In this course you will be introduced to different types of decision-making and the level of evidence you will need to make different types of decisions in health services management.

Some decisions need evidence and you will learn how to search the literature for evidence related to a health services issue. Some decisions require the highest level quality of evidence so you will be introduced to study designs applied in medical research and epidemiological principles to evaluate the methodological shortfalls associated with the different designs. Other decisions need lower levels of evidence and you will learn about the appropriateness and flaws of methods for collecting lower level evidence. With this knowledge you will be able to determine the level of evidence you require to make a decision and critically appraise the evidence for flaws. You will also learn to interpret commonly used statistical techniques in health-related and health services research. Your new skills will be applied and assessed to a set of papers related to a health service issue.

This is a core course of the Master of Health Leadership and Management program comprising 6 units of credit towards the total 48 units of credit required for completion of the study program. It can also provide 6 units of credit towards other programs, such as the Master of Public Health.

Mode of study

External (Distance) and Internal (Face-to-Face) classes on campus

Key contact

Dr Vikram Palit
Course Convenor

Who should do this course?

We welcome students from any discipline and level of experience to contribute perspectives and understandings. In addition, we encourage you to engage with the material, ask questions, discuss relevant issues with teachers and colleagues, and regard the available literature with a critical eye.

Course outcomes

By the end of this course you should be able to:

  • understand the meaning of research evidence and knowledge translation and how this applies to management practice in health care
  • identify key health management decisions, the role and level of evidence to support decision-making, and how to access appropriate and relevant sources of information
  • identify an appropriate study design for the category of question, the strengths and limitations of each study type, and the quality of evidence it provides
  • explain the appropriate use and interpretation of descriptive and inferential statistics and how this informs decision-making in health care
  • apply critical appraisal tools and evidence-based frameworks to research publications and evaluate the strength of recommendations
  • Iidentify the challenges of delivering evidence-based intervention, at scale, across different health and care contexts
  • describe key concepts in health economics and apply an evidence-based approach to economic evaluation when making management decisions
  • describe effective strategies that maximise the use of research to inform decisions in health policy, digital health and resource-constrained environments
  • communicate and lead the day-to-day practice of evidence-based decision-making with staff, patients and consumers of health care.

Learning & teaching

This year we have focused on developing an engaging and inclusive curriculum that directly applies theory to decision-making across different healthcare contexts. Over the course of 10 consecutive weeks, we will use different modes of teaching – face-to-face and webinars –assessments and learning strategies such as small group tutorials and case studies to develop your critical appraisal and management skills.


Assessment 1 – Online Quiz
Weighting: 25%
Length: 25 multiple choice questions

Assessment 2 – Short Answer
Weighting: 35%
Length: 1300 words

Assessment 3 – Board Report
Weighting: 40%
Length: 1250 words

Readings & resources 

Learning resources for this course consist of the following:

  • course notes and readings
  • weekly lectures (either face-to-face or online)
  • Moodle discussion board
  • webinars (external students only).

There are many excellent evidence-based practice/medicine textbooks.The preferred textbook for this course is Evidence-Based Practice Across the Health Professions, but you may wish to read alternative texts listed below to assist your understanding:

  1. Tammy Hoffmann. Evidence-Based Practice Across the Health Professions. 2nd Edition Churchill Livingstone ISBN 9780729541350
  2. David Katz. Jekel's Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Preventive Medicine, and Public Health. 4th Edition Saunders/Elsevier ISBN: 9781455706587
  3. Jeremy H Howick. The Philosophy of Evidence-Based Medicine. Wiley Blackwell. SBN10 140519667X   ISBN13 978140519667
  4. Susan Hamer and Gill Collinson. Achieving Evidence-Based Practice, A Handbook for Practitioners. 2nd Edition. Elsevier ISBN 978070202776.