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Unit information: Research Project (Distance Learning) in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Research Project (Distance Learning)
Unit code VETSM0016
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Sheard
Open unit status Not open

Completion of taught units: animal production, biochemistry and meat quality (VETSM0010), animal welfare (VETSM0011), poultry processing, meat hygiene and public health, meat processing (VETSM0012), refrigeration and heat processing, core skills.



School/department Bristol Veterinary School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

A research project is undertaken, under the supervision of an academic member of staff, after the taught part of the programme has been completed. The project allows students to: explore a subject area in depth, develop laboratory and other practical skills relevant to the subject area, carry out a balanced experiment and analyse the data with the assistance of a qualified statistician, and hone previously developed writing skills including abstracting information, data presentation and interpretation.

Aims The aim is to produce a dissertation/research paper of publishable quality.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of:

  • the subject area in which their research has been conducted
  • the experimental design and associated statistical techniques involved in their project
  • the laboratory techniques and methods used during the course of their project
  • the data that has been generated by their project, their implications and how these relate to previously published work

Teaching Information

The research project forms an essential part of the DL Masters programme (60 credits) for which there is a separate Blackboard site. This has an easy-to-navigate structure containing information on projects from all previous student cohorts (pdfs of previous dissertations or titles and abstracts of earlier projects), requirements for writing a project proposal, information on writing and presenting the dissertation, arrangements for submission and the oral examination (viva), and information on the degree awarding ceremony.

Before commencing their projects, all students must write a brief research project proposal (1-2 sides of A4) summarising the background and rationale of the study, the methodology to be used, an estimate of the costs and how these are to be met, naming the main supervisor (usually a senior member of staff), the co-supervisor and any technicians that will be involved, and including relevant references. The proposal is usually written with the assistance of the project supervisor who must be satisfied that the project can be completed in the given time frame, within budget and will produce sufficient results for the student to present an acceptable thesis at M level before the proposal is submitted to the Meat Science Management Committee for formal approval. The aim is to have a project of publishable quality. Projects of a speculative nature (eg developing a new technique or new methodology) are avoided. There is a small sum of money available from the programme budget for each project.

There is an introductory day after the taught part of the programme, to give guidance to DL students about their projects. Regular meetings will be held with each student throughout the project, with agreed deadlines, as occurs with current PT students on the Meat Science programme.

Students, FT and PT, receive assistance with statistical analysis. This includes a series of lectures on ‘data handling’ in the core skills unit (VETSM0008) and one-to-one help with analysis and data presentation from the supervisor. Specialist advice is also available from a named member of staff (a qualified statistician), should this be required.

The unit requires DL students to attend at Bristol for 2 days: for an introductory day and for the oral examination.

Assessment Information

Students are required to write up their project in the form of a scientific paper, combined with an in-depth literature review. There is a final oral examination (viva) for each student (~20mins) conducted by the External and Internal Examiners. A final mark is awarded based on weightings given to the research paper (75%) and the literature review (25%).

Reading and References

The reading and required references will be different for each research project. References will be accessible electronically via e-journals.