Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)


Department: Health [Queen's Campus, Stockton]


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2007/08


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To extend understanding of routine data and other sources of information related to public health and health improvement and provide a grounding in how these data may be used to inform decision making.


  • 1. Sources of data and information for public health intelligence
  • 2. Community profiles
  • 3. Health needs assessment (HNA)
  • 4. Commissioning for health improvement
  • 5. Equity audit (HEA)
  • 6. Health (and health inequality) impact assessment (HIA)
  • 7. Scrutiny
  • 8. Indicators, Targets and performance monitoring in public health
  • 9. Surveillance
  • 10. Evidence base for public health interventions

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of module students will have developed a critical understanding of:
  • The sources, availability and limitations of health related data
  • The development of health information
  • Methods for informing public health decision making and the advantages and limitations of available approaches
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will have gained skills in undertaking:
  • Health Needs Assessment
  • Health Equity Audit
  • Health Impact Assessment
Key Skills:
  • The ability to think critically and creatively and to argue coherently;
  • The ability to think independently, including problem-solving ability and the ability to discriminate and use judgement;
  • The ability to organise data, abstract meaning from information and share knowledge at an advanced level;
  • The ability to select and use appropriate advanced numerical techniques;
  • Enhanced ability to make effective use of Communication and Information Technology;
  • The ability to work effectively in inter-professional and inter agency contexts and to critically assess the relevance and validity of others’ views, contributions to care planning and service delivery.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • • Lecturing - Introduces key elements of the course - Outlines and explains the various sources of public health intelligence and rationale for their use in informing decision making
  • • Tutorials and seminars - Allow students to work through concepts in more detail, providing both teacher and peer led input, and developing students' ability to design research projects that are, where appropriate, discipline-specific and/or interdisciplinary as appropriate
  • Structured reading - allows students to pursue topics in greater detail enabling both familiarity with key texts and data sources and a deeper understanding of the subject knowledge generally
  • Independent study, research and analysis - Focuses student knowledge more deeply by pursuing aspects of the module that are of special interest to themselves and exploring specific applications in their field of study.
  • Essay assessment will test students’ critical knowledge and understanding of key concepts, their ability to argue coherently and communicate effectively in writing, and to reflectively assess their proficiency in thinking through how information related to public health and health improvement may be used to inform decision making

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lecture 10 weekly 1 hr 10
Tutorial/seminar 10 weekly 1 hr 30 mins 15
Structured Reading 10 sets weekly 3 hrs 30
Library researching/Independent study Student initiated Student determined 95
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Written work Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay assignment 3000 words 100% assignment

Formative Assessment:

A presentation in tutorial groups to the assignment topic.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University