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Research Topics in Health Promotion

Vak 2018-2019

Entry requirements

Open to MSc Psychology (research) students.


In this course, theories on the determinants of health behaviour and on the processes of behavioural change will be addressed, including issues such as ‘why do people endanger their health?’ and ‘why are good intentions not enough to change behaviour? Students will reflect on one main theoretical construct of their interest, how it is embedded in theory, the proposed underlying working mechanisms, and the empirical findings from previous research on the construct. Based on these analyses students will determine what the next step should be to increase knowledge on the construct, and formulate a new research question and study design. They will then design and pilot-test a questionnaire as a measurement instrument, and present their overall findings during a poster session.

Course objectives

After the course students:
* Have a basic understanding of some of the theories and key constructs within the field of health behaviour (change);
* Have basic knowledge and experience with regard to the operationalization and assessment of theoretical concepts in the field of health promotion; and
* Understand some of the promises and pitfalls of questionnaire design.

Students will learn to perform an in-depth study of a theory/construct and to generate new theoretical insights and questions based on this analysis. The following skills that are essential for researchers will be trained:
- Critically reading, analyzing and synthesizing of the literature
- Generating new ideas based on theory including proposed underlying mechanisms
- Writing research proposals
- Reviewing work of peers
- Incorporating feedback
- Designing (online) instruments (questionnaires)
- Performing pilot-studies (think aloud studies)
- Designing effective posters
- Presenting


For the timetables of your lectures, work groups and exams, please select your study programme in:
Psychology timetables




Students need to enroll for lectures and work group sessions.
Master’s course registration


Students are not automatically enrolled for an examination. They can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the date. Students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination.
Registering for exams

Mode of instruction

The course will consist of 3 seminars (theories of behavioural change, reading scientific literature, and designing questionnaires), and 8 workgroups (7 × 2hours, 1 × 4 hours)

Assessment method

Attendance during sessions (full attendance is mandatory)
Active participation (5%)
3 Peer reviews (15%)
3 Presentations (20%)
6 Individual assignments (60%)

The Institute of Psychology follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of this fraud policy.

Reading list

  • Michie, S. F., West, R., Campbell, R., Brown, J., & Gainforth, H. (2014). ABC of Behaviour Change Theories. To be obtained via:

Additional mandatory reading will be posted on Blackboard.

Contact information

Dr. Winnie Gebhardt