Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

MEDI6071 Dissertation by Research/Professional Project

Module Overview

You have the option of doing a dissertation by research or a professional project in which you critically appraise the literature relevant to a particular area of practice. Dissertation by Research: This will be a hypothesis driven research project that entails small-scale empirical research involving quantitative or qualitative research methods to produce new knowledge. Research involving human participants requires the appropriate University governance. Dissertation by Professional Project: This can take a variety of forms, including: • Audit: a process that seeks to improve the quality and outcomes of a service through reviewing the delivery of a service against explicit criteria in a systematic fashion. Where indicated, changes are implemented at an individual, team or service level and further monitoring is used to confirm improvements. • Service Evaluation: evaluates the effectiveness or efficiency of an existing or new service/practice that is evidence based, with the intention of generating information to inform local decision-making. This type of activity is sometimes referred to as a clinical effectiveness study, baseline audit, activity analysis, organisational audit and benchmarking. • Needs Assessment: a systematic process for determining and addressing needs, or "gaps" between current conditions and desired conditions or "wants". The discrepancy between the current condition and wanted condition must be measured to appropriately identify the need. The need can be a desire to improve current performance or to correct a deficiency. • Systematic Review: a literature review focused on a research question that tries to identify, appraise, select and synthesize all high quality research evidence relevant to that question. Differences between research, audit and evaluation: • Research: Generates new knowledge where there is no or limited research evidence available and which has the potential to be generalisable or transferable. • Audit: Measures existing practice against evidence-based standards. • Evaluation: Evaluates the effectiveness or efficiency of an existing or new process that is evidence based, with the intention of generating information to inform local decision making.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Select and justify an appropriate method to conduct the investigation/review
  • Substantiate and justify the links between your own project and the application of research to solving public health problems
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Conceptualise and structure a complex problem so that a testable hypothesis or appropriate research question can be derived
  • Critically appraise the relevant literature illuminating the background and (theoretical) context of the study
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Develop and test a hypothesis or develop and answer a programme question.
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of ethical considerations and processes
  • Communicate public health research in different formats


• Proposal development • Project planning: asking the right research or programmatic question • Research process: designing a project • Ethical processes • Analysis • Report writing • Critical appreciation and interpretation • Presentation skills • Working under supervision • Time management

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Group tutorials, individual research supervision and access to Faculty staff and resources. A member of staff from the relevant Faculty will supervise you on a one-to-one basis. You will be given a Dissertation Handbook that outlines all the requirements for the project

Independent Study570
Total study time600

Resources & Reading list

Faculty of Medicine Postgraduate Taught Masters Programme Research Project Handbook (on internal website). 


Assessment Strategy

There will be four components to the assessment, two formative and two summative. The formative include a project proposal and mid-way viva examination and the summative the written paper/report and an oral presentation. The pass mark for the module and summative components is 50%. The written paper must be passed to pass the module. If you do not achieve the pass mark on this module by achieving 50% or more in all components, you may still pass by compensation for the oral presentation. To do this, you must achieve a qualifying mark of 40% in this component. Both component marks are then combined, using the appropriate weighting, to give an overall mark for the module. If this overall mark is greater than or equal to 50% you will have passed the module. If your overall mark is less than 50% when the weighting has been applied to both components, you will have failed the module. If you have not achieved 40% or more on both components, you cannot use compensation and have failed the module. If you have failed the module, you will have the opportunity to submit work at the next referral (re-sit) opportunity for the components where you have not achieved the pass mark. Marks for components which were passed will be carried forward. You must achieve the pass mark in all referred components. On passing your referrals, your final module mark will be capped at 50%. Assessment weighting: students must pass (at 50% or above) the written course work


Project proposal template


MethodPercentage contribution
Oral presentation  (30 minutes) 15%
Written paper  (6600 words) 85%


MethodPercentage contribution
Oral presentation  (30 minutes) 15%
Written paper  (6600 words) 85%


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Travel Costs for placements

Students doing professional projects that are not local are expected to cover their travel and accommodation costs

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings