SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 60.00
ECTS Credit Points 30.00
Module Code MMB022795
Module Leader Ben Stansfield
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject SHLS - School Office
  • B (January start)-A (September start)
  • S-B (January start)-A (September start)
  • A (September start)
  • A (September start)-B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Normally, completion of year one of the MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-registration) or MSc Physiotherapy (Pre-registration) or other related MSc pre-registration professional programmes.

Summary of Content

This module reinforces the principles and application of scientific enquiry. Evidence informed practice is a powerful tool and it should be acknowledged that a huge contribution to best evidence is trustworthy published research. This module requires the student to acquire and build his or her knowledge of research methods to develop enquiring, analytical and evaluative research mindedness as a value to underpin practice. It raises awareness of ethical issues and values in health and social care research and understanding of the procedures necessary for trustworthy research. Students are encouraged to become conversant with research methodologies and methods in order to develop the ability to critically select and apply them. The latter part of the dissertation requires students to work primarily independently on a significant research study using either 'literature based', archived or primary data that will be related to practice. This allows students to undertake in-depth, sustained scholarly activity whereby they are required to demonstrate their awareness of the professional research culture as an integral part of practice and make a contribution to their field. This will enhance complex skills of selecting and defending research methods, managing, planning, collecting, analysing and evaluating data. Students are expected to evaluate and defend their research methods and present a final report in a suitable publication format and disseminate a summary of the study and its applications in a mini conference presentation.


The topics below form the key strands of the syllabus. In the first 4 weeks basic concepts will be briefly reviewed with greater focus on complex aspects of methodology and method choice and critical writing and evaluation. The remainder of the module will incorporate application of concepts in carrying out a research study. -360 1. Evidence informed practice and inter-professional research within health and social care 2. Research process and terminology. 3. Comparing and appraising quantitative (deductive) and qualitative (inductive) paradigms. 4. Understanding strategies to improve the truth value of research. 5. Quantitative data research approaches and designs, such as single case studies, case controlled studies, longitudinal, cross sectional, randomized control designs and validation studies. 6. Qualitative data approaches and designs; including phenomenology, ethnography and grounded theory design 7. Working with archived data, primary data or literature. 8. Understanding group supervision and the supervisor/supervisee relationships/traits and responsibilities. 9. Writing a protocol and applying procedures involved in carrying out a research project: - devising or refining a research question and aims - providing a rationale - planning a literature review, searching for literature and critical review and understanding strength of evidence - using an appropriate methodology (for archived or primary data or literature) - ethical, legal and logistical considerations - defining the participant or sample group - data collection strategies (eg questionnaire/interview design, observation methods, reliability & validity of tools) - proposing suitable data analysis and statistical tests - analysing data - evaluating output - implications of possible findings for practice - writing and disseminating the report.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module the student should be able to:Plan, present and defend a protocol for undertaking a research dissertation demonstrating ability to:1. Critically appraise the evidence base and highlight gaps2. Understand background rationale for study through identifying how the research question and aims may inform policy and inter-professional or uni-professional practice.3. Critically analyse and justify particular research methods for scientific enquiry (to undertake primary research or critical review or data analysis).4. Where appropriate, identify the legal, ethical, safety and logistical issues (including support needed) associated with the proposed study.5. Identify suitable audience for research (potential journal).6. Communicate protocol succinctly and with clarity and defend decisions.Undertake a relevant scholarly research study with relative autonomy which demonstrates ability to:7. Organise, manage and conduct an in depth systematic investigation of a topic relevant to the profession.8. Justify research area through prior research and/or relevant political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental factors.9. Report methods used.10. Critically analyse and evaluate findings11. Evaluate strengths and limitations of study.Make appropriate and original recommendations for research, policy and/or practicePresent in appropriate reporting and referencing format, including for conference presentation.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

-108 This module is delivered through a blended approach to teaching and learning to encourage students to be active and effective learners. The module will be 'front loaded' with intensive workshops in the first 4 weeks to give the students grounding in research methods and to assist students in the preparation of a research protocol. Workshops will consist of key lectures, interactive tutorials, group discussions and seminars. The workshops will encourage students to engage with inter-professional learning tasks. The module includes a practical introduction to relevant statistics, qualitative analysis and critical evaluation, however the focus of this will depend on the research questions being investigated. E-learning material such as podcasts and narrated presentations will be available throughout the module to engage students in self-study of the key concepts. Students will also be encouraged to use the electronic discussion board and their own supervision group for peer support. Subsequent to the first 4 weeks of the module, students will be encouraged in self-regulated learning and the dissertation will largely be an independent piece of work. Up to four lectures (on-line and/or class based) will be used through the remaining months of the module to provide some direction to activity and supervision preparation. This supervision will consist of 4 group sessions where students present extracts of their draft work for discussion, information and guidance (the group may be uni-professional or inter-professional). Students will also be entitled to up to four hours of individual supervision which includes the time for formative reading of draft material by the supervisor. Where appropriate, additional technical support may also be provided. Between formal group supervision sessions, students will be encouraged to meet informally for peer support. Group discussion or sharing of constructive advice will also take place online through the use of GCULearn or other file sharing facilities. Group discussion of the students' research proposal will be used early in the module to encourage critical thinking around their proposed methods. Student performance will be assessed formally via the research report (CW1) submitted towards the end of the module and the subsequent conference presentation (CW2).

Indicative Reading

Core Texts: Aveyard, H., Payne, S., Preston, N. 2016, A post-graduate's guide to doing a literature review in health and social care , Open University Press, McGraw Hill, Maidenhead. Biggam, J. 2015 Succeeding with your master's dissertation a step by step handbook , 3 rd edn, Open University Press, McGraw Hill, Maidenhead Polgar, S. D. & Thomas, S. A. 2014, Introduction to research in the health sciences , 6 th edn, Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh Recommended Reading: Aveyard, H., Sharp, P. & Wooliams, M. 2015. A beginners guide to critical thinking and writing, 2 nd edn, Open University press, McGraw Hill, Maidenhead. Additional Reading: a variety has been listed but student focus will depend on the project type. Aveyard, H. 2013, A beginner's guide to evidence based practice in health and social care , 2 nd edn, Open University Press, McGraw Hill, Maidenhead. Aveyard, H. 2014, Doing a literature review in health and social care , 3 rd edn, Open University Press, McGraw Hill, Maidenhead. Bettany-Saltikov, J. 2012, How to do a systematic literature review in nursing , Open University Press, McGraw-Hill Education, Hampshire Bowers, D. 2008, Medical statistics from scratch , 2nd ed London: Wiley Creswell, J. 2009, Research design qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches , 3 rd edn, Sage, London. Denscombe, M. 2012, Research Proposals a practical guide , Opwn University Press, McGraw Hill, Maidenhead. Finlay, L.& Ballinger, C. 2006, Qualitative research for allied health professionals: challenging choices , John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester. Green, J. & Thorogood, N. 2009, Qualitative methods for health research , 2 nd edn. Sage, London. Greenhalgh, T. 2010, How to read a paper: the basics of evidence based medicine, 4 th edn, Wiley-Blackwell Publishing/BMJ Books, London. Hart, C. 2009 , Doing a literature review realising the social science research imagination , Sage, London. Herbert R., Jamtvedt, G., Birger Hagen, K., Mead, J. & Chalmers I. 2011, Practical evidence-based physiotherapy , 2 nd edn Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh. Long, T., & Johnson, M. 2007, Research ethics in the real world , Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh. Pope, C. Mays, N. & Popay, J. 2007, Synthesizing qualitative and quantitative health evidence a guide to methods , McGraw Hill Open University Press, Maidenhead. Purtilo, R. 2011, Ethical dimensions in the health professions , 4 th edn. Saunders, St Louis. Robson C. 2011, Real world research , 3 rd edn, Wiley Blackwell, Oxford. <http://bcs.wiley.com/he-bcs/Books?action=index&itemId=1405182407&bcsId=6313> Rudestam, K. & Newton, R. 2015. Surviving your dissertation: a comprehensive guide to content and process, 4 th edn, Sage Publications Ltd, London. Streubert Speziale, H.J. & Carpenter, D.R. 2007, Qualitative research in nursing,advancing the humanistic imperative , Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.

Transferrable Skills

-108 In undertaking this module, the student should develop and consolidate skills in the following areas: communication formats; accessing information sources; research and data manipulation; using information technology; problem solving; independent and self-regulated study; forward planning and management of time, people and resources; report writing; critical thinking, appraisal and writing; group work; reflection on development needs; information dissemination.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Tutorials (FT) 22.00
Assessment (FT) 60.00
Seminars (FT) 6.00
Independent Learning (FT) 496.00
Lectures (FT) 16.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 02 0.00 25.00 45% Conference presentation (15 minutes)(students must obtain an overall aggregate of 50% or more for CW1 and 2 to pass the module)
Course Work 01 0.00 75.00 45% Research Report, 6000 word+ appendices(students must obtain an overall aggregate of 50% or more for CW1 and 2 to pass the module)