Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions


Independent Research (CE and HLM)

Module titleIndependent Research (CE and HLM)
Module codeHPDM135
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Professor Karen Mattick (Convenor)

Dr Mike Eaton (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module is the piece of independent research associated with the Masters programmes in Clinical Education, and Healthcare Leadership & Management, and is designed to enable you to produce a project report under supervision, and to demonstrate project design, development, evaluation, synthesis and dissemination skills.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of the independent research module is to enable you to demonstrate their ability to design, conduct, evaluate and write up a project on a topic that is of relevance to the title and aim of their award and in doing so, to demonstrate self-direction, originality and an ability to act autonomously in the planning and implementation of project skills at an advanced professional level. 


Supervisors will be drawn from academic staff depending on the research interest of the student.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Systematically and critically review relevant theory and methodology in the design and development of an independent project
  • 2. Provide evidence of skills in the formulation of research questions, identification of aims and objectives and clarification and justification of choice of methodological approach

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 3. Critically analyse, evaluate and synthesise a project’s findings and interpret their relevance within the context of established or emerging theories, policies and/or professional practice
  • 4. Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems in the conduct of a project that is methodologically and ethically sound

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 5. Present a logically argued and clearly written project report that will aim to enhance knowledge and understanding of an area of practice at an advanced level
  • 6. Critically evaluate and reflect upon their own strengths, limitations and performance with reference to the design, development, organisation and write up of the project

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

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


Students will work under the supervision of one or more supervisors to undertake an independent research process including the following components:

  • Select a topic area that is relevant and important to the field of study
  • Develop a research question that is appropriate to the scale of a Masters independent research project
  • Justify the need for the research with support from the background literature
  • Develop an appropriate methodological approach with which to answer the research question
  • Consider the ethical principles relating to the chosen project and apply for ethical approval to proceed
  • Collect and analyse the data associated with the research project in a rigorous way, justifying your approach
  • Write up the research project in a manner appropriate to the intended audience, ensuring that the findings/discussions answer the research question.

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 activities40Supervision meetings (scheduled by arrangement between individual students and supervisors). Face-to-face meetings with dissertation supervisors may be replaced by meetings supported by email/phone/Teams/Zoom; and some lab/data projects may be replaced by Literature or data projects only.
Guided Independent Study100Resource gathering and in-depth reading
Guided Independent Study260Project design and delivery
Guided Independent Study200Preparation and writing of written report and presentation


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Feedback and discussion with supervisor40 hours2-4,6Oral and online

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
Project report following journal guidelines80Maximum 5,000 words (dependent on target journal guidance)1-5Written
Oral Presentation. 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; or submission of a narrated PowerPoint.2010 minutes + 5 minutes questions1-5Written


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Project report following journal guidelines (80%)Maximum 5,000 words (dependent on target journal guidance)1-5Typically within 12 weeks of the result
Oral presentation (20%)10 minutes + 5 minutes questions1-5Typically within 12 weeks of the result

Re-assessment notes

If it is not practical for a reassessed presentation to be given in person then a video-conferenced/Skype presentation or a video submission may be accepted at the assessor’s discretion.


Please also refer to the TQA section on Referral/Deferral:  


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Dixon N (2001) Writing for publication a guide for new authors. International Journal for Quality in Healthcare. 13;5:417-21 


 Day RA and Gastel B (2006) How to write and publish a scientific paper. Cambridge University Press 


 Lock D. (2007).The Essentials of Project Management (3rd edition). Aldershot, Gower Publishing 


 Rudestam, K. and Newton, R. (2007). Surviving your Dissertation: A Comprehensive Guide to Content and Process (3rd edition). London, Sage Publications. 


 Swetnam, D. (2005). How to Plan, Prepare and Present Successful Work (3rd edition). Trowbridge, Cromwell Press Ltd.

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Research project, dissertation, thesis.

Credit value60
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date