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Unit information: Research Project in Health Sciences in 2015/16

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Unit name Research Project in Health Sciences
Unit code MEDIM0015
Credit points 120
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Holmes
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences


The research project consists of an extended period of research work (constituting 120 out of a total of 180 credits for this programme), followed by the writing of a dissertation in the form of a thesis (10,000 +/- 500 words), a viva and an oral presentation. The project will apply the knowledge and skills introduced and developed in Unit 1 - Introduction to Research; Unit 2 - Further Research Methods; Unit 3 - Project Proposal and Unit 4 - Research Club. Students will design and conduct experiments as outlined in their Project Proposal (Unit 3). Students will collect, analyse, interpret and critically assess their results. They will write-up their findings in a thesis which will include an abstract, introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion (in which they will integrate new information into current scientific knowledge) and references. Students will present and defend their ideas and conclusions through written and spoken communication in their thesis, viva and oral presentation.

Intended learning outcomes

By completion of this unit the student should be able to:

  • (i) Design and execute experiments.
  • (ii) Analyse, interpret and critically evaluate their own scientific data.
  • (iii) Appraise competing hypotheses and understand how their own data fits within current scientific understandings or beliefs.
  • (iv) Communicate original findings and ideas to a specialist audience using written and verbal presentation skills.
  • (v) Apply transferable skills learned in Units 1-4: Computer skills; experimental/ research methods; time management; organisation; effective team and independent work.

Teaching details

Independent research with theoretical and practical supervision from the Project Supervisor as required

Assessment Details

Students will work on an independent research project for the majority of this programme, devised following consultation with a PI with expertise in the students’ area of interest. Students will write-up their research in the form of a thesis (10,000 +/- 500 words) which will account for 70% of summative assessment for this unit). Students will discuss the proposed content with supervisors, and provide a written outline for feedback and approval, before writing of the thesis begins. One detailed plan (but not the complete version) can be submitted and corrected/commented on by the supervisor. The thesis will be independently assessed by the supervisor and one other member of academic staff with the relevant background knowledge (but who has not been involved with the project). This will assess learning outcomes (i) – (v). Students will have a viva (25% of summative assessment) conducted by 2 members of staff, one of whom is the second thesis assessor and the other is a unit director. Students will present a 10 min talk (5% of summative assessment) summarising their research and be expected to answer questions pertaining to it. This will assess learning outcome (iv).

Reading and References

Primary literature and reviews relevant to the subject of the research project