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Unit information: Extended Research Project Planning in 2020/21

Unit name Extended Research Project Planning
Unit code PHPHM0013
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Brennan
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Physiology, Pharmacology & Neuroscience
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences


The aims of this unit are for students to learn how to successfully plan a research project. This will include understanding and summarising the literature, planning experimental design and statistics, planning data collection, and considering logistics, ethics, animal welfare (if required), and time management. Students will learn the basics of programming in R, which will be focused on the production of graphical visualisation of data. Students will work closely with their supervisor to plan their extended research project and will develop their understanding and confidence in the planning process by presenting their project plans to peers and academics for feedback. Students evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of other students’ project plans will be assessed by academics. Students may plan to undertake their project based outside the School in which case they will work at this planning stage with an additional supervisor from within the School.

Intended learning outcomes

Having completed this unit, students will be well placed to conduct an excellent research project. They will be able to:

  1. Summarise the literature relevant to the background for their project
  2. Plan the experimental design and statistical analysis for their project
  3. Write a risk assessment for their project
  4. Create a data collection plan for their project
  5. Analyse the challenges and risks associated with a project
  6. Use the statistical programming environment R to produce suitable graphical visualisation of data

Teaching details

Lectures, facilitated group discussions, individual discussion with supervisor(s), peer assessment sessions, poster presentation and self-study.

Assessment Details

3000-word literature review and project plan (tests ILOs 1-4)- 60%

Graphical presentation of data and quality of R code (tests ILO 6) - 20%

Peer evaluation of project plan (tests ILO 5) - 10%

Poster presentation of project plan (tests ILOs 1 and 2) - 10%

Reading and References

Students will be guided towards appropriate original research articles relevant to their project by their project supervisor. But most references will be identified by their own literature searches.