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Unit information: Research Project in 2021/22

Unit name Research Project
Unit code PHPH30009
Credit points 40
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Hers
Open unit status Not open




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


Students will conduct an original research project and present their findings in the form of a research dissertation and oral presentation. The unit aims to encourage students to investigate a specific research question in considerable depth and to develop an understanding of the process of scientific research. The project can take a variety of forms:

  • Experimental projects involve the design, conduct and analysis of experiments. Students may collect their own data or analyse existing data.
  • Non-experimental projects are based on research of the scientific literature and require a detailed literature review on a particular research question and to propose a programme of further research.
  • Teaching projects are based on the assessment of teaching methods and materials used in the undergraduate science and professional courses, for example assessing whether the effectiveness of the human patient simulator as a tool for teaching specific aspects of normal and abnormal physiology.
  • Public engagement projects, students work with an academic to create a resource, aimed at public engagement, based on current the research interest of the PI. The resource is then evaluated by the students.
  • Undergraduate Ambassador Scheme project students research and develop an original physiology/biology based teaching project in partnership with teachers at a local secondary school. This involves the students developing original teaching resources and using them to deliver teaching to A-level pupils on a selected aspect of the A-level curriculum, along with assessment of their effectiveness. A second part of the project involves devising an original physiological experiment that can be conducted by A-level pupils.

All of these are carried out at an advanced level, with much more independent direction and critical evaluation expected from the students than in previous years of study. Students express their preference from a wide range of projects and projects are allocated on this basis whenever possible. The unit aims to develop key research and analytical skills. Students will gain experience of research and an understanding of scientific enquiry through project work.

Intended learning outcomes

  • A deep understanding of a specific scientific or educational question
  • The ability to gather information from the primary scientific and/or educational literature and to critically evaluate the material and appraise competing theories.
  • The ability to present original findings and ideas to a specialist audience in written and oral forms.

Teaching details

Students are expected to demonstrate self-direction, motivation and independent thought throughout their project. In addition, students should expect:

  • Project planning and discussion meetings with supervisors
  • Training in experimental techniques and data analysis, as appropriate

Assessment Details

• Project Dissertation (80%).

• Supervisor's report (10%).

• Oral presentation (10%).


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PHPH30009).