University of Technology Sydney

92790 Evidence-based Practice

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject expands students' understanding of and commitment to the development of evidence-based practice and helps them develop a broad base of current health care research. Students are introduced to the process of evidence-based practice and learn to critically appraise research evidence relevant to common health problems. Integration of research evidence into practice for the delivery of high-quality care is discussed and the current implementation models are introduced.

Note: This subject is the first subject of two sequential subjects that provide a capstone experience within the Master of Advanced Nursing and Master of Public Health programs.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Examine the role of evidence based practice in improving the quality of health care.
B. Convert a clinical problem into a focussed question to direct the search for research evidence.
C. Design an effective, reproducible and transparent search strategy to access relevant evidence.
D. Critically appraise available research evidence for rigor, importance, and applicability to a clinical setting.
E. Analyse, synthesise, and apply research evidence to inform decision-making in healthcare.
F. Examine the factors influencing the implementation of evidence-based practice into current healthcare.
G. Identify a gap in the literature, choose a feasible research topic, justify its significance and develop their research aims and objectives.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attributes:

  • Are reflective critical thinkers who contribute to practice, policy and research to enhance health care and health outcomes (1.0)
  • Are socially, culturally and ethically accountable and consider health care in a global context (3.0)
  • Communicate appropriately and consistently in diverse situations (4.0)

Teaching and learning strategies

Class preparation
Learning the key concepts of evidence based practice will occur through face-to-face and online lectures and workshops. Students will be required to complete a series of pre-readings and online activities each week. Online lectures, videos, and pre-readings will facilitate self-paced and time flexible learning experiences for students throughout the session. UTSOnline will be used for general announcements and subject materials.

Authentic learning
Students will be engaged in interactive learning activities, such as an online journal club-style critical appraisal discussion board. Online library modules and a hands-on library session facilitated by a librarian in class will help enhance students’ professional literature searching skills.

Developing critical appraisal skills
In-class critical appraisal workshops will provide students opportunities to question and critique published research using validated appraisal tools.

Developing communication skills
Students will clarify complex research concepts in face-to-face workshops using case studies and real examples from contemporary peer-revieweed literature. Between study days, online discussion boards will challenge the student to synthesize and articulate appraisals.

Content (topics)

The content of this subject has been organised to reflect the process underpinning evidence-based practice. This includes formulating a concise and searchable question, searching for evidence, evaluating the quality of the existing evidence, and making health care decisions based on the best available evidence, patient values and preferences, and clinical expertise. Students also learn basic principles of scientific inquiry, quantitative and qualitative research methods and research ethics. They will be introduced to randomised controlled trials, cohort studies, qualitative research, systematic reviews and clinical practice guidelines. Using validated tools, students are engaged in systematically appraising research evidence for validity, significance, and applicability to practice. They read, interpret and discuss research findings in terms of statistical and clinical significance. Individual and organisational issues surrounding the implementation of evidence-based practice are identified and discussed.


Assessment task 1: Problem identification and finding the evidence


To provide students with an early feedback on their progress in the subject and prepare them for their second assessment.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B and C

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.0 and 4.0

Weight: 10%

500 words max (Complete PICO or PS table, and document database search)

Assessment task 2: Evidence selection and critical appraisal using CASP


To provide students with an opportunity to apply their EBP knowledge and critical appraisal skills on an identified clinical problem and relevant research evidence.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, D and E

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.0 and 4.0

Weight: 35%

5- 10 minutes

Assessment task 3: Critical review of evidence


To provide students with an opportunity to practice EBP skills through accessing, critiquing and synthesising the available evidence to solve an identified clinical problem.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B and G

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):


Weight: 45%

2500 words (max)

Assessment task 4: Participation and engagement in Journal Club


To provide students with the learning opportunity to critique evidence and journal articles using a structured approach in a face-to-face format.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

D and E

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.0, 3.0 and 4.0

Weight: 10%

Participation and engagement in the three structured study days and an online Journal Club (discussion board) held each week throughout the semester.

Required texts

Hoffmann, T., Bennett, S., & Del Mar., C. 2017, Evidence-based practice: Across the health professions, 3rd edn Churchill Livingstone, Elsevier, Sydney.

Recommended texts

Greenhalgh, T. 2010. How to read a paper: the basics of evidence-based medicine, 4th edn, Wiley-Blackwell, BMJ Books, Oxford.


Cullum, N. Ciliska, D. Haynes, R. B. & Marks, S. 2008, Evidence-based nursing: An introduction, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Oxford.

Jirojwong, S., Johnson, M., & Welch, A. 2011, Research methods in nursing and midwifery: Pathways to evidence-based practice, Oxford Uni Press.

Liamputtong, P. 2013, Research method in health: Foundations for evidence- based practice, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, Australia & Newzealand.

Melnyk, BM & Fineout-overholt, E. 2011, Evidence-based practice in nursing & healthcare: A guide to best practice, 2nd edn, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.

Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T 2012. Nursing research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice, 9th Edition, Lippincott WIlliams & Wilkins, Sydney.

The Joanna Briggs Institute in Australia:

The Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford:

The Evidence-Based Practice Centre at McMaster University:

Other resources

UTS Student Centre
Building 10
Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm
Tel: 1300 ASK UTS (1300 275 887)

Details for student centres:
For other resources/information refer to the Faculty of Health website (, the Health Student Guide ( and UTSOnline at:

UTS Library
The Library has a wide range of resources, facilities and services to support you including textbooks, subject readings, old exam papers, academic writing guides, health literature databases, workshops, a gaming room and bookable group study rooms. There is also a team of librarians to help you with all your questions.
W:, Facebook: utslibrary, Twitter: @utslibrary Tel: (02) 9514 3666

Improve your academic and English language skills
Marks for all assessment tasks such as assignments and examinations are given not only for what you write but also for how you write. If you would like the opportunity to improve your academic and English language skills, make an appointment with the HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support) Service in Student Services.

HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support)
HELPS provides assistance with English language proficiency and academic language. Students who need to develop their written and/or spoken English should make use of the free services offered by HELPS, including academic language workshops, vacation intensive courses, drop-in consultations, individual appointments and Conversations@UTS ( HELPS staff are also available for drop-in consultations at the UTS Library. Phone (02) 9514 9733

Please see for additional information on other resources provided to students by UTS.