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PUH8040 Public Health in Practice B: Research Project Planning

Semester 2, 2021 Online
Short Description: Research Project Planning
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Health and Wellbeing
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 061399 - Public Health not elsewhere cl
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 21 July 2021


Examiner: Janet Hou

Other requisites

Students must be enrolled in Masters of Public Health, or any other Masters degree programs.


Public health practitioners require critical thinking skills to foster decision making and ensure that an evidence-based approach is applied. This course aims to integrate theory, research and practice in order to translate classroom-based knowledge to understanding and applying evidence which aims to improve public health programs and outcomes. Using a case-based approach with real world scenarios, this course will provide students with the knowledge related to critically appraising programs, including designing a research / assessment plan. The course content and outcomes are informed by the Council of Academic Public Health Institutions of Australia (CAPHIA). Please note, that while CAPHIA does not provide accreditation for courses, they represent universities that offer public health programs and aims to promote high academic standards in public health education and practice.


The course is the last of the four integrated courses. It builds upon the integrated approach to public health presented in previous The focus of this course is to equip students with the knowledge and skills to critically evaluate public health programs, using an evidence-based approach. Upon completion of this course, students should have identified the topic and drafted a research proposal for their research to be conducted as part of the Masters of Public Health degree.

This course contains three (3) mandatory online workshops.


On completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Interpret mixed method research findings relevant to a population’s health including those generated through qualitative methods.
  2. Evaluate a population-based disease prevention / control strategy.
  3. Analyse and discuss key elements of evidence-based approaches to environmental risk management and hazard control.
  4. Discuss key standards and apply appropriate assessment tools and methods to determine factors that affect health in a given community or population, using this information to design and evaluate evidence-based health promotion initiatives.
  5. Analyse and prioritise health problems for specific populations using an evidence-based approach.
  6. Evaluate an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health promotion program in consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and health services.
  7. Evaluate a population health program / project outcomes relative to performance standards, objectives and negotiated specifications.
  8. Plan an independent research project focussed on a public health-related topic.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Critically appraising public health initiatives 10.00
2. Evidence-based approach to public health 10.00
3. Reviewing literature 10.00
4. Research methods and evaluation 10.00
5. Determinants of health 10.00
6. Research proposal 50.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

There is no specific textbook prescribed for this course. Peer-review publications and government-based reports will inform course content and be provided by the teaching team.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
There are no reference materials in this course.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 60.00
Directed Study 65.00
Online Lectures 24.00
Online Tutorials or Workshops 6.00
Supervisor Consultation 10.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Objectives Assessed Notes
Online Workshops 50 10 02 Sep 2021 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 (see note 1)
Assessment 1 100 35 09 Sep 2021 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 (see note 2)
Assessment 2 100 40 11 Oct 2021 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 (see note 3)
Forum Discussion 50 15 28 Oct 2021 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 (see note 4)

  1. This course contains a mandatory online workshop and attendance is included as an assessment component. Students must attend at least 80% of the time allocated to workshops.
  2. Assessment 1 is a literature review related to the research topic forming part of the student's research project.
  3. Assessment 2 is a research proposal related to the research topic forming part of the student's research project.
  4. Weekly tasks and discussions will be posted on the forum. Students will be graded based on their contributions (initiating and contributing to discussions).

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no weekly attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students’ responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. Students are expected to contribute to forum discussions weekly. Students must attend mandatory online workshops in weeks 3,6 and 11.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks for that item. In addition, students must attend at least 80% of the time allocated to the workshops.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course. In addition, students must attend at least 80% of the time allocated to the workshops.
    Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items but failed to achieve a passing Final Grade by 5% or less of the total weighted Marks.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure (point 4.4.2).

  6. Examination information:
    NO EXAM: There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Deferred and Supplementary examinations will be held in accordance with the Assessment Procedure

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Students must familiarise themselves with the USQ Assessment Procedures (

  2. Referencing in assignments must comply with the Harvard (AGPS) referencing system. This system should be used by students to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (APGS) style to be used is defined by the USQ library’s referencing guide. This guide can be found at

  3. As part of the mandatory online workshops, students are be expected to complete tasks (contributing to assessment 1) as advised by the course examiner.

Evaluation and benchmarking

In meeting the University’s aims to establish quality learning and teaching for all programs, this course monitors and ensures quality assurance and improvements in at least two ways. This course:

  1. Conforms to the USQ Policy on Evaluation of Teaching, Courses and Programs to ensure ongoing monitoring and systematic improvement.
  2. Forms part of the MPUH – Masters of Public Health (and GDPUH, GCPUH)and is benchmarked against the:
• internal USQ accreditation/reaccreditation processes which include (i) stringent standards in the independent accreditation of its academic programs, (ii) close integration between business and academic planning, and (iii) regular and rigorous review.
• professional accreditation standards of the Council of Academic Public Health Institutions Australia (CAPHIA)

Other requirements

  1. Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at

  2. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in this course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect the same grades as those students who do possess them.

  3. The dates and location of the recommended residential school are available from the Residential School Timetable (

Date printed 21 July 2021