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Unit information: Project Proposal in Health Sciences in 2016/17

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Unit name Project Proposal in Health Sciences
Unit code MEDIM0016
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Holmes
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences


This unit will comprise the writing of a research project proposal based on the research project phase of the MRes programme (Unit 5 – Research Project).

The proposal will include:

i) a review of the literature relevant to the research project (3000 words maximum);

ii) the aims of the project;

iii) the impact of the project

iv) a plan of the proposed research, which will include the experimental design and methods

v) ethical considerations

vi)contingency plans;

vii) a timetable and milestones;

vii) a list of references (total length 4500 words maximum, excluding references). The students will also present their research projects (10 min talk)

The purpose of this unit is to ensure that students obtain a good breadth of scientific background knowledge and a clear understanding of their project aims and the methods by which they will be achieved. Students will gain or improve their skills in IT, evaluating scientific papers, formulating hypothesis-driven research questions, laboratory research methods and statistical analysis. The unit will also provide students with transferable skills in scientific presentation and written communication, research ethics and time management.

The aims and objectives of the unit include:

(i) To gain IT skills in searching databases for scientific publications of the scientific literature relevant to their specific research project.

(ii) To critically evaluate relevant scientific literature.

(iii) To understand the scientific method and to learn how to formulate hypothesis-driven research questions.

(iv) To gain familiarity with research methods and techniques, including their advantages, shortfalls and statistical concerns.

(v) To develop written and oral skills in scientific presentation.

(vi) To gain an appreciation and understanding of research ethics.

(vii) To plan, organise and time-manage a research project.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of this unit the students should be able to:

  • (i) Perform computer based searches of the scientific literature.
  • (ii) Critically read and evaluate scientific papers.
  • (iii) Formulate concise hypothesis-driven research questions.
  • (iv) Demonstrate a good understanding of scientific techniques and statistical methods.
  • (v) Write and orally present proposals that use appropriate scientific terminology and descriptions.
  • (vi) Understand the principles underlying research ethics.
  • (vii) Value the importance of time-managing a research project.

Teaching details

Attendance at a funding and grant-writing workshop (RED). Self-directed reading.

Assessment Details

The Research Proposal will be read and evaluated by two independent assessors who are members of academic staff - the project supervisor (the PI of the host research group) and another member of academic staff with relevant background knowledge; both marks will carry equal weight. This will assess learning objectives (i)-(vii).

Reading and References

Several review articles will be selected by the project supervisor as starter reference material; the selection of these articles will be dependent on the assigned project. Students will otherwise be expected to read widely around the scientific literature in the area of their project proposal.