HP436      Half Unit
Evidence Appraisal for Health Policy Analysis

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Pepita Barlow COW 2.05


This course is available on the MSc in Global Health Policy, MSc in Health Policy, Planning and Financing, MSc in International Health Policy and MSc in International Health Policy (Health Economics). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Priority will be given to students in the Department of Health Policy.

Course content

This course aims to introduce students to different ways in which evidence is generated and can be used to inform health policy. Taking a case-based approach, students will be introduced to a selection of key health issues and approaches to intervention in order to appreciate how different types of quantitative and qualitative evidence can inform analyses of complex policy problems. Students will also learn to interpret and critique health policy research and formulate policy-relevant conclusions from study results. Examples will be drawn from low-, middle-, and high-income countries, and will focus on forms of evidence and interventions that regularly feature in health policy analysis. Students will also be encouraged to draw on examples from their own countries and to relate the course content to their professional experience. Students will gain practical skills and learn to apply the concepts covered during the course to develop an evidence-informed policy brief.

Following the completion of this course, students will have an advanced understanding of the role of research in policy analysis and the role of theory in health policy research. Students will also be able to interpret the results of research concerning contemporary health issues and interventions, formulate policy conclusions, and develop an evidence-informed policy brief. Furthermore, students will be able to critically discuss evidentiary hierarchies in health policy and describe the respective roles of different approaches to evidence generation and their use in informing specific health policy questions.


15 hours of lectures and 13 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the MT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 2 pieces of coursework in the MT.

  • 1 x 1,000 word policy brief
  • 1 x problem sheet (up to 1,000 words across multiple questions)

Indicative reading

  • Craig, P., Dieppe, P., Macintyre, S., Michie, S., Nazareth, I. and Petticrew, M., 2008. Developing and evaluating complex interventions: the new Medical Research Council guidance. BMJ, 337, a1655.
  • World Health Organization, 2012. Health policy and systems research: a methodology reader. Geneva: World Health Organization.


Policy brief (50%) and problem sets (50%) in the LT.

Additional information:

Policy brief (2,000 words, worth 50% of final grade)

Problem sets (Problem sheet - 2,000 words across multiple questions, worth 50% of final grade)

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Health Policy

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication