Improving Health and Society: Programme Development and Evaluation SPS5022

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will demonstrate how to use theory and evidence in the development of programmes to improve health and other social outcomes, and how they can be evaluated rigorously. Students will develop a critical understanding of the usefulness and limitations of different evaluative designs (e.g. randomised controlled trial, natural experiment, and before-and-after, process and economic evaluations) in providing evidence of effectiveness and cost effectiveness.


2hrs per week, weekly over 10 weeks. 20 hours is the requirement for CoSS PGT courses.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





Summative assessment will be through coursework which will include a student and tutor-marked in-course presentation (10 minutes) and a project proposal (3,000-4,000 words), which will be guided and informed by the formative assessment.

Course Aims

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

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

Critically evaluate and apply appropriate steps required to develop health and social interventions in a theoretically- and evidence-based way in order to have the greatest likelihood of effectiveness;

Critically evaluate and contrast the utility and role of different evaluation designs and methods in programme evaluation;

Select and apply the mechanisms to support the translation from research to widespread practice in the implementation of health and social interventions;

Develop a research proposal to develop 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.