Product Code:- Research-PH108
Brief Description of Assessment Task
A proposal for a research study in an area related to microbiology in public health.
Note: This assignment relates to this unit only and it is NOT preparation for your dissertation/ project unit.
This is your opportunity to study an area of microbiology in public health that interests you in greater depth. It will allow you to read and critically analyse the scientific literature about your area of interest, to identify areas where further research can be done and to propose the appropriate methodology to perform your theoretical study. Your research question should be microbiological but you have broad scope within this to investigate any question relevant to public health. You must predict the likely outcomes of your study and discuss any health and safety or ethical issues that may be raised by the research.
A key difference between this assignment and those you are probably more familiar with is that you are required to devise some new experiments capable of generating new data (not entirely new techniques!). Therefore, it is not sufficient to describe experiments you have read about in journal articles or just research and describe lots of general information about a particular bacterial molecular/cellular mechanism, infection, disease epidemic or public health behaviour or strategy. Your task here is to demonstrate that you understand how the research techniques you have learnt about work, the types of data that they generate, their advantages and disadvantages compared to alternatives and how they can be applied to a research question of your choice.
Outline Of Report Structure
Title of Your Project
Make this concise and relevant
Abstract (<200 words)
Summary of your proposal. All the major points relating to your proposed research should be covered here, in a very concise, focused narrative.
Introduction and rationale (1200 words)
This should provide a solid background to the project grounded in research literature. For example, if your proposed research is about a disease or a protein or an observation that relies on an epidemiological technique, introduce it here. Use the background information to explain how your proposed research differs from that already carried out and justify the need for your proposed work. Here you should critically review the relevant background literature. Remember that readers of research proposals usually know less about the research area than the authors, so make sure the background information and your ideas are introduced in a logical way that is easy to follow. You should include references in this section, perhaps from text books but more likely from journal research articles. See examples of how references are used in introduction sections in the journal articles you read. Be concise and focused- this should not include everything you have read about your subject of interest!
Aims & Hypothesis (~100 words)
Explain clearly and concisely what you are trying to find out and what you think the result will be. Aims indicate what you are trying to find out or do. Hypotheses are statements that make clear predictions on the answers to your research question. Please remember that a hypothesis is not phrased as a question.
Experimental Design (1500 words)
What is your research strategy going to be? Outline the methods and techniques that you propose to use and state their purpose in the context of your overall aim. This section should include a flow diagram outlining the samples or information you would collect, how it would be processed in the laboratory or electronically, depending on the nature of the samples, and how the results of each technique would be interpreted to answer your research question.
Make sure that the data to be generated will answer your question/test your hypothesis i.e. don’t use a protein analysis technique if your aim is to study DNA unless you clearly explain how the results can be interpreted to provide the required information about the DNA of interest. Give an overview of the techniques to be used and the materials required. This should include numbers of human volunteers or swab/cell/sample requirements if appropriate. We require enough experimental detail to know that you understand the principles of the techniques you are proposing to use and what they involve but you are not expected to include the very specific details such as volumes or concentrations unless these are directly relevant to your experimental design. Suggest why the techniques you choose are the most appropriate to perform the study and include a health and safety statement in this section. You will need to use references to support your choice of techniques and/or to refer to details that you don’t have space to include.
Ethics (250 words)
ALL research has potential ethical implications. Outline those associated with your proposed research and describe how they are related to your hypothesis and aims and/or to your experimental methodology. Are the ethical issues raised justifiable in terms of the research proposed? Are there alternatives that could be used that you have rejected? If so, why? Have you proposed any non-optimal details mainly to avoid using less ethical alternatives? Do you think your proposed research would be permitted in this country or anywhere else and/or would you need specific approval from a professional body or similar?
Results (500 words)
Explain the format of data expected from the experiments performed and what you would expect to see based on your hypothesis. This could be a prediction of both positive and negative results. This section should not include actual predictions of specific values- you are unlikely to be able to predict to that level of detail. However, you should be able to demonstrate that you understand the format of the results likely to be generated by your proposed methodology (e.g. gel images following PCR or western blotting, microscopy images following immunohistochemistry, sequencing data from whole genome array, species data from MALDI-TOF, presentation of epidemiological data, questionnaire data) and how you can interpret and analyse the data in order to test your hypothesis. Don’t forget to discuss output for every technique mentioned in the Experimental Design section and vice versa.
Outcomes & Conclusion (250 words)
Critically reflect on your potential findings. What will the outcomes of your research be? What questions will have been answered? Who will benefit from it? Is there potential for further work or related studies?
Refer to text books and research journals that you can find in the library or through the LRC electronic resources and use the UoB Harvard system of referencing available here: https://lrweb.beds.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/557568/UoBHarvard17_18.pdf. It is better to and you will get more credit for using journal articles, however if you use an internet source, it must be from an appropriate organisation (e.g. University or perhaps a Society for your chosen topic) and should be authored, not Wikipedia or other similar sites. Please ensure that your references relate to the relevant documents and their authors/publishers etc., NOT just the place where you found them.
Figures & Tables
All students should include a flow diagram as requested in the experimental design section as a minimum. In addition, tables and/or figures can be used to illustrate details in the text if appropriate, for example to clarify a metabolic pathway or show the structure of a gene or protein that is being studied, or to outline how qualitative data will be collected. All figures should be clearly labelled, should have a full legend and should be referred to directly in any relevant text. Wherever possible, figures & tables should be your own work (i.e. not cut & pasted or photocopied). An exception would be for example a crystal structure of a protein or any other similarly complex figure which we would not reasonably expect a student to draw. However, if you do use images that are not your own, you must reference these correctly and state that they are not you own e.g. ‘reproduced from….’
The completed report should include your student number, unit code and assessment number, and should be saved as a Word document or PDF. The single file should be uploaded to the relevant submission point on BREO. Failure to submit your report by the deadline stated above, without approval from the mitigation team, will result in a G/0 grade.
Grading Of Work And Feedback
The report will be marked according to the attached mark scheme, which explains our expectations in relation to the assessment criteria. It will be marked on a percentage scale according to the University of Bedfordshire regulations.
Feedback comments and grades will be provided through BREO by the date specified above.
Students can upload a draft of their research proposal to BREO for formative feedback from the Unit tutor, deadlines for which will be announced on BREO or communicated to students directly.
Support for this assessment is given through briefing available on BREO. General writing support is available centrally through PAD. Support for literature searching and use of LRC resources is available on an individual basis from the departmental librarian.
With the advent of the 21st century, technology has been implemented widely to enhance the health care facilities which include early detection of diseases. It cannot be denied that medical field is now undergoing a phase of rapid development by including technology. Medicines before 20th century were solely based upon observations and the gained knowledge of the physicians without sophisticated technologies. This resulted in poor diagnosis and subsequent high mortality rates.
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