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Unit information: Dissertation in 2014/15

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Unit name Dissertation
Unit code MEDI30004
Credit points 40
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Huxtable
Open unit status Not open

Available to students on the BSc Bioethics programme only.


The remaining units of Year 3 of BSc Bioethics

School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

This unit allows students to undertake supervised research on a topic of their own choosing. It is undertaken in terms 2 and 3 with preparation of a final 12, 000 word dissertation due in by mid May. Preparation for the topic will be provided in the Seminar in Research Methods in Bioethics. Supervisors and internal examiners will be selected from within or from outside Ethics in Medicine, depending on the chosen topic.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of the unit students will be able to:

  • Identify types of research in bioethics (e.g. literature review, survey, qualitative research)
  • Use literature databases
  • Develop and conduct independent literature-based research
  • Summarise this research and reach reasoned and independent conclusions
  • Effectively present their work to a group
  • Construct and effectively convey a sound and sustained argument

Teaching Information

Students receive 6 x 2-hour seminars led by staff members, which introduce key skills in bioethics writing, research and presentation, and which specifically prepare the students for completing a dissertation. Students thereafter lead another 6 x 2-hour seminars, in which they individually present their research into their chosen dissertation topic. Students are also required to attend a research seminar series, of 20 x 1 hour presentations, led by staff members and invited outside speakers. The seminars and presentation run throughout teaching blocks 1 and 2, with preparation of the dissertation concluding in teaching block 3. Students also receive individual support from an advisor, who helps with planning and research, and provides feedback on parts of the work.

Assessment Information

Summative assessment comprises a dissertation of 15000 words. Formative assessment comprises preparation of a detailed literature review for the dissertation and oral presentation of the argument in a seminar.

Reading and References

  • Ashcroft, R., Dawson, A., Draper, H. and McMillan, J. (eds.) (2007) Principles of Health Care Ethics (2nd Edition), John Wiley and Sons, Chichester
  • Rudestam, K.E, and Newton, R.R. (2007) Surviving Your Dissertation: A Comprehensive Guide to Content and Process (3rd Edition), Sage Publications
  • Walliman, N. (2004) Your Undergraduate Dissertation: The Essential Guide for Success, Sage Publications