Evidence for Public Health

What constitutes evidence in public health? Why and how does evidence matter for public health action?

This course will introduce students as to why and how evidence matters for public health. It will provide the basis for what evidence is, where to find it and what to make of it.

The specific topics addressed would be: philosophy of knowledge/​epistemology, sources of evidence (including secondary sources such as large databases, reports, health organisation and governmental websites and academic papers, local knowledge), reading of reports and papers on health problems, perceptions and interventions, the value and hierarchy of various sorts of evidence, critical thinking about claims being made, familiarising with common measures of health and disease, and appreciating how various forms of evidence is used to support public health action. 

Students will appreciate how and why evidence is not value-neutral but rather mediated by the socio-political processes of knowledge generation.