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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HECS3254 Research Dissertation

30 creditsClass Size: 500

Module manager: Helen Atherton

Taught: 1 Sep to 30 Jun View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

Pre-requisite qualifications

120 level 2 credits

Prerequsite modules:
1) HECS1100 'Learning together, working together' or level 1 equivalent
2) A relevant research methodology module at level 2 or 3 for example

HECS 2201 - Research for Health and Social care Professionals
HECS 2191 - Midwifery Theory and Practice 3 for the full time BSc (Hons) Midwifery programme

Module replaces

DONE3023, HECS3211, HECS3084,HECS3077, DOME3036, HECS3142.

This module is not approved as a discovery module


This is the last module of the research theme that flows through programmes and develops students' ability to critically find, use, summarise and communicate evidence and finally to apply it to their professional practice. This is a multi-professional module (taken by nurses, midwives and social workers). It requires students to work more independently and hone their graduate knowledge and skills prior to registration.

There are project pathways, depending on the student's individual programme of study and each is tailored to meet both generic and profession specific skills.

Learning outcomes
By the end of the module it is expected that students across health and social work programmes will be able to:
1. systematically locate and retrieve existing research evidence using a comprehensive search strategy.

2. critically evaluate the quality of this evidence using a structured and rigorous approach

3. develop a focused research question relevant to professional practice that is answerable either through an in depth critical literature review and case study or a piece of primary/secondary research
4. systematically collect and critically analyse evidence/ data using a variety of research methods
5. evaluate the significance of research findings in light of current and future practice

6. demonstrate critical awareness of the complexity of translating research into practice

Skills outcomes
Nursing - use of critical appraisal frameworks

Midwifery - collection and analysis of data for the purposes of systematic review
Social work - use of critical appraisal frameworks/ application of theory to practice


The module is delivered across Semester 1 and Semester 2a.

Semester 1 - this comprises the taught component of the module. Students will be expected to attend a variety of multi-professional and profession specific lectures, tutorials and workshops that will develop the knowledge and skills required to complete their individual dissertation/ project. The content delivered will build upon that knowledge acquired by students at Level 1 and 2 and includes:

a) Different type and sources of evidence (including journals; policy documents; professional bodies; clinical guidelines; data specific to service evaluation)
b) Literature searching (including types of databases and searching skills);
c) Question framing (including defining terms, use of causal, correlational or exploratory questions, use of frameworks for intervention studies)
d) Quantitative and qualitative data collection, analysis and interpretation (including probability and confidence intervals, effect sizes, clinical and
statistical significance, role of theory in qualitative work, use of framework and other analytic techniques);
e) Critical appraisal of quantitative and qualitative research using a range of critical appraisal frameworks
f) Implementation into practice and local practice guideline writing (including components of clinical guidelines)
g) Communicating research (including writing for professional peers and writing for service users).

Semester 2a - With support of an academic supervisor, students will develop and complete their project/dissertation.
Depending on professional background, they will follow a predefined pathway as indicated below:

Nursing: (10,000 practice based case study and accompanying critical review of evidence). Students will be required to provide a case study that discusses the holistic health care needs and any actual/potential nursing interventions for a patient/service user identified from their own clinical practice. From the case study, and as focus of the work, the student will select a clinical question that can be answered through a critical review of evidence that may include research, policy and clinical guidelines. Recommendations for any required changes to current practice in relation to patient care will be discussed.

Midwifery: (10,000 systematic review):
A critical and analytical dissertation, presented as a structured review based on the principles of a systematic review, on an area of midwifery practice selected by the student.

Social Work: (10,000 word literature review and case study):
 A literature review and case study with a conclusion totaling 10,000 words. The review will focus on answering a question relevant to Social Work practice, via a critical review of the literature, the analysis and interpretation of the results, recommendations for practice, and the completion of a practice-based case study.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours263.00
Total Contact hours37.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Private study will include extensive reading and appraisal of evidence data collection and analysis, whether data are obtained from primary empirical sources or from secondary sources (ie published studies)

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress is monitored first, according to attendance at timetabled teaching and second, by individual supervisors during the period of supervision.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay or Dissertation10,000 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/08/2020 08:37:17


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