Skip to main content


Dissertation (Physiology)

Module titleDissertation (Physiology)
Module codeESS3304
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Dr Gavin Buckingham (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

The final year of your course gives you the opportunity to pursue a topic that has a personal interest to you. Having developed your understanding of themes in previous physiology modules, you will use the concepts, techniques, and skills you have learnt to pursue your topic systematically and in depth. The dissertation can allow you to focus in on a particular area you find fascinating, or it can be interdisciplinary in nature, encouraging you to gather the appropriate knowledge from different areas. A main factor of the dissertation is cultivating your independence of thought and your ability to find and interpret your material. There are no pre or co-requisites for this module, and it is suitable for students on interdisciplinary pathways that have studied relevant research methods modules and have a sufficient background in sport and health science.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of the dissertation is to provide an opportunity for you to pursue, systematically and in depth, personal interest in a particular topic utilising the concepts, techniques, and skills developed in previous modules. The dissertation will be based within a particular area of physiology (e.g. nutrition, bioenergetics, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, respiratory etc)), and will encourage the synthesis of appropriate knowledge from different areas. The dissertation is an independent study that will develop your ability to find, interpret and present material according to selected approaches of understanding and prescribed methods of investigation

Graduate attributes. As part of this module you are expected to develop the following skills:

  • Strategic thinking and problem solving in designing your data collection.
  • Application of knowledge in interpreting findings of your research.
  • Building confidence as a communicator in discussing your research with peers and your supervisor
  • Enquiring mind in pursuing further reading on topics covered in the module.
  • Data management skills in collecting and recording data and analysing findings
  • Ethical awareness when planning your research

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Identify and define a research topic
  • 2. Appraise the relevant research literature or documentation
  • 3. Employ an appropriate form of investigation
  • 4. Use appropriate techniques of data collection and analysis
  • 5. Interpret data and draw meaningful conclusions

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Demonstrate skills of research, analysis and critical evaluation, including justification of study methodology
  • 7. Examine the meaning from quantitative or qualitative data

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Take responsibility for your own learning, including appropriate time management, arranging student-supervisor meetings, data collection, study write-up
  • 9. Present ideas and information competently in both written and poster formats

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

  • Dissertation proposal
  • Literature review, data collection, and fieldwork.
  • Analysis and interpretation of results
  • You will be required to obtain ethical approval by the SHS ethics committee prior to any data collection taking place. Any dissertation submitted without ethical approval will receive a mark of zero.
  • Dissertation progress report
  • Dissertation write up and hand-in date – present dissertation research in writing
  • Dissertation conference - present dissertation research via a poster presentation

NOTE: All students will be required to obtain ethical approval by the SHS Ethics Committee. Any dissertation submitted without ethical approval will receive a mark of zero. Please ensure that you are aware of the ethics committee deadlines.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching6Dissertation supervision meetings
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1Ethics application support meeting
Scheduled Learning and Teaching5Equipment demonstration and supervised data collection sessions
Scheduled Learning and Teaching6Lecture and Q&A session from module leader
Scheduled Learning and Teaching2Dissertation conference – including delivery of poster presentation
Guided Independent Study150Complete ethics application, esearch and produce review of the literature and methodologies
Guided Independent Study200Carry-out research project and analyse data
Guided Independent Study80Write up final version of dissertation and prepare poster presentation


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Commenting on one draft of dissertation (not to include the discussion section of the dissertationUp to 4000 words1-9Written
Commenting on the design and content of the poster presentation15 minute tutorial1-9Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written dissertation80200 word abstract plus 5000 words – written in Journal format (Journal of Sports Sciences. Tables, figures, appendices, and table/figure captions are not included in the word limit. 1-9Written
Conference presentation20A2-sized poster along with 5 minute presentation and 5 minutes questions 1-9Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written dissertationWritten dissertation1-9August/September assessment period
Conference presentationConference presentation1-9August/September assessment period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to sit a further examination. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Please note that you are encouraged to read more specific texts related to your research question. You should familiarise themselves with the Dissertation Guidelines document, available on ELE.

  • American Psychological Association (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.). Washington, DC: APA.
  • Barrass, R. (2002). Scientists must write: A guide to better writing for scientists, engineers, and students (2nd ed.). London, UK: Routledge.
  • Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS Statistics (4th ed.). London, UK: Sage.
  • Huck, S. W. (2008). Reading statistics and research (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
  • Nevill, A. M., Atkinson, G., & Scott, M. A. (2009) Statistical methods in kinanthropometry and exercise physiology. In Eston, R.G. and Reilly, T. (Eds.) Kinanthropometry and exercise physiology laboratory manual: Tests, procedures and data (3rd ed., Vol 1, pp. 250-299).
  • Vincent, W. J. (2005). Statistics in kinesiology. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  • Winter, E. M., Eston, R. G., & Lamb, K. L. (2001). Statistical analyses in the physiology of exercise and kinanthropometry. Journal of Sport Sciences, 19, 761-775.
  • Strunk, W., Jr., & White, E. B. (2000). The elements of style (4th ed.). New York, NY: Longman.
  • Thomas, J. R., Nelson, J. K., & Silverman, S. J. (2011). Research methods in physical activity (5th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  • Williams, C., & Wragg, C. (2004). Data analysis and research for sport and exercise science: A student guide. London, UK: Routledge.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • ELE page:– provides a selection of key readings for qualitative and quantitative studies, dissertation guidelines, dissertation appendices (including proposal form, progress form, ethics application, tutorial appointment sheet, informed consent, table of consent, front cover).

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

You should also take the opportunity to read exercise and sport science journals. The special issue of Journal of Sports Sciences (Volume 19, Number 10, October 2001) on research methods will be of particular interest.

Key words search

Research, literature review, data collection, data analysis, statistics, research methodologies, critical evaluation

Credit value45
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

ESS2303 Research Methods and Analytical Procedures, ESS2304 Quantitative Research Methods or PSY2206 Methods and Statistics in Psychology II

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date