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Research Project (MSc top-up only)

  • Module code: PY7950
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 7
  • Credits: 60
  • Pre-requisites: Postgraduate Diploma in Pharmacy Practice, Clinical Pharmacy, Medicines Management or equivalent.
  • Co-requisites: None


This module is a capstone piece of work which allows you to work independently on a laboratory, field or work based in-depth research project.


  • To encourage creative and independent thinking by allowing the student work independently on a project appropriate to pharmacy practice or pharmaceutical science, while developing the ability to critically evaluate one's own and others' work.
  • To further develop the professional and practice skills and competence acquired in the postgraduate diploma and relevant practice, using advanced methods to critically analyse and interpret data using appropriate statistical methodologies

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Formulate research aims and objectives and prepare a realistic and coherent project proposal,
  • Review and critically evaluate the current literature
  • Apply time management methods to achieve stated objectives, deadlines and project milestones
  • Carry out appropriate research interventions in an effective, safe and ethical manner to generate robust and accurate data, analyse that data and apply appropriate statistical methodologies.
  • Communicate the results of the project coherently in written, oral and visual manner.

Curriculum content

  • Conducting a laboratory, field or work based in-depth research project in an appropriate area of pharmacy practice or pharmaceutical science.

Teaching and learning strategy

Students are expected to be proactive in suggesting their own project titles. The course director and/or appropriate member of staff will discuss the proposal, approve and appoint an internal academic supervisor. If the student is in employment it is anticipated the project will be of interest to the employer, and supported by the organisation, with an appointed employment-related coordinator.

Full-time students may choose to select a project supervised at Kingston or a project placement in practice if agreed with employer. Part time students are likely to carry out work based projects and a practice based supervisor will normally be appointed to support the student in the work place with an academic supervisor who will have overall responsibility for ensuring appropriate academic standards are maintained.

Prior to starting project work the student will attend teaching sessions which discuss research methods and skills and scientific communication. The student will be supported throughout the project by the teaching team, the learning resource centre, and IT services.

The project requires the equivalent of 600 hours of student study time; it is expected that not less than 160 hours of which is field or laboratory based.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive UNISTATS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Field or laboratory based research activities 160
Guided independent study Literature searching, research, preparation, analysis of results and report writing 440
Total (number of credits x 10) 600

Assessment strategy

The module is assessed by coursework only which will comprise of three elements. The principle element is a project report which will not only assess the students' knowledge and critical appraisal skills but also their report writing skills, an asset that is highly valued by employers.

The project report will be assessed by both the supervisor and a second internal examiner, and will utilise a marking scheme with suggested weightings for the following:

  • Presentation of the written report
  • Relevance and currency of the literature report
  • Organisation of material
  • Quality and quantity of experimental data/ technical competence
  • Appropriate data analysis
  • Critical evaluation of the data
  • Appraisal of the project outcome/conclusions

The student will also present their work in the form of a poster presentation to the students' peers and teaching team. Although scientific content is a vital component of any scientific presentation the emphasis in this element is on presentation and communication. During the poster session the student will be assessed on the poster content but also on their understanding of the subject and ability to defend their work through questioning.

Student progress through their project will be assessed by the third element, namely a logbook of activities and progress.

Students will be required to carry out a literature review and prepare a project proposal which will be reviewed by their project tutor and feedback provided. This formative assessment feeds forward into the final report as well as providing valuable feedback in the early stages of the work. Some practice based studies will require ethics or clinical audit approval and this will provide valuable feedback for the student. Laboratory based studies will nearly all require a health and safety risk assessment and the completion of CoSHH documentation and again this will provide direction and feedback for the student with regard to safe laboratory practice.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
1) Formulate research aims and objectives and prepare a realistic and coherent project proposal Project proposal (formative) and introduction section of final report (summative)
2) Review and critically evaluate the current literature Literature review in final report (summative)
3) Apply time management methods to achieve stated objectives, deadlines and project milestones Methods and results section of final report (summative) Project Log Book
4) Carry out appropriate research interventions in an effective, safe and ethical manner to generate robust and accurate data, analyse that data and apply appropriate statistical methodologies Methods and results section of final report. (summative) Ethics or audit approval (if appropriate) (formative) COSHH form (if appropriate) (formative) Results, Discussion and Conclusion sections of final report (summative)
5) Communicate the results of the project coherently in written, oral and visual manner Written – Final report (summative) Oral – Questions during poster session formative) Visual – Final report and poster presentation of final report (summative)

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
Coursework Project report 60%
Coursework Logbook 10%
Coursework Poster presentation 30%
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any element of assessment is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module.

Bibliography core texts

The nature of core texts for individual projects may vary depending on the nature of the project

  • Allison B. Research skills for students. Kogan Page; 1996. ISBN: 0749418753
  • Cryer P. The research student's guide to success. Open University Press, 3rd edition; 2006. ISBN: 0335221173.
  • Smith FJ. Conducting your pharmacy practice research project. 2nd Edition. The Pharmaceutical Press; 2010. ISBN 0 85369 869 2
  • Smith FJ et al. International research in healthcare. The Pharmaceutical Press; 2008. ISBN: 0853697507
  • Hanson JH. A guide to the reporting of practical work and projects in chemistry. Royal Society of Chemistry, London; 1995.
  • Lindsay D. A guide to scientific writing. Longmans; 1995. ISBN: 0582803128
  • Jones D. Pharmaceutical Statistics, Pharmaceutical Press, 1st Edition; 2002.ISBN: 0 85369 425 0
  • Robson C. How to do a Research Project: A Guide for Undergraduate Students, John Wiley & Sons: 2006. ISBN 9781405114905

For practice projects:

  • Smith F, Survey Research: (1) Design, samples and response. Int J Pharm Pract 1997; 5: 152-166.
  • Smith F. Survey research: (2) Survey instruments, reliability and validity. Int J Pharm Pract 1997; 5: 216-226.
  • Smith F. Triangulation. Int J Pharm Pract 1997; 7: 60-68.

Bibliography recommended reading

As recommended by the project supervisor; including original research papers, review articles, reference books, previous theses as appropriate. These will be recommended as appropriate and dependent upon the research topics selected.

These will include papers from the literature including publications such as the New Scientist, Lancet, Education in Chemistry, Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, Pharmacological Reviews, Science, Nature, Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, The Pharmaceutical Journal, British Medical Journal and relevant pharmaceutical, scientific and medical journals according to the subject area.  Official guidance, eg. NICE, NPSA, NSFs, etc. will be relevant to some projects.

Dependent on the nature of the project some of the following texts may be of value.

  • Bevington PR and Robinson DK. Data reduction and error analysis for the physical sciences. McGraw-Hill, 2nd Edition; 1992. ISBN: 0079112439.
  • Luck M. Your Student Research Project, Gower Publishing Ltd: 1999, ISBN 9780566082139
  • Jardine FH, How to do your Student Project in Chemistry, Chapman and Hall: 1994, ISBN
  • Miller J N and Miller J C. Statistics and Chemometrics for Analytical Chemistry, Pearson Education Ltd: 2005, ISBN 0-13-129192-0
  • Dean J. et al. Practical skills in Chemistry, Prentice Hall: 2002, ISBN 013028002X 0-412-58360-7
  • Maizell RE. How to find chemical information. A guide for practicing chemists, educators and students. Wiley-Interscience, 3rd edition; 1998. ISBN: 978-0-471-12579-2
  • Barrass, R. Scientists must write. Routledge, London: 2002. This book is aimed at scientists and engineers and analyses the characteristics of scientific writing, how to write and how to choose vocabulary, how to use numbers and illustrations to support your writing, how to find information and cite sources, how to write project reports, theses and papers for publication, and how to give a short talk or presentation.
  • Russey W E, Ebel H F and Bliefert C. How to Write a Successful Science Thesis. Wiley, Germany: 2006 This book is aimed at scientists and covers how to write the Laboratory Notebook, how to write a thesis, how to reference, how to use tables and figures to support your writing, tips on writing style and writing techniques.

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