MSc Pharmaceutical Technology and Quality Assurance

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Research Project

Course unit fact file
Unit code PHAR61810
Credit rating 60
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Full year
Available as a free choice unit? No


The unit aims to provide students with a unique experience of designing and proposing an original research project.  It will develop the students’ ability to critically appraise published research, formulate and work with a relevant research question, understand and apply appropriate research and data-analytic methodologies.  Students will refine scientific writing and presentation skills and will demonstrate independent learning skill. 

The students will conduct a piece of empirical research that either addresses a specific research question in the field of pharmaceutical sciences or involves the development and evaluation of new or existing technologies.

The students will be required to undertake a thorough systematic review of the scientific literature relevant to the project, which will be written up and form the introduction to the dissertation. The dissertation will also contain a clear and informed description of the methodologies employed and presentation and analysis of the data generated and a logical, scientifically valid and robust discussion of the findings.

Students will be equipped with the skills to design and develop research proposals to constantly improve and develop pharmaceutical sciences.

Teaching and learning methods

Students are given access to unit PHAR60512 – Research methods.

Students carry out their research project in their place of work and each has an approved supervisor who they are expected to meet each month over the period of the dissertation.  The remainder of the time is spent carrying out the literature search, developing a method and doing the research finally presenting their results both orally and as a 10,000 - 15,000 word dissertation.

Students are supported by the academic supervisor, unit lead and programme director throughout the unit via telephone, emails and visits where possible. In addition all students have a work-based tutor who offers them subject specific advice and personal support.

Knowledge and understanding

Students will be able to: 

  • carry out a literature search in the topic area
  • synthesise and critically analyse the literature to inform the research project design
  • demonstrate an ability to design an appropriate research experiment.
  • employ appropriate techniques and methods to answer the research question
  • critically analyse data from and if appropriate, apply statistical analytical techniques to the data
  • understand the limitations of the methods used.
  • critically review the data gathered and the literature to form a conclusion answering the research question.
  • present the results in both written and oral forms
  • discuss the stages of the research and innovation process from conceptualisation to dissemination and if appropriate translation into practice.

Intellectual skills

Students will be able to: 

  • critically demonstrate considerable in-depth skills in terms of research; critical thinking; reasoning; and analysis and synthesis of information
  • generate timely and theoretically grounded research questions
  • critically analyse, evaluate and interpret data from the specific enquiry
  • apply appropriate and relevant statistical tools.

Practical skills

Students will be able to: 

  • design, plan and undertake a research project to test a hypothesis from conception to completion/archiving in accordance with ethical and research governance regulations drawing on expert advice where necessary and involving patients and service users
  • plan and conduct a detailed, focused and current literature search
  • implement and manage data collection
  • conduct appropriate analytical technique
  • analyse the data using appropriate methods and statistical techniques and interpret, critically discuss and draw conclusions from the data
  • prepare a written project that describes and critically evaluates the research project clearly identifying the strengths and weaknesses
  • present a summary of the research project and outcome that conforms to the format of a typical scientific presentation at a national or international scientific meeting, responding to questions appropriately.
  • prepare a summary of the research project suitable for non-specialist and lay audience.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Students will be able to: 

  • demonstrate independent thought
  • develop self-management project skills (e.g. time management, prioritisation of tasks)
  • in-depth and extensive capabilities in the analysis and synthesis of new and past evidence on the topic, as demonstrated and applied to their area of research
  • engage in systematic and critical reflection of personal practice and the practice of others in relation to the enquiry.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Dissertation 80%
Oral assessment/presentation 20%

Other assessments:

  • Project proposal (1,000 words max, Pass / Fail).

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
eAssessment 10
Project supervision 30
Independent study hours
Independent study 560

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Lynda Harris Unit coordinator

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