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Unit information: Dissertation in 2021/22

Unit name Dissertation
Unit code BRMSM0017
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Howe
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

This unit aims to teach students to design and conduct good quality research in epidemiology – primarily either through carrying out original statistical analysis of an epidemiological dataset, or through undertaking an evidence synthesis project. Candidates will be able to select a topic from a central list or bring and design their own project in collaboration with personal supervisor and/or co-supervisor. This unit aims to give the student an opportunity to practice and apply epidemiological research methods using and developing further skills they have already learnt in the course. Aims: The dissertation should demonstrate that the student understands how to: frame research questions, scope relevant literature, analyse data, present the results of analysis in an appropriate written format, interpret the findings, and identify key strengths and limitations of the study. In addition, the student will present the findings in a research colloquium.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  1. Develop and frame suitable research questions
  2. Show evidence of critical thinking with respect to choosing appropriate research methods for their research question(s)
  3. Undertake a scoping literature review in their field of study
  4. Analyse data or synthesis evidence, interpret and draw appropriate conclusions, present their findings
  5. Independently plan and carry out a substantial piece of research
  6. Generate a coherent report that is appropriately referenced

Teaching Information

Most of the work for this unit will be carried out by the student independently, appropriately guided and supported by the supervisor, including through face to face meetings.

The research colloquium will provide an opportunity for students to present their project and gain feedback from tutors and peers.

Assessment Information

Students will receive feedback for learning in the form of:

Project proposal and tutor allocation agreed with dissertation and assessment leads. (ILO 1)

Outline of project, 1-2 pages –for discussion with tutor(s). (ILOs 2 – 3)

Oral poster presentation of their research project in a research colloquium with feedback from tutors and peers. (ILO 6)

Students will be required to engage with the above activities to successfully complete the unit. However, they will not be formally assessed and will not contribute to the overall unit mark.

Summative assessment: the dissertation will contribute 100% of total unit mark. Students will produce a project report in the form of an academic paper for a target journal (with appendices) 7,000 minimum and up to 10,000 words (the word count includes tables, references, and appendices). (ILOs 4-6)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. BRMSM0017).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.