Module MSE-3013:
Research Project

Module Facts

Run by School of Medical Sciences

40 Credits or 20 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Mr Merf Williams

Overall aims and purpose

  • Experience in lab based or in silico research
  • Advanced skills in reading research literature about the chosen topic in biomedical research
  • Advanced skills in writing a thesis about the results of the project
  • Poster presentation and discussion of data in a 1-day conference
  • Follow given protocols
  • Develop a research strategy in conjunction with supervisor.

Course content

  • Workshop about writing skills
  • Experimental or in silico work
  • Poster preparation and presentation
  • Thesis about project

Assessment Criteria

excellent

Category A (70%-100%):

Experimental Work: the student requires very little supervision leading the project after being introduced to the work. A very deep understanding of the employed methods and student suggests alternative or novel approaches to solve experimental problems. Requires only some guidance with the analysis of the findings. Very good record keeping of the work so that somebody who is not familiar with the work can understand what was done. Student carries the project throughout.

Dissertation (Manuscript):

Quality indicators: • Well-organized with high quality written English. • The manuscript has a narrative (i.e. tells a story) guiding the reader through the different sections. • The abstract can be understood without reading the main body of text giving information about the background, research needs, how the problem was addressed, the key findings and their impact. • The introduction leads from the wider, relevant background to the well-defined hypothesis, goals and experimental approach. • The results section guides the reader through the findings with reference to figures and tables, emphasizing the key findings and leading into to the next results paragraph. • Assumes the reader is not an expert in the field, technical & specialist terms are explained at first use. • Includes elements of data handling and hypothesis testing. • Tables and figures are used in an effective way and are well incorporated into the text (with legends and references to them by number in the text). Figure/tables and their legends must be understandable without reading the main body of text. • Text is well referenced (Harvard style). • Excellent knowledge of research area with comprehensive understanding of the current boundaries of the subject. May include some material unknown to supervisor. • Critical discussion of the findings in the context of the published literature, with original interpretation.

A* (90-100%): Work could provide the basis for a later publication or could contribute elements to a publicaton. Displays signs of superior originality of thought or approach and insight.

A+ (84-89%): Work could provide the basis for a later publication or could contribute elements to a publicaton, but only after revision. The student exceeds expectations in some of the general criteria and shows a complete command of the subject. Ideas/arguments are highly original.

A (78-83%): The work meets all general criteria. The student shows command of the subject but with minor gaps in knowledge. Ideas/arguments are mostly original.

A- (70-77%): The work meetss most general criteria. The student has command of the subject but with some gaps in knowledge. Ideas/arguments are mostly original.

Poster:

  • introduction is easy to follow for a lay person, introduction is complete
  • figures are fully annotated with complete legends (self-explanatory)
  • good balance between text and figures
  • summary complete
  • quality of the poster would be suitable for a professional scientific meeting.

In silico analysis:

  • students lead on the analysis and employ the tools to their full power
  • students explore additional tools which were not introduced
  • students combine results from different strands of their analysis to a coherent, well supported conclusion/model.

Plan:

  • students lead on the planning process
  • the plan meets all criteria
  • the importance of the key papers is well explained
  • the content is accessible for a lay reader (especially the lay summary)
  • the scientific abstract covers (i) background, (ii) research need/hypothesis), (iii) key papers and (iv) key methods.

good

Category B (60%-69%):

The marks reflect the leadership by the student, how well the work meets the criteria, how much evidence of critical thinking & analysis is present and the quality of the display items.

Experimental Work:

The student requires only some supervision throughout the project (more at the start whilst becoming more independent later). Good to average understanding of the employed methods. Requires only some guidance with the analysis of the findings. Good record keeping of the work. Good to average engagement with the project.

Thesis (Manuscript):

General Criteria:

  • Good organization and clear English.
  • Well-defined hypothesis, goals and experimental approach.
  • Logical approach to the topic.
  • Tables and figures are mostly relevant and generally contribute to the development of the topic, and are well incorporated into the text (with legends and references to them by number in the text).
  • Text is well referenced.
  • Clear understanding of the main issues and good knowledge of research area with some new material.
  • Some original interpretation.

Poster:

  • introduction may be too scientific and difficult to follow for a lay person
  • figures are mostly annotated with mostly complete legends (self-explanatory)
  • good to average balance between text and figures
  • summary complete
  • references complete

In silico analysis:

  • students requires more help and employs the tools only to their expected power
  • students don`t explore additional tools which were not introduced
  • students extract information from the different sources but find it challenging to combine them to a coherent, well supported conclusion/model.

Plan:

  • students requires additional help with the planning process
  • the plan meets most-many criteria
  • the importance of the key papers is explained
  • the content is too scientific, difficult to access for a lay reader (especially the lay summary)
  • the scientific abstract does not cover all points: (i) background, (ii) research need/hypothesis), (iii) key papers and (iv) key methods.

threshold

Category D (40%-49%):

The marks reflect the leadership by the student, how well the work meets the criteria, how much evidence of critical thinking & analysis is present and the quality of the display items.

Experimental Work:

The student requires tight supervision throughout the project. Limited understanding of the employed methods. Requires help with the analysis of the findings. Poor record keeping of the work. Limited engagement with the project.

Thesis (Manuscript):

General Criteria:

  • Average standard of written English.
  • Hypothesis, goals and/or experimental approach lacking in clarity.
  • Tables and figures may not always be relevant and may lack legends and references to them by number in the text.
  • Patchy referencing, poor cross referencing and/ or incorrect style.
  • Good knowledge of research area but may lack some key aspects, especially the more recent material.
  • Incomplete or superficial attempt to interpret the available evidence to address a specific hypothesis.
  • Report has some factual or computational errors.

Poster:

  • introduction is difficult to follow for a lay person, introduction is incomplete
  • figures incompletely labelled and/or difficult to read
  • figure legends missing or incomplete
  • too much text, not enough figures
  • summary incomplete or missing
  • references incomplete or missing

In silico analysis:

  • students requires significant help throughout
  • students don`t explore additional tools which were not introduced
  • students find it difficult to extract information and to combine them to a coherent conclusion/model.

Plan:

  • students requires significant help with the planning process
  • the plan meets only some criteria
  • the importance of the key papers is not explained
  • the content is far too scientific or inconsistent or off-topic
  • the scientific abstract does not cover these points: (i) background, (ii) research need/hypothesis), (iii) key papers and (iv) key methods.

C- to C+

Category C (50%-59%):

The marks reflect the leadership by the student, how well the work meets the criteria, how much evidence of critical thinking & analysis is present and the quality of the display items.

Experimental Work:

The student requires considerable supervision throughout the project (more at the start whilst becoming more independent later). Average understanding of the employed methods. Requires guidance with the analysis of the findings. Acceptable record keeping of the work. Average engagement with the project.

Thesis (Manuscript):

General Criteria:

  • Good organization and clear English.
  • Hypothesis, goals and experimental approach not so well defined.
  • Logical approach to the topic, but Result section lacks text and guidance making it very difficult for the reader to follow the work.
  • Tables and figures are mostly relevant and generally contribute to the development of the topic; they are not well incorporated into the text (e.g. no or limited legends neither references to them in the text).
  • Text is incompletely referenced.
  • Sound understanding of the main issues but limited knowledge of research area without new material.
  • no original interpretation.

Poster:

  • introduction may be too scientific and difficult to follow for a lay person
  • figures are incompletely annotated with incomplete legends (not self-explanatory)
  • too heavy on text and/or display items are very small
  • summary fails to introduce all key elements
  • references complete

In silico analysis:

  • students requires significant help and employs the tools only to their expected power
  • students don`t explore additional tools which were not introduced
  • students extract information from the different sources but find it challenging to combine them to a coherent, well supported conclusion/model.

Plan:

  • students requires significant help with the planning process
  • the plan meets most criteria
  • the importance of the key papers is incompletely explained
  • the content is too scientific, difficult to access for a lay reader (especially the lay summary)
  • the scientific abstract does not cover all points: (i) background, (ii) research need/hypothesis), (iii) key papers and (iv) key methods.

Learning outcomes

  1. Acquire the ability to conduct and analyse experimental research in biomedical sciences.

  2. Develop the skills to report your findings in the form of a written journal manuscript.

  3. Become proficient in presenting your findings on a poster.

  4. Learn how to apply basic bioinformatical tools to the study of the genome, transcriptome & proteome in the context of disease development.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
DISSERTATION Dissertation.

A 6000 word dissertation on an experimental or systematic review project.

80
INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION Poster Presentation at the annual SMS Research Conference

A poster on your research topic to be presented at the SMS research conference.

20

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study

Work on the thesis (manuscript). Reading the original literature. Analysing the data. Preparing figures & tables. Prepare the poster.

255
Individual Project

Research Time (equals approximately 4 weeks full-time). As students are expected to lead on the project, more time can be spent working in the laboratory or on the in silico project.

120
Lecture

Introduction to scientific writing and guidance on poster format. Workshops on various aspects of bioinformatics tools.

18
Workshop

One day research event with poster presentation, where students will have the opportunity to discuss their scientific projects with their peers, academic staff, second year students and invited guests.

7

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

Biomedical Science benchmarks:

The programme aims to give students a comprehension of scientific investigation of molecular, genetic and cellular causes of human diseases based on human systems. (benchmarks: 5.1; 5.3; 5.5)

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to engage with essential facts, major concepts, principles and theories associated with human anatomy and physiology, body-drug interactions, cell biology, molecular biology, medical genetics, blood sciences, immunology and medical microbiology and understand the biological mechanisms underlying human pathological conditions and the basis of the analytical techniques used to diagnose and monitor these conditions. (benchmark: 6.4)

Graduates will be able to apply their knowledge to a professional, evidence-based approach to research into the pathogenesis and origins of disease processes. (benchmark: 6.2)

To plan and execute hypothesis-driven research or development work, present coherent scientific arguments, evaluate the evidence and draw valid conclusions and communicate to expert and lay audiences. (benchmark: 4.3)

Biomedical science graduates are aware of the current laboratory methods to investigate and diagnose human diseases in clinical and research environments. This includes an appreciation of research and the development of new technologies. (benchmark: 6.3)

Biomedical sciences graduates should recognise and apply subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts or principles to reach evidence-based decisions. (benchmark: 4.2)

To be able to receive and respond to a variety of sources of information (textual, numerical, verbal, graphical), carry out sample selection, produce record scientific records & analyse data within a statistical context (an understanding of statistical significance and statistical power), and to communicate the outcomes to a variety of audiences using a range of formats, media and approaches including the avoidance of plagiarism. (benchmark: 4.4; 4.5)

Be able to undertake practical investigations in a responsible, safe and ethical manner while paying attention to risk assessment, relevant health and safety regulations, ethical issues, procedures for obtaining ethical permission and informed consent and issues relating to patient welfare. (benchmark: 4.3)

Graduates should develop the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning, have an appreciation for the role and impact of intellectual property, and identify and work towards targets for personal, academic, professional and career development. (benchmark: 4.7)

To be able to identify individual and collective goals and responsibilities and perform in a manner appropriate to these roles, in particular those being developed through practical, laboratory and/or field studies. (benchmark 4.6).

Resources