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OPT008: Study and Research Skills 1

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

It also provides the background information to enable students 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.

Start dateSeptember / March
Duration20 contact hours over one academic term
Credits10 credits - No CET points available for this module
Module tutorsTony Redmond (Leader)
Module codeOPT008

Learning objectives

To acquire knowledge and understanding at an advanced level about:

  • Learning styles amongst adults
  • The principles of study design and protocol development
  • The ethical implications of research on human subjects.

To apply this knowledge and demonstrate awareness of:

  • Your own learning style and how it impacts on your study skills
  • How to apply for ethical approval from Cardiff University and the NHS
  • The extent of information resources available to your field
  • Statistical approaches to data analysis
  • Available statistical software packages to support you in your research.

To apply this knowledge and demonstrate how to:

  • Identify key research questions for a chosen topic and design an experiment to answer them
  • Perform critical evaluation of scientific papers and research
  • Search for appropriate information whilst maintaining a critical approach to the available literature
  • Choose the appropriate statistical test.

How the module will be delivered

This module is taught via 19 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. This is a distance learning only module.

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

How the module will be assessed

This module contains formative and summative assessments. For the coursework component, students will be given two research papers and two research proposals.

Formative assessment

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.

Summative assessment

Online Examination (40%): There is a 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 (1000 words each). One of a research paper and one of a research proposal.

Syllabus content

  • How we learn
  • Learning styles
  • Independent study skills
  • How research in higher education institutions works
  • Searching for information and collecting references
  • Writing a research proposal
  • Study design and developing protocols
  • Ethical considerations for human and animal research
  • Critical review of published research
  • Statistical considerations for research.

Skills that will be practised and developed

Academic skills:

  • The identification of strengths and weaknesses and gaps in current knowledge
  • How to evaluate and interpret qualitative or quantitative data
  • The ability to write concisely and clearly for the academic community.

Subject-specific skills:

  • Designing clinical research projects
  • Understand how such research translates into evidence-based practice in optometry
  • A working knowledge of statistical approaches in research.

Generic skills:

  • Project and time management
  • Working independently
  • Develop IT skills
  • Refining analytical and problem-solving skills.


Postgraduate team

School of Optometry and Vision Sciences