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Unit information: Critical appraisal for Health and Wellbeing in 2021/22

Unit name Critical appraisal for Health and Wellbeing
Unit code SPOLM0052
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Li
Open unit status Not open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

Aims – This course aims to introduce students to the breadth of research in health and wellbeing, and to enable them to critically appraise a range of study methodologies.

The objectives are

To introduce students to the range of research undertaken in the field

To introduce students to the principles and practice of critical appraisal

To discuss research papers, their methods and findings

Intended Learning Outcomes

On the successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. recognise a range of research designs,
  2. Identify and apply appropriate critical appraisal tools (CAT)
  3. Identify appropriate reporting guidelines for healthcare studies
  4. locate relevant research studies
  5. describe a range of study methods and findings
  6. appraise study quality, and lead and contribute to debates about research methods
  7. present summaries of research
  8. reflect on the process of critical appraisal, and consider the strengths and weaknesses of CAT

Teaching Information

Teaching in this Unit will be delivered through blended learning across TB1 and TB2, including group seminars (either face to face or online in line with social distancing guidance) and guided, pre-seminar, asynchronous activities. Staff will lead some of these sessions whilst others will be student led and facilitated. Feedback will be provided for the formal assessment as well as each student-led session.

Assessment Information

Formative assessment (Pass/fail): Select and lead student discussion of an appropriate research paper. This assessment is associated with Intended Learning Outcomes 2, 3, 4, and 6.

Summative assessment: A portfolio of structured summaries of research papers, to include use of published Critical Appraisal Tools (CATs). Any research papers published in peer-reviewed journals which address human health and wellbeing, using any research method are eligible for inclusion.

In total the portfolio should be to a maximum of 4,000 words (excluding the critical appraisal tools themselves).

The assessment for the unit is not a traditional essay, responding to the focus on application of skills above subject knowledge. This assessment is associated with Intended Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and 8.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. SPOLM0052).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.