This module begins by introducing students to the diverse ways in which psychological factors alter biological processes central to health and well-being.
- an overview of key biological systems
- the role of psychological factors in influencing vulnerability to new diseases
- the role of psychological factors in disease progression
- the application of health psychology to chronic illness, associated disabilities and both treatment selection and treatment outcomes
Context and Perspectives in Health Psychology
This module seeks to develop an appreciation of:
- historical and current perspectives in health psychology
- the role of the health psychologist and associated professional issues
- current perspectives in European and international health psychology and an awareness of related disciplines, eg behavioural medicine
- the impact of gender, social and cultural factors on health and illness.
Further Medical Statistics
A comprehensive understanding of statistical concepts and methods is essential for understanding current public health research and developing effective public health practice. Increasingly, knowledge of, and the ability to apply, more advanced statistical methods using statistical software, is key to being able to analyse and interpret the complexity of public health data. In the further medical statistics module, we introduce many of the more advanced statistical methods and analyses being used in the public health domain, and provide the skills needed to use these methods to analyse and interpret real-world data.
This module will provide you with the knowledge and skills in using a variety of regression methods which allow us to explore the effects of individual and multiple factors on different health outcomes in different study designs. You are introduced to the important statistical concepts needed to understand the theories underlying these methods, but the focus is on practical application to real-world datasets, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to try different methods and strategies of multivariate analysis in different public health contexts. We cover considerations of missing data and methods such as time series which is increasingly used for the evaluation of public health interventions. We use the freely available R statistical software throughout, building on the skills learned in the Medical Statistics module, and gaining confidence in the use of this software for managing and analysing complex data.
The ability to understand quantitative research findings and information, where more advanced statistical methods have been used, is important across all graduate public health careers, whilst the skills in analysing and interpreting complex quantitative data are crucial for careers as public health analysts, epidemiologists, or information specialists.
We bring together medical statisticians and epidemiologists working across a huge range of public health and clinical domains, with expertise in applying advanced statistical and epidemiological methods to a wide variety of national and international health datasets.
We thoroughly enjoy teaching this module and enjoy finding ways to stimulate your interest in statistics. We show how they can be used to address real public health problems, and we love to watch students, some of whom come to the module with innate trepidation about their ability to work with numerical data, gradually build their confidence in their ability to use the software and to apply complex methods. You will explore and generate new insights from data, and hopefully a genuine love of statistics.
Your module leaders are:
Dr Sonia Gran: “I thoroughly enjoy teaching this module as I see students appreciate the value of medical statistics in the field of public health and develop in their skills, knowledge and confidence. It is also great to see students choose career pathways that involve medical statistics after completion of this module."
Professor Sarah Lewis: “I love sharing my passion for statistics and epidemiology and their application to areas of medicine from tobacco and alcohol research, to older people’s research. I enjoy watching students grow in confidence and appreciation of the subject.”
Health Care Contexts
This module develops an appreciation of key issues in the interaction between patients and health care contexts. These include:
- communication in health care settings
- the impact of hospitalisation on adults / children
- preparation for stressful medical/ dental procedures
- giving bad news
- adherence to medical treatment
Medical Statistics is the basic building block for Epidemiology and Public Health. It allows us to quantify the health of individuals and populations to compare health and health behaviours between different population groups, and compare the effectiveness of different treatments and interventions.
The course is taught from a very practical viewpoint, and we want to give you the skills to understand and do basic medical statistics. The module focuses on being able to present and describe different types of data, and to test for differences between two groups of either categorical or continuous data, as well as correlation and simple linear regression. You will be introduced to the freely available R statistical software, and learn how to conduct all the analyses using R. You will also gain experience in looking at how all these analyses are presented in research papers.
We assume no prior knowledge of statistics and slowly build student learning throughout the module. These skills are best learned from doing it, and every session is very practical with examples in the data analyses package to work through as well as examples from a wide variety of research papers.
This module is one that some students have most trepidation about coming into the masters course but it is so rewarding to see students’ fears disappear throughout the course as they build knowledge over the weeks. A previous student said on a module evaluation form, “I never realised statistics could be so easy”. It is very rewarding to see students learn and understand the basic concepts and know that we give them the skills to interpret data and analyses data in their future public health careers.
Your module conveners are:
Tricia McKeever – Professor of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics
“This is such a rewarding module to teach and as convenors, we have worked hard to make Medical Statistics accessible for everyone as it is an important fundamental building block for people in public health.”
Sarah Lewis – Professor of Medical Statistics
"I love sharing my passion for statistics and epidemiology and their application to areas of medicine from tobacco and alcohol research, to older people’s research. I enjoy watching students grow in confidence and appreciation of the subject.”
Professional Skills in Health Psychology
The module covers:
- key professional skills within health psychology such as communicating with different health professionals and populations and presenting key research findings.
- career development and planning, including CV development and interview skills.
Qualitative Methodology and Analysis
The qualitative research approach is increasingly being recognised as making an important contribution to understanding people’s behaviour and health. As such, understanding and applying qualitative research methods and techniques is central to public health and global health practice. Our teaching provides an overview of how the approach can both hold its own, as well as complementing the quantitative approach. By understanding how people think and act and how the various systems in public health operate, qualitative research allows us to build a robust evidence base, to inform policy and practice to improve local, national, and global health outcomes.
The module introduces the theoretical underpinnings of qualitative research, followed by designing and appraising qualitative studies across the research process. You will be supported to think critically about sampling and bias, including how we navigate these challenges to ensure our outputs are trustworthy. We then explore data collection methods and analytical approaches that we can use to help manage, synthesise, and report data collected. The module provides you ample opportunities to learn and read about, and undertake practical exercises relating to commonly used and emergent qualitative methods relevant to public health.
An appreciation of the qualitative approach is important across all graduate public health careers. The module equips you with the skills to design, implement, deliver, and report qualitative research endeavours, which is fundamental for all practice-based and academic public health.
We bring together world-leading qualitative methodological academic experts and make use of examples from various settings and populations, highlighting the versatility and value of qualitative research. This spans local, national, and global spheres, to inform and improve future public health initiatives and thus health outcomes.
We have a strong focus on research impact, with research communication skills being embedded within all the learning emphasising how we ensure our research reaches the right people, in the right format, at the right time – and the importance of engaging the relevant populations in the work we plan and do.
We enjoy teaching and sharing this module. It is wonderful to see students who often come to us with limited prior knowledge and/or experience of the qualitative research approach, immerse themselves in the journey. You quickly see them applying their learning to real practice in public health; either through planning their own qualitative studies or in their ability to manage, analyse and report qualitative data. This is when the goal of the module is realised – students leave equipped with the skills to become independent researchers.
Your module leaders are:
Dr Manpreet Bains – Associate Professor in Qualitative and Mixed Methods Health Research
“I am passionate about teaching qualitative research methods to public health students. My expertise in qualitative research is vast and spans a variety of topics and settings in public health, spanning different global settings. Currently, much of my work centres on underserved and minority populations, and I thoroughly enjoy sharing my own experiences and hearing about students’ own experiences, which stimulates fantastic debates too!”
Dr Paul Leighton – Associate Professor of Applied Health Research
“Protecting and improving individual and community health is simply too complex to rely upon the numbers alone! We need to understand the context and specifics of peoples’ lives and appreciate the challenges and circumstances that they face. Qualitative methods provide the tools to do this, engaging with people in a way that offers the sort of specific, rich, and detailed insight that can help us think more broadly about the challenges of public health.”
Research Methods for Applied Health
Understanding and applying research methods and techniques is a key skill for public health and global health practice. In our research methods module teaching we give you a broad overview of the types of research techniques which are applicable to global public health. Research is a centrally important component of public health and global health practice as it allows us to build a robust evidence base which helps to inform policy and practice to improve local, national, and global health outcomes.
The module will take you on a journey through the process of designing, developing, implementing, and disseminating quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research methodologies specifically applied to public health settings.
You’ll learn to embed evidence-based research practices across all their other public health and global health modules to create critical research-informed arguments which will support the development of an independent research project.
Having an understanding and appreciation of research methods is important across all graduate public health careers and forms a fundamental building block for all practice-based and academic public health.
We bring together world-leading academic experts and contemporary case studies to highlight the intricacies of performing local, national, and global public health research to inform and improve future health outcomes.
We have a strong focus on research impact, with research communication skills being embedded within all the learning emphasising how we ensure our research reaches the right people, in the right format, at the right time.
We build on our academic successes being rated as 4* for Impact in Global Research in REF, to deliver highly relevant research-informed teaching, supported by wider learning and practice-based opportunities.
We are dedicated to teaching and sharing this module with our students as it is always wonderful to see students immerse themselves into the world of public health research, for some, this may be their first interaction with research, and we love seeing our students grow into independent researchers. We are always amazed by the creative ideas students have for targeted dissemination of research to public audiences, and the breadth of global experiences within the student group.
Your module leaders are:
Professor Emma Wilson – Professor of Public Health
“I love teaching research methods to the public health students, my particular expertise is qualitative and mixed methods research, and I really enjoy sharing my love for public health related breast cancer research with students through this module. I really enjoy interacting with the students to hear about and build upon their research practice in their local contexts.”
Professor Jo Leonardi-Bee – Professor of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics
“I have always enjoyed academic research and supporting student research. As the Director of the Nottingham Centre for Evidence-Based Healthcare my particular expertise is in evidence-synthesis. I love supporting students to develop and perform systematic reviews and meta-analyses. I really enjoy seeing the students develop their research skills from this module into their own research project.”
Understanding, Predicting and Changing Health Behaviour
It is widely accepted that the behaviours we engage in can have a direct impact on our health, well-being, and ultimately life expectancy. This module focuses on the role of modifiable health-related behaviours and explores what health psychology can bring to our understanding of behaviour. It helps us explain why some people may engage in a health behaviour whereas others may not, as well as how we might develop effective behaviour change interventions.
This module critically examines the role of health behaviour in the UK as well as its contribution to global public health priorities. It considers the application of several commonly used social cognition models (e.g., Health Belief Model; Theory of Planned Behaviour) to a range of health-protective (e.g., breast self-examination, physical activity) and health-compromising (e.g., smoking, alcohol consumption) behaviours.
The extent to which social cognition models can assist in understanding the key determinants of health behaviours is considered as well as their ability to provide a useful theoretical basis for behaviour change interventions. However, it quickly becomes apparent that these models have several limitations, and the module considers why more recent developments in the scientific study of behaviour change, may offer new and potentially more effective ways to design and evaluate behaviour change interventions.
The module provides you with a comprehensive overview of the behaviour change wheel and how it may be applied to the design of health-related behaviour change interventions. It offers practical guidance on how to apply the behaviour change wheel and the COM-B model to real-world health behaviour problems (e.g., mask-wearing during the pandemic) and how to select relevant behaviour change techniques (i.e., the ‘active ingredients’ of an intervention) to bring about the desired change in the target behaviour. It considers the functions of interventions as well as how policy may support behaviour change. Finally, the model acknowledges the fact that we live in a technological world, and we consider how this can impact the delivery of behaviour change interventions.
We will equip you with the knowledge and skills to be able to diagnose a problem in terms of problematic health behaviour and design an intervention which is acceptable, feasible, theoretically informed, and measurable, which is a key skill within the public health domain.
You’ll be taught this module by experts who share a passion for the application of psychological theory and research evidence to the design and evaluation of behaviour change interventions. They draw upon many years of research and practice in the field to bring to life how contemporary real-world problems can be addressed through the scientific study and practice of behaviour change, giving you an enriched learning experience.
Your module convenor is:
Professor Neil Coulson – Professor of Health Psychology
“For me, this module provides such an exciting opportunity to showcase what psychological theory can offer public health. I particularly enjoy seeing students get to grips with key theories and then being able to work with them and develop imaginative and innovative behaviour change interventions.”
Independent Research Project
The project is designed to provide students with the opportunity to engage in, and learn from, supervised project work in health psychology.
Previous published projects have included: