Elective course - Impact by Design: Conducting Complex Interventions in Psychology

Course content

Intervention and evaluation research in psychology are indispensable tools for creating positive change, informing best practices, and contributing to the ongoing evolution of the field. They bridge the gap between theory and application, transforming psychological knowledge into tangible benefits for individuals and society. It has a strong significance when:

  • Improving mental health and wellbeing with effective and cost-effective approaches.
  • Addressing societal challenges with targeted individual and community-based solutions.
  • Guiding policy and practice to inform policymakers and practitioners about the best evidence-based practices.


But how design, implement and evaluate interventions according to the complexity of the non-theoretical but, real-world?

During this course, we will dive into a very helpful methodological framework to recognize and adopt appropriate methods to develop and evaluate complex interventions. By reading, discussing, and designing together your own intervention proposal, you will go beyond asking whether an intervention works (by achieving its intended outcome); instead, we'll explore a broader spectrum of questions. This includes identifying additional impacts, assessing its value compared to the resources needed for implementation, theorizing its mechanisms, considering its interaction with the implementation’s context, evaluating its contribution to system change, and understanding how the evidence can be applied to support decision-making in the real world. 


It will allow you to maximize the utility, efficiency, and impact of your own interventional project. The content of this elective course encompasses (among other things):

  • Introduction to psychological principles in research.
  • The use of quantitative and qualitative data in mixed methods and action-research.
  • Theoretical models in the field of behavior change, system thinking and ecological approaches.
  • The integration of process evaluations and realist evaluations in complex interventions.
  • The use of advance statistics in logic model evaluations.

Full-degree students enrolled at the Faculty of Social Science, UCPH 

  • Bachelor and Master Programmes in Psychology
Learning outcome


  • Have research-based knowledge of concepts, theories, and methods in intervention and evaluative research in applied psychology.
  • Identify sound methodological frameworks for interventional studies.
  • Describe the logic model underlying interventions’ description, key mechanisms and context factors through which interventions can impact on their expected outcomes.


  • Develop scientific and critical thinking skills, through reviewing, evaluating, and discussing existing literature on interventional and evaluative research, as well as debating contrasting research findings and frameworks.
  • Critically compare the most suitable methods to evaluate an interventional project in different settings.
  • Demonstrate adequate understanding of combined research methods and data analysis.



  • Review and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of interventional studies in an area of interest.
  • Present and discuss an interventional proposal in the own field of interest.
  • Explain own interventional logic model and its implementation and evaluation plan.
  • Demonstrate the ability to justify the methodological soundness of an interventional project.

Relate psychological concepts to one's interventional proposal and interests to aid in the learning process


Attendance of at least 75% of the classes and active participation in the activities, assignments, presentations etc. set by the course coordinator.

Active participation consists of:

1) Class discussion: demonstrates accurate reading and understanding of assigned texts;

2) Group work and small-scale workshops: active students’ contributions to the construal of classes and the transposition of theoretical material to real-life cases;

3) Oral presentation/group discussion: students will take part in a group debate, where groups will present and discuss positions/frameworks related to applied psychology and intervention research.

Elective course (BA) (7.5 ECTS):
Approx. 600 (compulsory or compulsory/self-chosen) sp


Elective immersion course (KA) (7.5 ECTS):
Approx. 800 (compulsory or compulsory/self-chosen)  sp


Standard pages. Standard pages are 2400 characters including spaces.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
Set assignment.

A research-based intervention proposal.

The interventional project will need to address a relevant psychological intervention within the area of interest. It will cover the description of the intervention, its methodological approach, logic model and a complete evaluation plan. It does not to be implemented in real practice.
The proposal will be presented by a written document following given specific guidelines and followed by an oral presentation. The written part should include a title page, an abstract, and references. It should follow APA style and have a length between 10-18 pages dependent on group size and level (BA or MA).

Students will receive guidance throughout the course and some feedback on their ideas and plans for potential implementation halfway through the course. Additional specifications will be given when the course starts.
Exam registration requirements

Attendance of at least 75% of the classes and active participation in the activities, assignments, presentations etc. set by the course coordinator.

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Criteria for exam assessment:


Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings

Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings

Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 30
  • English
  • 30


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester

Department of Psychology, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Psychology
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Signe Allerup Vangkilde   (15-7c7270776e377f6a77707472756d6e49797c8237747e376d74)
Provisional: signe.vangkilde@psy.ku.dk

Elena Bermejo Martins

Saved on the 16-11-2023

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students