SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 60.00
ECTS Credit Points 30.00
Module Code MMB025802
Module Leader Larissa Kempenaar
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject SHLS - School Office
  • B (January start)-A (September start)
  • S-B (January start)-A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

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

Summary of Content

The Dissertation is a core element of the School of Health and Life Sciences MSc pre-registration programmes. Its purpose is to develop students' ability to collect, evaluate and disseminate knowledge relevant to their area of professional practice. Students will acquire and build on their knowledge of research methods to develop enquiring, analytical and evaluative research mindedness as a value to underpin practice. Students subsequently apply a range of enquiry techniques to plan and execute a focused, independent piece of research. This includes the following: identifying gaps in the evidence; generating research questions and/or hypotheses; critically selecting, reviewing and synthesising relevant literature; applying appropriate methods, including data collection and analysis; ethics; judging evidence; interpreting and discussing findings; as well as thinking and writing critically, succinctly, coherently and academically.


Syllabus The topics below form the key strands of the syllabus. At the beginning of the module, 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. -720 1. Evidence informed practice and research within health and social care 2. Research process and terminology; 3. Introduction to epistemology and ontology; 4. Appraising quantitative (deductive) and qualitative (inductive) paradigms; 5. Quantitative data approaches and designs; 6. Qualitative data approaches and designs; 7. Understanding group supervision and the supervisor/supervisee relationships/traits and responsibilities. 8. Writing a protocol and applying procedures involved in carrying out a research project: -360 - Working with archived data, primary data or literature. - Developing a research question and aims - providing a rationale - planning a literature review, systematic 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 - data analysis strategies - synthesising data - evaluating output - implications of possible findings for practice and future research - writing and disseminating the report

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module the student should be able to:1. Retrieve and critically appraise relevant sources of evidence;2. Identify gaps in the literature and formulate an appropriate research question/ hypothesis;3. Critically analyse and justify specific research methods for scientific enquiry; including legal, ethical, safety and logistical considerations;4. Undertake critical evaluations of a wide range of numerical, graphical and/or qualitative data;5. Apply a range of standard and specialised research skills to a research project; professionally, ethically, in a logical and organised format with substantial autonomy;6. Critically synthesise and evaluate the body of evidence generated through the project and interpret the findings to answer the research question/hypothesis;7. Critically evaluate the findings of the project within the context of current evidence, policy and practice and make original and/or creative recommendations for future research and/or educational professional practice;8. Write the findings of the project in a journal publication format; 9. Succinctly and with clarity communicate and defend the findings of the project to a professional and peer audience

Teaching / Learning Strategy

This module is delivered through a blended approach to teaching and learning to encourage students to be independent and effective learners. This module will provide a combination of taught components with independent study, supported by group and one-to-one supervision. The taught component consists of 'front loaded' teaching with multi-professional lectures and seminars at the beginning of the module to give the students grounding in research methods and to assist students in the preparation of a research protocol. Lectures will be provided to all students, followed by seminars where students develop the research techniques and practices relevant to their selected research methodology. Seminars will include practical application of research techniques, group discussion, peer evaluation and flipped classrooms. Where appropriate, additional technical support may also be provided. Projects will be distinct, i.e. each student will investigate their own research question/ hypothesis and write up their own paper independently, albeit supported by peer group discussion. Thus, projects will be supervised individually and in small groups to foster shared learning and create opportunities for peer support throughout the process. The allocated supervisor provides each project student with advice, including feedback on draft work, as agreed in the module handbook. The module will be supported with directed learning materials, including Podcasts and Vidcasts; discussion boards, and file sharing facilities within the University's virtual learning environment.

Indicative Reading

AVEYARD, H., PAYNE, S., PRESTON, N., 2016. A post-graduate's guide to doing a literature review in health and social care. Maidenhead: Open University Press, McGraw Hill. BIGGAM, J., 2015. Succeeding with your master's dissertation: a step by step handbook. 4th ed, Maidenhead: Open University Press, McGraw Hill. POLGAR, S. D. & THOMAS, S. A., 2013. Introduction to research in the health sciences. 6th ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. AVEYARD, H., SHARP, P. & WOOLIAMS, M., 2015. A beginners guide to critical thinking and writing. 2nd ed. Maidenhead: Open University press, McGraw Hill. BELL, J., 2010. Doing your research project: a guide for first-time researchers in education, health and social science. 5th ed. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Open University Press. BETTANY-SALTIKOV, J., 2012. How to do a systematic literature review in nursing. Maidenhead: Open University Press, McGraw-Hill Education. GREENHALGH, T., 2014. How to read a paper: the basics of evidence based medicine. 4th ed. London: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing/BMJ Books. BOWERS, D., 2014. Medical statistics from scratch. 3rd ed. London: Wiley. POPE, C. MAYS, N. & POPAY, J., 2007. Synthesising qualitative and quantitative health evidence a guide to methods. Maidenhead: McGraw Hill Open University Press. PATTON, M., 2015. Qualitative research & evaluation methods : Integrating theory and practice. 4th ed.. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications. SWETNAM, D. AND SWETNAM, R., (2009). Writing your dissertation: How to plan, prepare and present successful work. 3rd ed. Oxford: How To Books. THOMAS, S., 2000. How to Write Health Sciences Papers, Dissertations and Theses. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingston.

Transferrable Skills

In undertaking this module, students will have the opportunity to develop and consolidate transferable skills in the selection and critical review of relevant literature, research design, data collection and analysis (as appropriate for the type of project undertaken). Students will have the opportunity to develop numeracy skills consistent with writing a scientific publication in both appraising and presenting data, as appropriate to the type of project. Students will also be given an opportunity to develop skills in interpreting and critically evaluating evidence, as well as academic writing. Students will have the opportunity to develop their group work. Students will be given an opportunity to develop and consolidate skills in the following areas: project design and management; planning, analysis, evaluation and judgement; critical enquiry; collaboration; refection on practice; academic debate and academic writing.; ICT proficiency; information literacy; data literacy.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (FT) 21.00
Assessment (FT) 60.00
Tutorials (FT) 6.00
Seminars (FT) 18.00
Independent Learning (FT) 495.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 75.00 45% 6000 Word Journal Article
Course Work 02 n/a 25.00 45% Oral conference presentation and defence