. Synthesize information from multiple sources
  • 7. Explore and critically appraise a range of evidence

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:


  • Understanding the need for statistics
  • Fundamentals of statistical inference, role of chance, p-values and confidence intervals
  • Descriptive statistics, data visualisation and population statistics
  • Measures of effect size and relation to study designs
  • Understanding and dealing with confounding – study design, regression, other methods
  • Clustered data in studies and geographic variation, and approaches to deal with it + ecological fallacy
  • Introduction to statistical software (Stata) 
  • Critical appraisal
  • Public health data sources – observatories, healthcare, registries, studies
  • Process evaluation and qualitative data collection
  • Health economics applied to public health
  • Evaluation of public health interventions – RCTs, non-randomised trials, screening
  • Systematic reviews

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 and teaching activities24Lectures, seminars, master-classes to enhance learning through introduction to key topics, specialist areas and role models and diversity of contexts and outcomes
Scheduled learning and teaching activities6Group discussions, practical exercises, simulated case-studies and engagement with real-world scenarios to foster experiential learning with opportunities for peer and tutor feedback.
Guided Independent Study182Web-based learning, resource gathering, and in-depth reading during the period of module delivery.
Guided Independent Study88Preparation and writing of assignment


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Workshop sessionsSmall-group paper writing exercise1,2,5,7Oral
Online journal clubLate in term 1 and throughout term 21,2,5,7Oral
Small-group paper writing exerciseTerm 1 through term 2, with scheduled drop dates for different portions of the paper to be written1-7Oral

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
Take-home, open-book examination4090 min1-7Written
Critical appraisal301500 words1-7Written
Study design301500 words1-7Written


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Take-home, open-book examination (40%)Take-home, open-book examination (90 min)1-7In the term following failure
Critical appraisal (30%)Critical appraisal (1500 words)1-7In the term following failure
Study design (30%)Study design (1500 words)1-7In the term following failure

Re-assessment notes

reassessment is by specific item, with the same task repeated

Please refer to the TQA section on Referral/Deferral:


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The Art of Statistics – David Spiegelhalter

Essential Medical Statistics - Betty Kirkwood & Jonathan Sterne

How to Read a Paper – Trish Greenhalgh

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Statistics, analytics, study design, qualitative research, quantitative research

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date