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Final Research Project - Clinical Trials

Course Type
Postgraduate, Continuing professional development, Module

Final Research Project - Clinical Trials
This is a core module on the MSc Clinical Trials programme. It is not available on the PGDip or PGCert or as a stand-alone module.

Module Overview
The culmination of knowledge and skills obtained during semesters 1 and 2 of the MSc in Clinical Trials, will be applied in this Final Research Project. Students will plan an investigation (obtaining ethical approval where necessary), critically appraise the relevant literature, design, analyse and report on the resulting data. Students will select from a list of pre-determined research questions or may propose their own research question. Whilst there is not capacity for students to design and run their own clinical trials (which would take several years), they are able to focus on a specific aspect of the design, delivery or analysis of trials. In practice, trials require a large multidisciplinary team and the individual team member is likely to focus on either design/analytical issues related to trials or on aspects of trial management, so the Final Research Project will prepare students for independent work within the workplace. The nature of the research question will depend on the expertise of the individual student.

Example projects might include the following:

  • Identification of a current issue in trial delivery, such as poor recruitment, and the development of a potential method to overcome it or testing an existing method within an ongoing trial.
  • Qualitative interviews with those involved with trials around a specific issue of trial delivery or the impact of advanced trial designs on delivery.
  • Development of a full trial protocol ready for a grant application.
  • Systematic review of approaches to public and patient involvement and engagement in trials.

Students will produce and submit (as a summative assessment) a protocol detailing the research question, aims, and planned methods before conducting the research.

Method of Teaching
The module will include a number of lectures throughout semesters 1 and 2 to guide students through choosing a topic, developing their methods and managing their work. Workshops will allow students the opportunity to apply these skills. Students will be allocated a supervisor to support them throughout the module.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of the module you should be able to: 

  • Design a research project or investigation demonstrating independent research skills with consideration of any ethical requirements.
  • Review and critically analyse previous work in this area to determine / refine and inform the focus and nature of the investigation.
  • Select appropriate methodology, providing justification for the approach selected and recognising its limitations.
  • Collect or review and critically analyse relevant data or information.
  • Interpret data or information collected and explain its impact in the relevant field.
  • Write up, present and defend the research findings relating to the project, with acknowledgment of any limitations.

Module Attendance Required 
The majority of this module involves guided independent study. Students will however be required to attend for occasional lectures/seminars/supervision during the year.

Module Dates
Summer term - August


  1. 2,000-4,000-word research protocol (20%)
  2. 10,000-15,000-word independent project report (75%)
  3. Exhibition/poster presentation (5%)

Academics involved in the delivery of this module
Dr Sara Brookes
Mrs Razia Meer-Baloch

This module is not available on a stand-alone basis for any other queries please contact the programme team at