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XX50204: Contemporary debates in lifestyle behaviours and public health

[Page last updated: 02 August 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/23
Owning Department/School: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences (units for MRes programmes)
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework (CW 100% - Qualifying Mark: 40)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Learning Outcomes: At the end of the unit students should have:
* a critical understanding of both the challenges to, and the constructive and innovative contributions of, interdisciplinary research to knowledge and practice.
* a deepened interdisciplinary understanding of the links between social, biological and environmental factors and health behaviours, choices, and outcomes of individuals, groups, and societies.
* an awareness of key competencies and processes needed by interdisciplinary researchers in planning, designing, implementing and evaluating interventions and strategies targeted at improving lifestyle-related health behaviours.
* a critical understanding of the skills and processes required to translate interdisciplinary scientific research into practical strategies targeted at enhancing health and well-being.
* a better understanding of the relevance and benefits to research and practice of engaging with a range of public health stakeholders.

Aims: To 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 well-being.

Skills: Knowledge and Understanding
* To understand the role of interdisciplinary research as it relates to health and well-being enquiry and application (T/F/A).
Intellectual Skills
* To utilise interdisciplinary problem solving skills to address challenging and complex 'real world' problems in health and well-being research (T/F/A);
* To engage with a range of information, evidence, and debate so as to inform a critical awareness of the contribution of an interdisciplinary approach to health and well-being research issues and/or application (T/F/A);
* To think creatively and analytically (T/F/A);
* To communicate an argument (T/F/A).
Professional Practice Skills
* To work independently and in groups (F);
* To make connections between theory and practice; and between research and professional knowledge in health and well-being contexts (F/A).

Content: Facilitating a change in health behaviours across the life span is a priority, particularly among those for whom clusters of poor lifestyle are common. It is becoming apparent that, in some cases, multidisciplinary research is not sufficient to address - in a comprehensive and effective way - challenging and complex issues within health and well-being research and/or application. Rather, interdisciplinary research is required to tackle these more complex and challenging issues. Interdisciplinary research does not merely result in new technical approaches, but rather new intellectual approaches (viz., new ways to conceptualize and think about a 'real world' challenges to health and well-being). Students will explore how the complexity of contemporary health and well-being research problems require researchers to move beyond the confines of their individual disciplines and work as part of interdisciplinary teams in which skills and disciplines are combined in a coordinated manner to stimulate new ways of addressing and tacking problems.
Students 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). Students 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), students will work through problems adopting an interdisciplinary approach to develop constructive solutions.
The unit will be team taught by colleagues from the Department for Health (Bath), Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences (Bristol), and Sport and Health Sciences (Exeter).

Programme availability:

XX50204 is a Designated Essential Unit on the following programmes:

Department for Health


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
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