NMS11766 International Health and Social Care

Additional Assessment Guidance for


The guidance in this paper is based on information within the module Moodle presence and the information sessions previously held at the WebEx sessions. It is also prepared in alignment with other master’s modules. Please read all the information before you focus on the key sections of the assessment.

By the end of the module you should be able to:

  • Analyse health and social care issues and trends in relation to a range of countries.
  • Critically reflect on the implementation of international health and social policy by national governments.
  • Evaluate international health and social care systems addressed within the module.

The purpose of the assessment is to provide an opportunity to reflect on the learning you have undertaken within the module and to enable you to demonstrate your achievement of these learning outcomes. Please see the module descriptor in the Moodle module for more information on the module content. The preparation required for each class should provide you with some initial notes and knowledge of the trends, policy and health and social care systems that can be developed into an academic essay. 

The summative essay assessment for the module is weighted at 100% of the total module mark. It is a 3,500-word comparative analysis of health and social care systems in a high-income country compared with that of a low-income country i.e. the 4 countries of United Kingdom with Malawi.  As indicated you should use the notes you took throughout the units and draw on other academic literature (academic text-books and peer reviewed journals) and on-line professional sources that you have found, to develop your assessment. As this is a master’s level (Level 11) assessment you should try to avoid description as much as possible as this is not what is required. You need to be more critical of the healthcare systems and the academic literature you have read. If you are still unsure of this, please listen to the presentation by Claire Coleman and me in the WebEx recording.

In undertaking your comparative analysis each student will have particular aspects of the health and social care systems they wish to analyse and compare. A good place to start is by ensuring that you know what is meant by a health/health and social care system.


The introduction should set the scene for the comparative analysis of the healthcare systems by outlining the key areas of content to be critically analysed within the essay and indicating the approach to the assessment.

The approach involves comparing the health and social care systems of the UK with that of Malawi. To do this you may also make comparisons between the 4 countries of the UK or when necessary, a country of the UK such as Scotland and Malawi, depending on the key area to be critiqued. What is important is that Malawi should have equal consideration with the UK overall within the assessment. Individual students will take different approaches to this depending on their interest or professional background and the academic literature that is accessed. This is considered further in the guidance on the main body.

The introduction should also define any key terms used within the essay e.g. what is meant by a healthcare system, what is the purpose of a healthcare system,  health. This would usually be paraphrased from a relevant textbook or policy document rather than a dictionary. If considering a health condition to make contrasts, then this would be identified here and you might explain it briefly e.g. TB.

The introduction is usually around 10% of the number of words of the comparative analysis essay.

Main Body

Evidence of comparative analysis of health and social care systems in relation to the four countries of the UK and Malawi is required in the main body.  Comparative analysis is undertaken by drawing on the similarities and differences between the health and social care systems in the high income country and low income country and by comparing and contrasting this information, using references to support key points (example - this compares with……/ Scotland has an alternative funding arrangement…….). A useful resource regarding words or phrases for contrast and comparison is: Manchester University (2020). Phrase bank. http://www.phrasebank.manchester.ac.uk/

The main body should present a balanced analysis. That is, there should be equal consideration of the health care systems: UK and Malawi. It is likely that most students will have some discussion of the structure and organisation of the health systems (see points in Week 11 PowerPoint). The extent of that discussion will vary according to the overall approach to the assessment and therefore whether it is appropriate.

The approach could be addressed by:

•           Contrasting one key aspect of healthcare systems, such as health finance and funding of the healthcare system in the countries being considered. Other examples of key aspects could be human resources or the organisation and structure of a health service. Or

•           The use of a particular health issue to demonstrate the comparative analysis is a possible approach. If taking this approach you need to say this in the introduction. We suggest that, when planning your approach, you check that the health issue occurs in both countries. This is to avoid a situation where there is academic literature concerning the UK countries but no sources on Malawi or the opposite could be true.

An example of a topic using this approach is malnutrition in children. This topic enables the comparisons, for example in relation to the types of malnutrition, sources of nutritional support, preventative measures as some of the areas to be considered.  Or

•           Others have focused on contrasts of the actual structure of the systems e.g. is it appropriate to the population it is meant to serve; where health services were available, issues in meeting the health needs of the population in relation to that service, such as staffing or other resources.

Particular health issues to demonstrate the comparative analysis of the healthcare systems could be through consideration of TB prevention, or maternity care, sexual health and family planning, care and treatment of HIV/AIDS, use of childhood immunisation.

Academic literature (peer-reviewed journal articles and e-books), strategy and policy documents and guidance should be used to support key points/arguments made in the essay. Please do not use quotes, except if absolutely essential as a definition. A quote shows you picked a suitable quote but does not show your understanding or thinking. Paraphrase, that is write the essay in your own phrases and words. Quoting from or using other writers’ material without acknowledgement constitutes plagiarism, which is unacceptable (University Regulations).

Use a variety of literature rather than rely on one or two sources for a paragraph – this enables contrast of views in the literature to be critically discussed. Do not rely only on one source e.g. WHO. Please do not refer to a Blog or a newspaper as this is not an academic source of information. The exception to this might be where you say that a health concern was evident in the popular press and with reference to a newspaper article.


Provide a summary of the key points of the assessment with some evaluation of your comparative analysis. There should be no new information, in terms of comparisons, within the conclusion as this draws your key points together. Indicating how your findings could inform future development of the healthcare systems would be appropriate.
Inclusion of a personal reflection on the useful literature sources would be of interest here. Usually the conclusion is slightly longer than your introduction.      

Presentation (Writing Style)

Your essay should be a formal piece of academic writing, including the use of the third person, correct referencing and written in paragraphs. Bullet points area not suitable for an academic essay. Clarity in writing, so that your meaning is clear and so the structure of the essay is clear, is particularly important. Paraphrasing is an essential skill and the sources of ideas in your essay must be referenced.

The presentation appearance should be:

  • Arial 12pt font and 1.5 or double line spacing.
  • A front cover, available on Moodle, should be included as well as the title page.
  • Introduction
  • Main body
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Appendices (optional)

The number of words, also referred to as wordage, is important as you are permitted to exceed the wordage by 10%. However, if there is more wordage than this there are penalties. Please review the assessment brief.

You are not penalised for writing a shorter essay but if it is shorter, this usually means that there is insufficient, analysis, comparisons, discussion or critique.


A variety of literature should be used and consists of sources of population statistics, policy documents, strategy documents and academic literature. Contemporary literature is usually within the last 5-10 years unless concerning an historical fact. Also, there was some reorganisation of the healthcare systems of the UK in relation to integration of health and social care in 2016. So, discussion of the health systems structure in the UK would need to reference that change with literature on organisational structure being from 2016 onwards.  All general points need to be supported by citation in the essay and on the reference list and the reference list needs to be accurate, using the university guidance – APA7th ed. If work is not referenced or the references on the reference list are incorrect this undermines the quality of your work.

All references used in the essay should be fully referenced in the reference list.
If referring to an Act of Parliament, this should always include the date, as that is part of the Act and also there can be a number of Acts with the same name but different dates, each one effective when the previous one is repealed.

Please note that NHS Choices is really for the benefit of the public and useful for patient education. It is constructed from a range of literature, and so you are best to go to authoritative academic primary literature to support academic work.  

If you have any queries concerning this guidance please contact me: p.perry@napier.ac.uk.