Module MSE-4073:
Medical Research Project

Module Facts

Run by School of Medical Sciences

60 Credits or 30 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Miss Alyson Moyes

Overall aims and purpose

This innovative research module empowers Master students to perform independent, hypothesis driven research under the supervision of an experienced academic. It provides experience in laboratory based and/or in silico research focusing on knowledge gaps in the medical and biomedical areas. Students are encouraged to become critical thinkers and they will learn how to report research work in the form of a journal article and an oral presentation.

Course content

This student-led research module runs throughout the academic year to allow students to start the research work.

It is the responsibility of the student to liaise with the allocated supervisor to arrange the details of the project.

At the heart of this module is a strong research ethos with a high emphasis on publication and manuscript writing. All projects must address a research need in the medical/biomedical area based on a hypothesis which is developed jointly by the student and the supervisor. The work has to be experimental but can be entirely in silico based.

Students report & discuss the outcomes of their hypothesis-driven research

  1. in the format of a scientific manuscript written for the NATURE journal Scientific Reports [1] and
  2. in an oral presentation at the SMS Research Conference.

External Projects: Project which are externally conducted require a SMS supervisor in addition to the external supervisor. Students need to present a research plan to the Deputy Head of School for T&L prior to the start of the external work.

Assessment Criteria

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.

Manuscript:

General Criteria:

  • Good organization and clear English.
  • Good-to-limited use of bioinformatical & statistical analysis tools
  • 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.

Talk:

  • introduction may be too scientific and difficult to follow for a lay person
  • figures are mostly annotated (self-explanatory)
  • good to average balance between text and figures
  • summary complete
  • good to medium engagement with the audience and good to medium response to questions

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.

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.
  • Good-to-excellent use of bioinformatical & statistical analysis tools
  • 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 be published with few modifications. Displays signs of superior originality of thought or approach and insight.

A+ (84-89%): Work may be published but needs re-writing. 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.

Talk:

  • The introduction is easy to follow for a lay person, introduction is complete
  • The figures are fully annotated (self-explanatory)
  • A good balance between text and figures
  • The summary is complete and understandable for a lay reader
  • The quality of the talk would be suitable for a professional scientific meeting.
  • A good engagement with audience and good response to questions

threshold

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 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.

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.
  • Neither bioinformatical nor statistical analysis tools have been used (or wrongly used)
  • 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.

Talk:

  • The introduction is difficult to follow for a lay person, introduction is incomplete
  • The figures are incompletely labelled and/or difficult to understand
  • Too much text, not enough figures
  • The summary is incomplete or missing
  • No or very little engagement with the audience, no or weak response to questions

Learning outcomes

  1. Grow into a confident person who can present complex research to a lay audience.

  2. Develop advanced scientific writing skills to produce a manuscript suitable for submission to a journal.

  3. Review the relevant literature in the context of the research project.

  4. Become a critical thinker who bases conclusions on evidence.

  5. Aquire the skills to independently conduct hypothesis-driven research.

  6. Learn how to analyse research data in a robust and defendable way.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
REPORT Scientific Reports Manuscript 60
LOGBOOK OR PORTFOLIO Lab book 10
ORAL Oral research Presentation 30

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study

Students write the manuscript according to the Guidlines for Authors of the journal Scientific Reports and they prepare the oral

200
Individual Project

Student conduct the experimental and/or in silico work after having successfully completed year 3.

400

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
  • 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