Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions


Professional and Research Skills

Module titleProfessional and Research Skills
Module codeHPDM048
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Dr Jon Locke (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module aims to prepare you for undertaking either of the Research Project (60 or 30 credit) modules. You will be taught how to approach and conduct a literature review, establishing and critiquing current knowledge with respect to a specific research question. You will be taught how to approach analysing data using appropriate statistical methodology. You will practice the skill of disseminating your research to non-scientific (lay) and scientific audiences, in oral and written forms.  In summary, the module will cover the skills necessary to carry out scientific research and disseminate its findings.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module will develop the skills necessary for you to carry out scientific research.  We will provide you with a list of research topics and you will use this to write a grant application which will form the summative assessment. You will learn how to gather and appraise published research which will help with writing literature reviews and data project write-ups.  You will learn how to analyse data and understand the fundamentals of simple statistical tests.  A scientific writing workshop will help you develop a writing style appropriate for target audience.  You will have the opportunity to present your research proposal to a lay audience, which will enable you to appreciate the increasing importance funders place on Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) in defining and revising important research questions.  You will also learn how Health Research Authority (HRA) approval seeks to ensure within-NHS research studies are of a high quality, safe and ethical.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. The nature of this module means that all module ILOs are also discipline-specific, see discipline-specific ILOs below.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Understand the fundamentals of descriptive and inferential statistics and use of simple statistical tests to describe a sample or make inferences about a population.
  • 2. Learn efficient and methodical ways to gather and appraise published research.
  • 3. Evaluate the various methods available to communicate scientific messages to different audiences, including patients and public

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Communicate accurately and effectively with peers, tutors and the public.
  • 5. Critically reflect on personal practice and make connections between known and unknown areas, to allow for personal development, adaptation and change.
  • 6. Respond to innovation and new technologies and be able to evaluate these in the context of best practice and the need for improved service delivery and/or improved research performance.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows:

  • Formulating a clear research question
  • Efficient searching of the literature
  • Methodical approaches to critically appraising published research
  • Designing studies of suitable statistical rigour; power/sample size calculations, non-parametric/parametric data, paired data, outliers, subgroup analysis, correlation, regression, probability, confidence intervals
  • Scientific writing; the message vs title of the paper, brainstorming, paragraph structure, storyboards, referencing, active vs passive voice.
  • Regulation of health research within the NHS; Health Research Authority (HRA) approval including the role of Research Ethics Committees (RECs)
  • Writing for a lay audience; readability statistics  
  • Methods for communicating scientific messages to different audiences; social media

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities 2Student presentations. . Presentations (e.g. PowerPoint-based presentation to group in face-to-face setting) may be replaced by PowerPoint-based presentation to the group using Teams/Zoom.
Scheduled learning and teaching activities 18Workshops/seminars. Small-group discussion in tutorials and seminars may be replaced by synchronous group discussion on Teams/ Zoom
Guided independent study8Reading of provided project proposals and selection in advance of contact day 1
Guided independent study12Preparation of powerpoint presentation for contact day 3
Guided independent study31Writing of project grant application
Guided independent study75Online resources and independent guided literature research
Guided Independent Study4Editing of PowerPoint presentation following lay and peer feedback


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Oral presentation – feedback from lay panel and peers5-15 slides (8-12 minutes) 1-6Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Grant application 702000 words1-6Written
Oral presentation305-15 slides (8-12 minutes)1-6Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Grant application (70%)Re-write of grant application (2000 words)1-6Typically within six weeks of the result
Oral presentation (30%)5-15 slides (8-12 minutes) narrated1-6Typically within six weeks of the result

Re-assessment notes

Please refer to the TQA section on Referral/Deferral:  


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Greenhalgh, T. (2019). How to Read a Paper: The Basics of Evidence-Based Medicine 6th edition. Hoboken, New Jersey, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd 

Matthews, J.R. (2014). Successful Scientific Writing: A Step-by-Step Guide for the Biological and Medical Sciences 4th edition. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: Cambridge University Press 

Field, A. and Hole, G. (2003). How to Design and Report Experiments. London, Greater London: SAGE Publications 

Browne, M.N. and Keeley, S.M. (2014). Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking. Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education Ltd

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Professional, research, skills

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date