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Unit information: Dissertation in 2020/21

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Unit name Dissertation
Unit code BRMSM0009
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Northstone
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

The aims of this unit are to:

  • Provide students with the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they have learnt in previous units in order to design and conduct a research project in an epidemiology or public health related topic of interest. This will be carried out through undertaking analysis of previously collected data, collecting and analysing their own data, an evidence synthesis project, or undertaking qualitative research (MSc Public Health only).
  • 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

Candidates will be able to select a topic from a central list or design their own project in collaboration with their personal supervisor and/or co-supervisor.

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 a specific study
  4. Undertake a scoping literature review
  5. Analyse data, interpret and draw appropriate conclusions
  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(s), including through face-to-face or online meetings. The research colloquium will provide an opportunity for students to present their project and gain feedback from tutors and peers.

Assessment Information

Formative assessment: Students will receive feedback for learning in the form of:

  • Outline of project, 1 page – for approval by unit lead(s)
  • Oral poster presentation of their research project in a research colloquium with feedback from tutors and peers

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 unit will be assessed using a single piece of coursework:

  • Students will produce a project report in the form of an academic paper for a target journal (with appendices) 5,000 minimum and up to 10,000 words (the word count includes tables, references, and appendices) (ILOs 1-7; 100% of total unit mark).

A mark of 50% is required to pass the unit.

Reading and References

To be negotiated with supervisor