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Unit information: Dissertation in 2020/21

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Unit name Dissertation
Unit code ORDSM0029
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Robinson
Open unit status Not open

Student must have satisfactorily completed the Diploma in Postgraduate Dental Studies



School/department Bristol Dental School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences


This unit involves students undertaking an independent project under the supervision of a nominated supervisor. The student will conduct an evidence-based project on a topic related to their discipline. Most students undertake either an evidence-based clinical review or data analysis project.

This unit aims to teach students to appraise the literature utilising an evidence-based approach, design, implement and present their work in a scientific format in the form of a dissertation.

Candidates will be able to agree a project topic with their allocated supervisor.


  • To develop independent intellectual ability, critical and analytical thinking in carrying out a literature review in a chosen area related to their discipline
  • To develop high level skills in the organisation and analysis of selected materials
  • Give the student guided experience in the planning and execution of literature searches +/- clinical audit/ service evaluation
  • Enable the student to critically evaluate experimental data/ published papers.
  • Expose the student to the processes by which scientific results are communicated and debated.

Intended learning outcomes

Be able to conduct a literature review.

Be able to design methods to collect and analyse evidence or data as applicable utilising an evidence-based approach on a topic related to the field.

Be able to present their work in a scientific format in the form of a dissertation.

Teaching details


Students will be required to meet their supervisor within the first six weeks and submit a written proposal to the Unit organiser by week 12. Meetings can be by telephone or Skype as this may be more manageable for students. The proposal should be approved by the Unit Lead.

Progress Monitoring:

Students should contact their supervisors by e-mail every month, meeting via Skype if required. The Unit Lead will track progress by e-mail on a monthly basis. Progress will be assessed against the timetable submitted with their proposal. Students whose progress is deemed unsatisfactory may be required to attend an interview with the Unit Lead and their supervisor.

Assessment Details

The project dissertation contributes 100% of the module mark.

The maximum word count is 15,000 words.

An electronic copy (in PDF) of the final dissertation must be submitted by the agreed submission date. Submissions will take the form of a typed (word processed) bound document. The student must demonstrate an in-depth knowledge in the topic and the use of an evidence-based approach in reaching conclusions to their work.

Reading and References

Bell, Judith (2010). Doing your research project: a guide for first-time researchers in education and social science. (5th Ed.) Open University Press; Buckingham.

Boland A, Cherry MG, Dickson R. (2014). Doing a systematic review. Sage Publications, London.

Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (2013). CASP Checklists.

Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions.

Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA)

Siwek J, Gourlay ML, Slawson DC, Shaughnessy AF (2002). How to Write an Evidence-Based Clinical Review Article. Am Fam Physician 2002;65:251-8

University of Bristol procedures for plagiarism in PGT programmes.