Practice of Evidence-Based Health Care


Appraising the evidence to answer your clinical question

This module will introduce the basic concepts and skills of evidence-based health care. Students will be facilitated to turn clinical queries into focussed questions, from which they can search the evidence. Participants will learn the skills to develop a search strategy for use across several databases. They will also learn about the importance of matching a research question with the most appropriate study design, and then be guided through suitable critical appraisal techniques, so that they can understand how and why published research can be used in clinical practice. Students will learn with peers in small groups, and through the week, they will have the opportunity to decide on a relevant question, search the evidence and present a critical appraisal for shared discussion.

The last date for receipt of complete applications is 5pm Friday 22nd September 2023. Regrettably, late applications cannot be accepted.


By the end of the course the student will be able to:

  • Formulate an answerable clinical question
  • Search for relevant publications quickly and efficiently
  • Critically appraise various types of studies, including randomised controlled trials (RCTs), systematic reviews of RCTs, Diagnostic, Prognostic and Qualitative studies
  • Understand some basic statistical concepts required to interpret studies
  • Consider translation of evidence into practice


Comments from previous participants:

"I liked the ability to look at and analyse the evidence."

"I liked the multidisciplinary audience and interactive lectures."

Programme details

This module is run over an eight week cycle where the first week is spent working on introductory activities using a Virtual Learning Environment, the second week is spent in Oxford for the face to face teaching week (this takes place on the dates advertised), there are then four Post-Oxford activities (delivered through the VLE) which are designed to help you write your assignment. You then have a week of personal study and you will be required to submit your assignment electronically the following week (usually on a Tuesday at 14:00 UK Local Time).



Description Costs
Continuing students enrolled on MSc Evidence-Based Health Care £2250.00
New students enrolled on MSc in Evidence-Based Health Care £2340.00
New Students enrolled on Postgraduate Cert in Health Research £2340.00
Short Course in Health Sciences £2890.00


Details of funding opportunities, including grants, bursaries, loans, scholarships and benefit information are available on our financial assistance page.


If you are an employee of the University of Oxford and have a valid University staff card you may be eligible to receive a 10% discount on the full stand-alone fee. To take advantage of this offer please submit a scan/photocopy of your staff card along with your application. Your card should be valid for a further six months after attending the course.


Dr Claire Friedemann Smith

Module Coordinator

Claire Friedeman Smith's interests include non-communicable diseases in particular cancer and cardiovascular disease, evidence-based diagnosis, and how the way in which medical information is communicated affects patients' awareness of disease and likelihood undertaking health protective behaviours.

She is a senior post doctoral researcher investigating the effectiveness of the Suspected CANcer (SCAN) pathway, the use of 'gut-feelings' in GPs' decision making, and how safety-netting advice can be most effectively communicated to patients

Dr David Nunan

Module Coordinator

David Nunan is Director of the MSc EBHC (Teaching and Education) and Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching Evidence-Based Health Care awards. He has a central role in the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine’s teaching and education activities at undergraduate (Oxford medical school) and postgraduate level. His research interests include meta-epidemiology, research bias, nonpharmacological interventions for chronic disease, primary care and public health and medical education. He is a Fellow of Kellogg College.

Assessment methods

Assessment will be based on submission of a written assignment which should not exceed 4,000 words.

Academic Credit

Applicants may take this course for academic credit. The University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education offers Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) points for this course. Participants attending at least 80% of the taught course and successfully completing assessed assignments are eligible to earn credit equivalent to 20 CATS points which may be counted towards a postgraduate qualification.

Applicants can choose not to take the course for academic credit and will therefore not be eligible to undertake the academic assignment offered to students taking the course for credit. Applicants cannot receive CATS (Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme) points or equivalence. Credit cannot be attributed retrospectively. CATS accreditation is required if you wish for the course to count towards a further qualification in the future.

A Certificate of Completion is issued at the end of the course.

Applicants registered to attend ‘not for credit’ who subsequently wish to register for academic credit and complete the assignment are required to submit additional information, which must be received one calendar month in advance of the course start date. Please contact us for more details.

Please contact if you have any questions.


This course requires you to complete the application form and to attach a copy of your CV. If you are applying to take this course for academic credit you will also be required to provide a reference. Please note that if you are not applying to take the course for academic credit then you do not need to submit a reference.

Please ensure you read the guidance notes which appear when you click on the symbols as you progress through the application form, as any errors resulting from failure to do so may delay your application.

Selection criteria

Admissions Criteria:
To apply for the course you should:

  • Be a graduate or have successfully completed a professional training course
  • Have professional work experience in the health service or a health-related field
  • Be able to combine intensive classroom learning with the application of the principles and practices of evidence-based health care within the work place
  • Have a good working knowledge of email, internet, word processing and Windows applications (for communications with course members, course team and administration)
  • Show evidence of the ability to commit time to study and an employer's commitment to make time available to study, complete course work and attend course and university events and modules
  • Be able to demonstrate English Language proficiency at the University’s higher level


Accommodation is available at the Rewley House Residential Centre, within the Department for Continuing Education, in central Oxford. The comfortable, en-suite, study-bedrooms have been rated as 4-Star Campus accommodation under the Quality In Tourism scheme, and come with tea- and coffee-making facilities, free Wi-Fi access and Freeview TV. Guests can take advantage of the excellent dining facilities and common room bar, where they may relax and network with others on the programme.

IT requirements

Please ensure that you have access to a computer that meets the specifications detailed on our technical support page.