HAR679: Dissertation


The unit enables students to develop an understanding of the processes and the skills required to undertake a supervised research project in public health. Having successfully completed the unit, a student will be able to: demonstrate researcher skills commensurate with the achievement of a master's degree; demonstrate independence of inquiry; produce a cogently argued piece of writing that demonstrates researcher competence and the ability to operate independently; address issues of research design, methodology, ethics and theoretical arguments, and locate their own research in relation to these issues.

Aims & Objectives

The unit aims to develop the knowledge and skills required to undertake and write up a research project in public health at master’s level.
• To enable students to develop research skills commensurate with the accomplishment of a master’s degree
• To enable students to develop skills in independent inquiry
• To enable students to produce a coherent and logically argued piece of writing that demonstrates competence in research and the ability to operate independently
• To enable you to address issues of research design, methodology, ethics and theoretical arguments, and locate a piece of research within these

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

    1. Identify and refine an appropriate research question;

    2. Apply principles of research design to the question, and select an appropriate methodology;

    3. Undertake either primary, secondary data collection, or a literature review;

    4. Analyse data using an appropriate methodology;

    5. Evaluate the ethical implications of their research, and if required submit a successful application to a research ethics committee;

    6. Assess critically the findings of their research for public health or health service delivery;

    7.Present the findings of their project in a written report

Teaching Methods

The teaching methods aim to give the students the confidence to undertake an original piece of research with the support and guidance of supervisors. Seminars and lectures will be used to outline what is expected from students and to help them develop their research question and proposal ensuring that all projects comply with both ethics and governance requirements (LOs 1 - 5). Specific sessions will prepare students for obtaining appropriate ethical approval for their research (LO 5). One-to-one supervision sessions will provide a formal process of support to the students throughout the project including comments on drafts of the dissertation LOs 1-7).


Formative assessment: The research proposal (0% of final module mark)
Research proposals are not graded and do not count to your overall mark for this module. However, you will not be able to pass the module without submitting a proposal. Supervisors will provide detailed feedback on the proposal via the MOLE Grade Centre.

Summative assessment: The dissertation (100% of final module mark)
Students will be assessed by submission of a written 8, 000 to 12,000 word dissertation.