Understanding Evidence for the Real World:Critical Appraisal for Healthcare MED5371

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Health and Wellbeing
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Taught Wholly by Distance Learning: Yes

Short Description

Understanding and appraising the quality of health care research evidence is a necessary skill for all health care professionals and those in training. This on-line course will equip students with the necessary skills to find, appraise and understand a range of different study designs common in the health care research literature, to better appraise numerical data presented in the media, social media and the internet and to better discuss concepts such as risk with patients and public.


This online course will be developed as 10 separate sessions to run over 11 weeks. Each session will comprise online lectures prepared in advance by staff or external speakers (approximately 1 hour in total); with additional tasks such as questions, pre-specified reading, quizzes and discussion forums. There will also be a number of synchronous question and answer sessions hosted by the course coordinator or course contributors.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





Critical appraisal of a set research paper (50%)

A series of on-line exercises (50%)

Course Aims

To produce graduates who are able to access the healthcare literature appropriately; read and appraise that literature critically; understand the key concepts underpinning different study designs; critically appraise the study design results presented in papers; and critically consider the application of those results to their current practice.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

1. Design pragmatic approaches to search the healthcare literature for papers appropriate to their need.

2. Critically evaluate the key concepts underpinning different quantitative and qualitative study designs.

3. Identify and critique different forms of bias inherent in study designs.

4. Critically appraise different types of healthcare research evidence.

5. Critique the presentation of data within healthcare research papers.

6. Critically apply the results of papers to their own healthcare or research setting.

7. Compare and contrast how data are presented in other forums, such as the media and the Internet.

8. Examine and apply approaches to discussing healthcare research evidence with patients and public.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

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