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OPT060: MSc Research Project

This module forms a compulsory part of the MSc in Clinical Optometry, where the student completes a project through advanced study or research

Students must successfully complete a research project in an area relevant to optometry, and write up a report on the published literature (up to 20,000 words).

MSc project topics can be suggested by the student or chosen from a list provided by staff. The topic for research is agreed between the module leader, proposed supervisor(s) and the student, and studies based in one’s own clinical practice are encouraged wherever possible. It is the general intention that the project will be conducted whilst the student continues with their regular employment, and a period of one year will normally be allowed for completion.

Start dateSeptember / March
Credits60 credits - CET points available
Module tutorsDr Tony Redmond
Module codeOPT060

Learning objectives

On completion of the module a student should be able to:

  • To appreciate the extent of information resources available to their field of chosen research
  • To search for appropriate information whilst maintaining a critical approach to the available literature
  • To demonstrate expertise in their chosen subject area
  • To demonstrate an understanding of research methodology and study design
  • To show deep understanding of the techniques and rationale used in their research
  • To understand the analysis of experimental data and be able to conduct such tests independently
  • To demonstrate an awareness of other statistical approaches to data analysis
  • To show understanding of results and conclusions of the work, and its limitations (as appropriate)
  • To relate the findings to those of other researchers and current optometric practice.

How the module will be delivered

Independent study is key to this module and is fully supported by the supervisors and course team.

Students will attend an introductory seminar, either by face-to-face or via the VLE, with the module leader and prospective supervisor(s) to explain the module and the expectations of the supervisor(s). The frequency of communication and/or meetings between the student and the supervisor(s) will be determined on an individual basis: regular communication between student and supervisor(s) is a key to success.

Students will be directed to appropriate resources and generic texts to support their chosen topic and their research skill development. From this initial learning, the research/review question will be further refined, followed by the development of the Research Project.

How the module will be assessed

Informal formative assessment will take place at regular intervals throughout the project, via communication with supervisor(s) who will provide feedback on the student’s progress.

The assessment (100%) occurs at the end of the module when a written project report is submitted within the agreed time frame (normally 12 months). This is examined by the supervisor and also marked by another member of staff in the School of Optometry & Vision Sciences., The final award is approved by the PGT Examinations Board (after consultation with the External Examiners).

The standard expected in research projects is that which demonstrates that the student meets the criteria for a qualification at level 7, as set down by the QAA benchmarks

Syllabus content

This module will cover the following topics which will be developed as appropriate by the student:

  • Identification of  a suitable evidence based research hypothesis
  • An experimental design/ research methodology which tests the research hypothesis
  • Ethical aspects of the research design and methodology
  • Collection and/or compilation of ‘quality’ data
  • Statistical analysis appropriate to the experimental design/ research methodology and to the type of data
  • Discussion of the research findings in the context of the current literature
  • Written and verbal presentation skills

Skills that will be practised and developed

Academic skills

* The identification of strengths and weaknesses and gaps in current knowledge
* How to collect, evaluate and interpret qualitative or quantitative data
* Organise and critically appraise experimental data
* The ability to write concisely and clearly for the academic community
* A working knowledge of statistical approaches in research

Subject-specific skills

* Designing clinical research projects
* Develop research in optometry;
* Understand how such research translates into evidence-based practice in optometry

Generic skills

* Project and time management
* Working independently
* Engaging with the scientific and academic community
* Develop IT skills
* Collect, evaluate and interpret qualitative or quantitative data
* Refining analytical and problem-solving skills
* Evaluate the aims and results of a scientific study
* Develop communication and presentation skills