NURSING 5109 - An Introduction to Evidence Based Health Care

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2020

This course will examine the concept of evidence based practice. Topics will include the history of Evidence Based Health Care and constructing a question (topic identification). Students will develop skills in searching for evidence and determining the quality of evidence using critical appraisal of literature.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code NURSING 5109
    Course An Introduction to Evidence Based Health Care
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Nursing School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 6
    Contact Flexible delivery mode
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Restrictions Available to M.NurSc and G.DipNurSc students only
    Assessment Essays and literature review
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Rick Wiechula

    Course Coordinator: Tiffany Conroy
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    This course is taught externally. Students are to progress through the course materials using the following timetable.    

    Week 1                                   Development of the EBHC movement

    Week 2                                   The evidence based process I

    Week 3                                   The evidence based process II

    Week 4                                   The nature of the evidence for nursing

    Week 5                                   Types of evidence

    Week 6                                   Levels of evidence

    Week 7                                   Evidence for nursing practice

    Week 8                                   Locating the evidence I

    Week 9                                   Locating the evidence II

    Week 10                                Critical appraisal I

    Week 11                                Critical appraisal II

    Week 12                                Integration of findings
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Explain the origins, processes and application of evidence-based healthcare practice in relation to the students area of practice
    2 Demonstrate how to develop a clinical question for the implementation of the EBHC process
    3 Discriminate between the different types and levels of evidence and describe the strengths and deficiencies of each
    4 Use skills in the construction of search strategies and literature searching
    5 Critically appraise research articles
    6 Articulate the methods used to combine evidence to produce recommendations for nursing practice
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    2, 3, 4 and 5
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Pearson, A, Field, J & Jordan, Z 2007, Evidence-Based Clinical Practice in Nursing and Health Care, Blackwell Publishing, Melbourne.

    The readings for this course are available electronically via MyUni.
    Please note: it is your responsibility to organise printing should you prefer a hard copy of the reader.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course utilises flexible learning methods to enable it to be offered in an open learning format. Students are provided with a readings and a Study guide, which, as the name implies, guides them through the prescribed readings. Each week students are directed to specific readings and the Study guide contains interactive activities which are designed to test and consolidate students knowledge and to develop their critiquing skills. These readings and activities are designed to replace classes in the structure of this course. Therefore, working through them is vital for successful completion of the course.

    Each topic corresponds to one week of study. A series of readings and activities are presented and students are advised to follow carefully what is required. Students will be expected to undertake a substantial program of reading. A number of articles have been prescribed and these are contained in the readings that form part of the materials for this course. Students are encouraged to read further and become familiar with accessing materials from libraries, databases and the Internet.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    It is expected that you will need to spend about 12 hours of study a week to successfully complete this course. This includes reading, completing activities and assessment. Thus some weeks it will be more and others less. It is recommended that you plan your time commitment to the course at the beginning of the semester.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Development of the EBHC movement
    The evidence based process
    The nature of the evidence for nursing
    Types of evidence
    Levels of evidence
    Evidence for nursing practice
    Locating the evidence
    Critical appraisal
    Integration of findings
    Specific Course Requirements
    There are no specific course requirements.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Assessment Type Weighting Learning Outcome(s) being addressed
    Describe an area of practice and detail at least two sources of evidence that inform the practice Formative 0% Explain the origins, processes and application of evidence-based healthcare practice in relation to the students area of practice
    Formulate a clinical question and provide a rationale for the selection of this question Summative 25% Demonstrate how to develop a clinical question for the implementation of the EBHC process.
    Identify the types and levels of evidence that may be available to you to assist you to answer your clinical question. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the different types of evidence Summative 25% Discriminate between the different types and levels of evidence and describe the strengths and deficiencies of each.
    Outline the process for reviewing the literature for answers to your clinical question. Provide a list of the papers (no more than 10) that will be of most use in answering your question. Summative 50% Use skills in the construction of search strategies and literature searching.

    Critically appraise research articles.

    Articulate the methods used to combine evidence to produce recommendations for nursing practice
    Assessment Related Requirements
    There are no assesment related requirements.
    Assessment Detail
    Assessment 1 – Consider an area of practice and the evidence that informs it.
    Describe an area of practice and detail at least two sources of evidence that inform the practice. These sources of evidence can be embodied in clinical guidelines, systematic reviews or standard statements.

    Assessment 2 – Formulate a Clinical Question
    Formulate a clinical question and provide a rationale for the selection of this question.
    The clinical question will form the focus of the following two assignments. Therefore, to maintain the applicability of this course to the students workplace, they need to ensure the question is relevant to their practice. The 'Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcomes' method should be used to structure the question.

    There should be a description of why the question was chosen and the clinical relevance of the question.

    Assessment 3 – Types and levels of Evidence
    The types and levels of evidence that may assist in answering the clinical question should be identified. The strength and weaknesses of the different types and levels of evidence should be discussed. One of the recognised evidence scales will be used as a reference when describing the levels of evidence.

    In this assignment the student is required to consider what type of evidence is required to answer the question posed during assignment 1. To do this the student will be required to reflect on the readings, particularly those related to the evidence for clinical practice (Weeks 4, 5, 6 and 7). In 2000 words the different types of evidence and the strengths and weaknesses of each will be discussed. As part of this discussion the student should identify what they would consider the 'best' evidence to answer their question.

    Assessment 4 – Literature Review
    Develop and submit a search strategy to answer your clinical question. Identify the inclusion criteria, search terms, databases and years to be searched.

    You are not required to retrieve any articles for this assignment.

    Conduct the search. Describe the search outcomes including the number of articles identified, filtering methods employed and levels and types of evidence found. Use the information from the title, abstract and key words for this information. Indicate if this information is not provided or is unclear.

    Provide a list (no more than 10) of references to the papers that you consider would be of most use in answering your clinical question, stating the type and level of evidence for each. Include the full reference to these papers and their abstracts as an appendix to your assignment.

    Assessments, unless otherwise stated in this study guide,
    are to be submitted electronically via Assignments in MyUni on the due date
    identified in this study guide. Instructions for assignment submission are
    available under Tutorials at
    Formatting and presentation of assignments must comply with School policy as
    indicated in the School Manual.

    An assessment submitted via MyUni must be submitted as an
    acceptable file type (i.e. .doc, .docx, .rtf .ppt, .pdf). It is also important
    to submit the file such as surnamestudentid (i.e. knight1234567). MyUni stamps
    all the other details against the filename once the assessment is submitted.
    The assignment should be submitted as one
    file, Information on avoiding plagiarism is available at

    Contact the MyUni helpdesk on +61 8 8313 3335 or email for
    assistance with assignment submission.

    Important note: copies of assignments should always be kept.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Students are reminded that plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty constitute a serious offence and can result in disciplinary procedures. Students are advised to read the policy Academic Honesty and Assessment Obligations for Coursework Students Policy & Coursework Students: Academic Dishonesty Procedures policy, available at The following definitions should be noted.

    Referencing: providing a full bibliographic reference to the source of the citation (in a style as determined by the School).
    Quotation: placing an excerpt from an original source into a paper using either quotation marks or indentation, with the source cited, using an approved referencing system in order to give credit to the original author.
    Paraphrasing: repeating a section of text using different words which retain the original meaning.
    Please note: changing just a few words does not constitute paraphrasing. 

    Marking Guide

    Structure and Writing Style 25%
    Structure (15%)
    • introduces/outlines/situates the topic of the essay

    • clearly describes the way in which the essay will proceed

    • the essay is structured in a logical sequence so that the content flows (headings may be used to develop the structure of the paper)

    • the essays ends with a cogent, defendable conclusion that summarises the discussion within the body of the paper.

    Writing style (10%)
    • the essay is written with clear sentence structure, clarity of argument and precision of expression and the spelling and grammar are correct.
    Content 60%
    Content (30%)
    • the essay question has been answered or the topic/issue has been discussed

    • the essay content has clear links to contemporary nursing practice

    • the student's paper demonstrates a depth of understanding of the topic and significant issues.

    Critical analysis (30%)
    • the essay demonstrates a high degree of critical thought and insight by:
         • providing a justification/rationale for the argument/discussion
         • demonstrating they have reflected on the complex issues surrounding the topic/question
         • discussing the topic from differing perspectives, thereby providing a balanced argument/discussion.
    Referencing 15%
    • the referencing style used throughout the paper is congruent with the School’s School Style and Referencing Guide

    • the reference list is accurate (i.e. no missing page numbers, volumes, correct title etc), complete (i.e. no references in the body of the paper are missing from the reference list) and consistent with the School’s School Style and Referencing Guide

    • the references cited are contemporary (i.e. less than 10 years old unless seminal papers)

    • primary references are used predominantly (i.e. the original reference has been cited rather than a secondary source)

    • there is evidence in the paper that the student has searched widely for information related to the topic/issue

    • the student has acknowledged all sources of information

    • direct quotations are only used to make crucial points or to support the discussion/argument.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    Threshold not met for eSELTS for the past two years
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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