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OPT008: Study and Research Skills 1

This module aims to provide you with an appreciation of  your own learning style and will help explain the problems of distance learning and how to be effective in managing independent studies.

The module provides the background information to enable you to understand the principles of research methodology - the ability to recognise and validate problems encountered in optometry-related research. It includes ethical and statistical considerations in optometric research and develops the skills to critically evaluate scientific papers.

This module is compulsory for all students enrolled on the Masters in Clinical Optometry programme. It complements module OPT016.

This is a distance learning only module. There is no practical component to this module.

Start dateSeptember / March
Credits10 credits - No CET points available for this module
Module tutorsTony Redmond (Leader)
Grant Robinson
Tuition fees (2020/21)£620 - Home students
£1155  - Students from outside the EU
*Please contact us for EU fees
Module codeOPT008

Learning objectives

Upon completion of this module, you should be able to:

  • identify useful techniques to optimise opportunities to learn
  • name and identify principles of study design and protocol development
  • identify and evaluate the ethical implications of research on human subjects or tissue samples, as well as the appropriate process of applying for approval
  • demonstrate critical evaluation of scientific research output
  • demonstrate critical evaluation of research design
  • identify suitable statistical tests, given a case scenario
  • critique the use of basic statistical tests in published literature
  • demonstrate the use of specialised electronic resources for research.

How the module will be delivered

This distance learning only module is taught via lectures (Powerpoint with audio) and podcasts (audio files), delivered via Learning Central, the University’s e-learning system, with supporting resources and references supplied. There is an introductory webinar, and a further session of guided online learning.

Discussion boards accessed via Learning Central will provide a platform for students to discuss any questions or queries that come up throughout the term with both the course tutors and their peers.

Further statistical support from Project Supervisors is provided to those students who go on to enrol for a Master’s project (OPT060 or OPT063).

Syllabus content

  • Self assessment of learning style
  • Independent study skills
  • Study design and developing protocols
  • Ethical considerations
  • Critical review of published research
  • Statistics

Skills that will be practised and developed

Academic skills

  • Advance your own knowledge and understanding
  • Collate and synthesise information from several resources to improve learning
  • Write concisely and clearly for the academic and clinical community
  • Interpret data

Generic skills

  • Manage projects and time
  • Work independently
  • Use a range of IT software packages and online resources
  • Problem solving

How the module will be assessed


Students can submit a critical evaluation (1000 words) of a research paper and a critical evaluation of a research proposal (1000 words). Feedback will inform their summative coursework.


  • Online Test (40%): There is an MCQ test that will assess comprehension and application across the entire syllabus which students take at the end of the lecture series.
  • Written Coursework (60%): Students will submit two critical evaluations, one of a research paper and one of a research proposal.


Postgraduate team

School of Optometry and Vision Sciences