MSc Clinical Dentistry (Paediatric Dentistry) / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Research Methods

Course unit fact file
Unit code DENT61010
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Division of Dentistry
Available as a free choice unit? No


The Research Methods unit is an interactive online course which provides students with an introduction to key material required for the design, execution and interpretation of clinical and clinically-related research.

The course is supplemented with optional timetabled face-to-face sessions which will be used to consolidate the online material and provide students with an opportunity to discuss the topics in person.

The course is presented in a series of nine topics over ten teaching weeks:

  1. Library Skills
  2. Epidemiology - key concepts
  3. Epidemiology - study design
  4. Critical Appraisal (2 weeks)
  5. Dissertation Skills
  6. Protocol Design
  7. Ethics
  8. Systematic reviews and meta-analysis
  9. Evidence based practice



Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Biostatistics DENT70001 Co-Requisite Compulsory


The unit aims to produce students who are competent in issues related to the design, execution and interpretation of clinical and clinically-related research. The latter may include medical education, public health and basic-science areas such as genetics, microbiology or biomaterials.  The Research Methods units also provides students with critical appraisal skills so that on a life-long basis they will be able to apply these skills to assess any research evidence that comes before them.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  • Understand key epidemiological concepts.
  • Understand the structure of, and be able to differentiate between, the common types of epidemiological studies.
  • Identify different types of data.
  • Understand basic statistical issues needed for the development of a study protocol.
  • Understand the key issues to consider when critically appraising different study designs.
  • Understand key ethics and research governance documents and legislation, such as the Helsinki Declaration, and legislation such as the UK Data Protection Act.
  • Understand procedures relating to obtaining ethical approval for your research, using the UK NHS Ethics Committee system as an example.
  • Define evidence based practice and recognise the keys steps involved in its practice.
  • Recognise the role of secondary research in EBP (including systematic reviews and clinical guidelines).
  • Discuss the role of research in a clinical discipline.
  • Explore the development of a research idea from hypothesis through to the drawing of conclusions.
  • Make a judgement on the quality of a research article with consideration of implications for clinical practice/future research.
  • Discuss issues regarding the implementation of research findings.

Assessment methods

Assessment of this unit is comprised of the following elements:

  • Mid-semester assignment (1,500 words) - 35%
  • End of semester assignment (2,500 words) - 60%
  • Participation in discussion board activities - 5%


Feedback methods

Feedback will be provided on Blackboard within the required timeframes.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
eAssessment 50
Work based learning 100

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Juliette Kendall Unit coordinator

Additional notes

The course will be delivered predominantly through our e-learning platform. A variety of online material will be utilised, including web-based reading, audio presentations, online discussions, tutor feedback, interactive group exercises, self-assessment through multiple choice questionnaires and self-reflection.

Some programmes will also run face-to-face symposiums with tutor presentations and some group work. These are open to all students; however no new material will be covered at the events and students who are not able to attend will not be penalised in any way.

ADJUSTMENT FOR 2021-22 Academic year: some face-to-face symposiums will be replaced with online presentations, available to all.

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