LS6014 Bioscience Project
Project report and viva
- A) Assignment Guidelines
Module Learning Outcomes Assessed:
- devise, develop and implement a plan of research;
- critically evaluate, analyse and present qualitative and quantitative information and data that addresses a hypothesis or research question;
- prepare a structured, critical evaluation of a research topic in the form of a written report;
- demonstrate a thorough knowledge of a selected research topic both orally and in writing;
- demonstrate key communication (written and oral), problem-solving, time management and appropriate ICT skills. Students will be expected to demonstrate independent learning skills throughout the course of the module. Numeracy skills will also be required to successfully acquire, manipulate and evaluate data;
- evaluate risk, ethics and health and safety in relation to research projects.
Report (80% of the module mark)
You are required to produce a written report on your research project of no more than 5,000 words. Two paper copies of the bound report should be submitted to the SEC Student Office (Sopwith Building) by the deadline (see below). Ask your supervisor about the type of binding that they prefer. One electronic copy should be uploaded to the Report portal in Assignments on the LS6014 Canvas site. The text of all three copies should be identical. Do not worry if Turnitin on Canvas appears to reformat the report as the electronic copy is used to check for plagiarism only. The hard copies of the report will be marked by your project supervisor and a designated second marker.
A Drafts portal will be available on Canvas to submit report drafts for similarity checks, which will not be linked to the Turnitin depositary. Turnitin will generate originality reports, with no limit to the number of submissions. You can submit more than once within a 24 hour period, but do be aware that the originality report for the second submission will not be generated immediately and will take 24 hours. Submission of work to Canvas by the deadline is final and there is no opportunity to resubmit so ensure that you submit the correct version. Include the word ‘final’ in the file name to make sure. In order to exempt your references section from the similarity check, you must head this section References. If you use another term, or incorrectly spell ‘References’, the section will be included by Turnitin in the plagiarism check and increase the similarity value. Do not include a page of contents as it is completely unnecessary for a report with a research paper structure and will also increase the similarity value.
Layout of systematic review project reports
This structure has been modified from the methodology proposed for writing systematic reviews by Moher et al. (2010).
- Brief background and rationale
- Summary of methods
- Results obtained
- Discussion – major conclusions and implication of key findings
Word limit: 350 words
The purpose of the abstract is to briefly summarise the main points of the project so that they could be understood by any interested reader. The abstract should form one double line spaced paragraph and should not contain subheadings or cited references. Only essential abbreviations should be included, which must be defined at first mention in the abstract. At the base of the abstract page, give the word count of the report without the exclusions listed on page 2 of these guidelines.
- Explain what is known about the subject area and what is unknown using critical evaluation of background research literature to form an evidence-based justification (rationale) for the research project. Explain why it is important to systematically review the research question or test the hypothesis
- Objectives – an explicit statement of the research question to be answered or the hypothesis to be tested with reference to populations/patients, interventions, comparisons and outcomes
The hypothesis or research question must be as specific as possible. It is not sufficient to “further investigate” or “select effective drugs treatments” etc
Provide sufficient detail to allow the work to be reproduced, written in the past tense.
- Study selection criteria – inclusion/exclusion factors
- Data sources and search terms
- Describe methods used for quality assessment (if applicable)
- Any statistical analyses used (if applicable)
- Briefly describe numbers of studies screened and selected with reference to a study selection flow diagram (PRISMA diagram)
- Critical analysis of information and data using text, study characteristics tables and quality assessment tables (where appropriate) to highlight differences in data and quality of studies
- Data should be originally presented to make new conclusions and arguments, do not copy and paste tables and graphs from research papers.
- Summary of evidence – key findings that test the hypothesis or address the research question
- How the findings compare to previously published research
- Limitations of evidence
- Conclusions and significance of the review for future research, policies and/or professional practice
Oral examination (viva voce) (20%)
A viva voce literally means by or with the living voice, i.e. by word of mouth instead of writing. Your report demonstrates your ability to present your research in writing. The viva demonstrates your ability to orally describe the research and participate in academic discussion of the research. The purpose of a viva is to confirm that the report is your own work and that you have understood what you have written and can defend it verbally. You should be able to explain how your research relates/compares to previous research in that subject area. The viva will be conducted and marked by your supervisor and a designated second marker who will ask the majority of the questions, and should not exceed 20 minutes in duration.
If you are well prepared then the viva examination can be a positive experience. Practice giving a brief summary of your research to friends and family and encourage them to ask you questions. You will be expected to have an awareness of the terminology that you have used, interpretation and explanation of your results, evaluation of your methods (strengths and weaknesses) and the application of your research in a wider context and how you have contributed to the research field (e.g. diagnosis, selection of drugs, evaluation of methodology, national and international policies). You should have familiarity with the research sources that you have used as the examiners may refer to them. The examiners may also ask how you would continue your work if you had funding and/or what you would do differently if you started again. You may take your report into the viva with you as you are not expected to memorise the report.
B) Further Guidance
For further guidance you must attend the lectures on your project type.
For writing systematic reviews the following publications are also useful.
Boland A, Cherry MG and Dickson R. (2014) Doing a Systematic Review – a Student’s Guide. SAGE Publications Ltd, London.
Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG, The PRISMA Group (2010) Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: The PRISMA statement. International Journal of Surgery 8: 336-341.