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Contemporary Debates in Lifestyle Behaviours and Public Health

Module titleContemporary Debates in Lifestyle Behaviours and Public Health
Module codeSHSM050
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Martin Jones (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

The module will explore how theory, knowledge, concepts, methodology, and skills from distinct disciplines can be integrated in a co-ordinated manner to coherently address important issues, problems and challenges to health and wellbeing.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to provide foundation knowledge and skills that support the exploration of how theory, knowledge, concepts, methodology, and skills from distinct disciplines can be integrated in a co-ordinated manner to coherently address important issues, problems and challenges to health and wellbeing. You will be exposed to the different stages of the interdisciplinary research process, ranging from an open-ended preliminary research phase through to how the research is carried out in practice. Examples of good and poor practice will be discussed and a wide range of topics discussed (e.g., why an interdisciplinary approach is needed, which disciplines should be involved, the personality and attributes required by researchers, involvement of end users/stakeholders, and challenges with contingency plans). You will be presented with contemporary ‘real world’ problems and will be challenged to take an interdisciplinary approach. Via various teaching approaches (e.g., critical discussion and group debates, problem-based learning, case studies), you will be guided to work through problems adopting an interdisciplinary approach to develop constructive solutions. Successful completion of the module should help you gain the skills to engage with, participate in and compete for funding for interdisciplinary research.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Critically evaluate the challenges to, and the constructive and innovative contributions of, interdisciplinary research to knowledge and practice
  • 2. Analyse the links between social, biological and environmental factors and health behaviours, choices, and outcomes of individuals, groups, and societies
  • 3. Demonstrate key competencies and processes needed by interdisciplinary researchers in planning, designing, implementing and evaluating interventions and strategies targeted at improving lifestyle related health behaviours
  • 4. Translate interdisciplinary scientific research into practical strategies targeted at enhancing health and wellbeing
  • 5. Illustrate the relevance and benefits to research and practice of engaging with a range of public health stakeholders

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Describe how theory, knowledge, concepts, methodology and skills from a range of distinct disciplines can be integrated in a co-ordinated manner to coherently address important issues, problems and challenges to health and wellbeing

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Think creatively and analytically
  • 8. Communicate an argument
  • 9. Work independently and in groups
  • 10. Make connections between theory and practice, and between research and professional knowledge in health and wellbeing contexts

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Definitions and examples of interdisciplinary, multi-disciplinary, and transdisciplinary research.
  • Principles and processes of interdisciplinary research.
  • Developing interdisciplinary ideas and linkages.
  • Designing and evaluating interdisciplinary research questions, study designs and methods.
  • Examples of interdisciplinary research – what works and what doesn’t.
  • Interdisciplinary research evidence and its use in policy and practice.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching30Lectures (approximately 10 hours per day over three days)
Guided independent study10Preparation of PowerPoint presentation for formative assessment
Guided independent study35Writing of project grant application
Guided independent study85Online resources and independent guided literature research


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Individual Presentation (not marked) – your individual presentation will be formatively assessed by staff and students. Feedback will be provided with the purpose of helping you better conceptualise and design your outline grant proposal. Detailed guidance on developing the presentation will be provided in class on day 1. 15 minutes (10 minute- presentation, followed by 5-minute question period)1-6Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Outline grant proposal 1004000 words1-10Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Outline grant proposal Re-write of grant application1-10August referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to sit a further examination. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 50%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Books on Interdisciplinary Research:

  • Repko, A.F. (2011). Interdisciplinary Research. Process and Theory. 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
  • Kessel, F., Rosenfield P., Anderson, N. (2008). Interdisciplinary Research – Case Studies from Health and Social Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Peer-reviewed articles Focusing on Interdisciplinary Research:

  • Aboelela, S.W., Larson, E., Bakken, S. et al (2007). Defining interdisciplinary research: Conclusions from a critical review of the literature. Health Services Research 42:1, Part 1 (February), 329-346.
  • Gebbie, K.M., Meier, B.M., Bakken, S. et al (2008). Training for interdisciplinary health research. Journal of Allied Health 37:65-70.
  • Hall, J.G., Bainbridge, L., Buchan, A. et al (2006). A meeting of the minds: interdisciplinary research in the health sciences in Canada. CMAJ 175(7):763-771.
  • Heberlein, T.A. (1988). Improving interdisciplinary research: integrating the social and natural sciences. Society and Natural Resources 1:5-16.
  • O’Cathain, A., Murphy, E., and Nicholl J. (2008). Multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, or dysfunctional? Team working in mixed-methods research. Qualitative Health Research 18(11):1574-1585.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Web-based Resources on Interdisciplinary Research Design and Team Building, Impact and Knowledge Exchange, and Writing a Grant Proposal:

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Professional, research, skills

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date