PHH1061 - Data, evidence and critical thinking in health - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

South Africa School of Health Sciences

Chief examiner(s)

Dr. Samson Muyanga


Dr Juliana Kagura

Unit guides


South Africa

  • First semester 2018 (On-campus)




This unit introduces students to the skills necessary to locate, critique the usefulness and quality of, and summarise evidence to provide them with a solid foundation for an evidence-based approach to optimising health and well-being at a population level. Students are guided through skills in searching for and locating evidence. They are introduced to different research methodologies and ways of analysing data to understand various research paradigms. This information is used to critique the available literature. Students will be introduced to both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection and analysis; basic descriptive statistics; measurement concepts; and synthesis and reporting of data.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Describe different sources of evidence in health (e.g. newspaper articles, Internet sites, journal publications, etc.).
  2. Retrieve and evaluate health information from diverse sources in order to inform and improve the practice of public health.
  3. Describe quantitative and qualitative techniques for data collection and basic analysis for reporting data.
  4. Recognise issues of cultural context and ethical principles in data collection and interpretation.
  5. Summarise and interpret health information.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to communicate evidence for health professional audiences.


  • Evidence ranking and summary (750 words) (20%)
  • Online quiz: Quantitative data test (20 minutes) (5%)
  • Online quiz: Qualitative data test (20 minutes) (5%)
  • Project proposal (Group presentation) (Oral) (20 minutes) (30%)
  • Written examination (2 hours) (40%)

Hurdle: 80% attendance at tutorials.

Workload requirements

4 hours per week - 2 hour lecture, 2 hour tutorial PLUS 8 hours of private study hours per week.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study