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Unit information: Dissertation in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

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 Dissertation
Unit code BRMSM0009
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Northstone
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/public health – primarily either through undertaking an epidemiological/quantitative/intervention study, an evidence synthesis project, or undertaking qualitative research (public health only).

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/public health research methods using and developing further skills they have already learnt in the course.


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. Identify ethical issues and considerations for specific study
  4. Undertake a scoping literature review in their field of study
  5. Analyse data, interpret and draw appropriate conclusions, present their findings
  6. Independently plan and carry out a substantial piece of research
  7. Produce 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:

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

Reading and References

To be negotiated with supervisor