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The Practice of Evidence-Based Health Care (Surgery)

Key facts

TypesProfessional Development
Short Courses
AddressRewley House
1 Wellington Square
OX1 2JA. Map
DatesMon 14 to Fri 18 Oct 2013
Subject area(s)Health
CATS points20
FeesFrom £1575.00
Application statusCourse full for current intake
Course codeO13C380B9J
Course contactIf you have any questions about this course, please email ssp@conted.ox.ac.uk or telephone +44(0)1865 286954.


The Practice of Evidence-Based Health Care (Surgery) course introduces the basic concepts and skills of evidence-based health care.

Offered by Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences and the Department for Continuing Education’s CPD Centre, the course is led by Mr Peter McCulloch, Reader of Surgery in the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences; Dr Carl Heneghan, who is the Director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine; and Dr Annette Plüddemann, Director of the Oxford Diagnostic Horizon Scanning Programme. It features face-to-face lectures and small group tutorials.

Teaching is delivered in conjunction with Oxford's Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, the UK's top-ranked department in this field (Research Assessment Exercise 2008), and the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine.

The course is a one-week module from the Surgical Science and Practice programme. It can be taken as a stand-alone short course or as part of the MSc in Surgical Science and Practice. It is also possible to apply for a version of the course that does not contain a surgical emphasis.

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A waiting list is now in operation for applications to this course. Please see below for further information.

The Practice of Evidence-Based Health Care (Surgery) course provides students with an understanding of the background to the evidence-based approach and covers the basics of scientific methodology and study design as applied to clinical research. It allows students to confidently interpret the scientific literature relevant to their own practice, and equips them to be able to design appropriate evaluation methods for research and audit projects they may become involved in. Small group tutorials provide greater insight from a specifically surgical perspective. Study before and after the course is supported by a rich virtual learning environment.

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Formulate and define a research question clearly and cogently
  • Understand which types of study design (trials, observational, qualitative etc.) are most appropriate for which types of clinical questions
  • Identify which study type has been used, and judge how this affects the interpretation of the results
  • Establish criteria for accepting and rejecting good and bad evidence
  • Appraise a research paper to:
    • Identify whether the hypothesis of a paper is concerned with the efficacy of intervention, causality, test accuracy or determining the magnitude of the health problem
    • Identify which study type has been used, and judge how this affects the interpretation of the results
  • Calculate and interpret measures of disease frequency and measures of association
  • Identify and assess the implications of the main forms of bias (selection, measurement, confounding, lead time, and length bias) in epidemiological and clinical medicine research
  • Appraise basic study types: diagnostic accuracy studies, prognostic cohort studies, treatment trials, prevalence surveys
  • Appraise the methods of a systematic review, and understand their importance and limitations
  • Identify which are the best sources for finding reliable research evidence and other information
  • Undertake both (i) comprehensive and sensitive and (ii) rapid and specific literature searches for specific topics or questions
  • Summarise the methods, key findings, and quantitative results of valid studies
  • Calculate quantitative measures such as relative risk, relative risk reduction, absolute risk, and Number Needed to Treat
  • Interpret measures of statistical uncertainty such as p-values and confidence intervals
  • Provide an analysis of the implications of acceptable studies for clinical or public health practice.

Programme details

This course can be taken:

A non-surgical version of the course is also available. For more information or to apply, please see the following course page: The Practice of Evidence-Based Health Care.


This course will be held at the Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, Oxford.


Mr Peter McCulloch

Role: Director & Tutor

Clinical Reader in Surgery, Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences
Director, Quality, Safety, Reliability and Teamwork Unit
Member of...more

Prof Carl Heneghan

Role: Director & Tutor

Carl Heneghan is the Director of award bearing courses within the Postgraduate Programme in...more

Dr Annette Plüddemann

Role: Module Coordinator

Annette Pluddeman is the Director of the Oxford Diagnostic Horizon Scanning Programme.


Sample certificate PDF document.

Short course participants who do not wish to undertake the assessed work required for academic credit but who do satisfy the course attendance requirements will receive a Certificate of Attendance. The pdf sample above is an illustration only, and the wording will reflect the course and dates attended.

Those successfully completing the couse for credit can apply to receive a CATS point transcript.

Assessment methods

Assessment will be based on submission of a set written assignment, not exceeding 4,000 words.

Academic credit

Those wishing to may apply to take the course with accreditation. The University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education offers Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) points for the course. Participants attending at least 75% of the taught course and successfully completing assessed assignments are eligible to earn credit equivalent to 20 CATS-equivalent points which may be counted towards a postgraduate qualification.


Rewley House bedroom

Accommodation is available at the Rewley House Residential Centre, within the Department for Continuing Education, in central Oxford. The comfortable, en-suite, study-bedrooms are rated 4-star, and come with free high-speed internet access and TV. Guests can take advantage of the excellent dining facilities and common room bar, where they may relax and network with others on the programme.


The course fee includes:

  • Tuition
  • Course materials
  • Refreshments and a three course lunch on each day of the course
  • Access to the following University of Oxford libraries and services:
    • Radcliffe Science Library
    • Rewley House Continuing Education Library
    • Bodleian Libraries e-Resources
  • Access to facilities from the Department of Continuing Education, including:
    • The Graduate School
    • WebLearn virtual learning environment
    • Wi-fi access through Oxford Wireless LAN (OWL).

Before making your application for this short course, please ensure that you have read the terms and conditions which can be found towards the bottom of this page.

Please see the MSc in Surgical Science and Practice page for more information regarding module fees when taking this course as a part of the MSc Programme.


Sources of funding for courses in Surgical Science and Practice: external grants, awards, scholarships and bursaries

Details of funding opportunities including grants, bursaries and scholarships are available here.

Fee options

Programme Fee
For students enrolled on the MSc: £1575.00
Stand-alone short course fee: £1890.00

Apply for this course

A waiting list is now in operation for applications to this course.

How to apply

This course is part of the MSc in Surgical Science and Practice. If you would like to apply for the MSc in Surgical Science and Practice please visit the programme page.

To apply for a module as a short course please use the documents below.

Applications deadline: 27 September 2013

Places on the course are limited, so early application is strongly recommended. Your application will require a copy of your CV, and if you wish to take the course for credit, a reference. Once we have received your completed application it will be considered by the admissions panel.

If your chosen course is full it is possible to submit a completed application form which, if successful, will be added to the waiting list. You will then be given the opportunity to attend should a place become available. Please contact us if you would like to receive further information.


If you would like to discuss your application or any part of the application process before applying please contact:

Tel: +44 (0)1865 286954 - Email: ssp@conted.ox.ac.uk

Sorry, this course is not currently accepting applications. If you have any questions about this course, please use the course enquiry form.

Programmes including this module

This module can be studied as part of these programmes: