Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions SPS5022

  • Academic Session: 2016-17
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will explore ways in which theory and evidence are used to inform the development of complex interventions, and consider the role of participative research with end users in improving uptake and engagement. Students will develop a critical understanding of the usefulness and limitations of different evaluative designs (e.g. randomised controlled trial, natural experiment, before-and-after, process and economic evaluations) and the use of different research methods (e.g. quantitative, qualitative) in providing evidence of effectiveness and cost effectiveness. The course will conclude with an examination of the transition from development and evaluation to implementation.


2hrs per week, weekly over 11 weeks, to include one reading week in week 5 with no formal contact time, during which students will be expected to develop their two page formative project outline for submission in week 6-7.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





Summative assessment will be through coursework which will include a student and tutor-marked in-course presentation (10-15 minutes) and the development of a project proposal (4,000 words), which will be guided and informed by the formative assessment (the project outline).

Course Aims

This course aims to provide students with an opportunity to develop and apply a critical understanding of how to systematically design, evaluate and implement evidence-based complex interventions, programmes and policies with a clear theory of action to improve key outcomes in their own discipline area (e.g. health, criminology, addiction studies).

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


• Summarise and compare the role of theory, evidence and user perspectives in the design and development of complex interventions/programmes/policies;

• Critically evaluate and contrast the utility and role of different research designs and methods in intervention/programme/policy evaluation;

• Describe and justify appropriate mechanisms to support the translation from research to practice in the implementation of complex interventions/programmes/policies;

• Develop a research proposal to design or evaluate an intervention to improve key outcomes in their own disciplinary area;

• Structure ideas effectively both orally and in written forms, work effectively independently and in groups, and develop effective time management skills.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components of the course's summative assessment.