MSc (Clin) Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:
Research Methods

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 and the production of a high quality dissertation.

The course will run over a 10 week period, 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.

Topics covered include:

  • Library skills
  • Dissertation skills (time management, academic writing and reference management)
  • Designing a study (protocol development, types of data, basic statistics)
  • Epidemiology (key concepts and different epidemiological study designs)
  • Critical appraisal
  • Ethics, research governance and data protection
  • Evidence based practice and systematic reviews.


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 basic statistical issues and key epidemiological concepts needed for the development of a study protocol;
  • understand the structure of, and be able to differentiate between, the common types of epidemiological studies;
  • identify different types of data;
  • understand procedures relating to obtaining ethical approval for your research, using the UK NHS Ethics Committee system as an example;
  • define evidence based dentistry and recognise the keys steps involved in its practice;
  • recognise the role of secondary research in EBP (including systematic reviews and clinical guidelines)nd basic statistical issues needed for the development of a study protocol;
  • discuss the role of research in a clinical discipline;
  • explore the development of a research idea from hypothesis through to the drawing of conclusions;
  • identify key bibliographic databases relevant to the area of specialty;
  • carry out focussed searches to identify research literature relevant to a chosen topic area;
  • develop and implement a framework for successful project/time management;
  • have a clear understanding of the key components of academic writing;
  • be able to use bibliographic software (Endnote) for searching online bibliographic databases, organising references, images and PDFs, and creating bibliographies and figure lists;
  • critically appraise literature to a high standard;
  • apply skills for identifying, appraising, synthesising and applying evidence, in professional practice.


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 60%
Written assignment (inc essay) 40%

The unit is assessed by a mid-term assignment of 1,500 words (40% of final mark) and a final assignment of 2,500 words (60% of final mark).

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
eAssessment 50
Work based learning 100
Independent study hours
Independent study 0

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Kathryn Taylor Unit coordinator

Additional notes

The course will be delivered predominantly through e-learning over a period of 10 weeks, with three timetabled face-to-face symposiums. A variety of online material will be utilised including web-based reading, audio presentations, online discussions, tutor feedback, interactive exercises, self-assessment through MCQs and self-reflection. The face-to-face symposiums will be a mix of tutor presentations, group work and student presentations.

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