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Table of contents: Page number

1. General Guidelines for the Undergraduate Dissertation.

1.1. Credits. 3
1.2. Purpose. 3
1.3. Learning Outcomes. 3
1.4. Initial Preparation. 3 Libraries that you can access. 3
1.5. Project Scope. 4
1.6. Planning and Project Management (work approach). 4
1.7. Project Content. 4
1.8. Analysis. 5
1.9. Conclusions. 5

2. Project Thesis.
2.1. Length. 6
2.2. Submission Process. 6
2.2.1. Submission Date.
2.3. Binding. 6
2.4. Writing. 6
2.5. Written Presentation. 6
2.6. Formatting. 7
2.7. Writing Style. 7
2.7.1. Abbreviations. 7
2.7.2. Miscellaneous. 7
2.8. Structure of report. 7
2.8.1. Title Page. 8
2.8.2. Table of Contents. 8
2.8.3. Declaration. 9
2.8.4. Acknowledgements. 9
2.8.5. Abstract. 9
2.8.6. Chapter 1: Introduction. 9 General Literature Review: 10
2.8.7. Chapter 2: Methodologies. 11
2.8.8. Chapter 3: Results. 11
2.8.9. Chapter 4: Discussion. 11
2.8.10. Chapter 5: Conclusion. 11
2.8.11. Bibliography. 12
2.8.12. Appendices. 12
2.8.13. Page Numbering. 12
3. Plagiarism. 13
4. Project Assessment. 14
5. Project Presentation. 15
1. General Guidelines for the Undergraduate Dissertation.

1.1. Credits.
This is a 10 credit module that runs over both semesters.

1.2. Purpose.
The 4th year project enables students to investigate a research problem in Medical Biotechnology by designing and implementing desk-based research. It is an 8-10 week research period in molecular, cellular and process techniques relevant to Medical Biotechnology. Students undertaking a desk based project must initially conduct an extensive literature review on the subject area. The scope of the desk based project should be determined through formulation of original ideas and reading of relevant literature.

1.3. Learning Outcomes.
Students should be able to:
• Provide evidence of professional approach to independent research.
• Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the topic chosen and its relation to the academic content of the biomedical science degree programme.
• Demonstrate good ability data mining techniques relevant to the research topic.
• Design statistical approaches to compare numerical data sets..
• Evaluate and interpret evidence.
• Demonstrate clarity in argument and expression.
• Show competence in scholarly and bibliographical skills.

1.4. Initial Preparation.
• Go to the library and browse through previous dissertations.
• Talk about potential topics with your classmates and lecturers – maintain a journal.
• Agree a topic with your assigned supervisor.
• Carry out some background reading on the topic.
• Narrow your topic down to an achievable research objective :
? Not too broad nor too narrow.
? Researchable (access to information, timeframe, expertise, skills, equipment etc).

1.4.1. Libraries that you can access:
• IT Sligo library.
• St Angela’s.
• Cregg House.
• Research and Education Foundation, Sligo General Hospital.
• Sligo Public Library.
• Interlibrary loans.
• Reading access in all other IT,s and most Universities.

1.5. Project Scope.
• Background: Why are you researching this topic?
• It is vital that desk based area you are researching has data sets (e.g. relative light units [RLU], activity units, binding behavior, expression levels [g/L]) to allow meaningful comparisons to be drawn between different research groups.
• Aims of project/dissertation: What will you do?
• Methods to be used: How will you do it? Who will you talk to etc? What will you need? What resources are required?
• Timetable: When will you do it?

ACTION: Write a 2 page Project Scope document to include a Gantt chart indicating the project schedule. Submit this to your supervisor by the stated deadline in the Moodle area.

1.6. Planning and Project Management (work approach).
Your project is your own responsibility. Nobody is going to make it happen but you.
It is advisable to adopt a professional approach to planning and managing your project from the outset: a significant amount of your marks will be given for this (15%).

Consider the following:
• It is your responsibility to establish meetings with your supervisor.
• Plan your entire project at the beginning:
– What are you going to do?
– How are you going to do it?
– Where will you get information?
– Who will you talk to?
– When will you do it?
– What could go wrong?
• Plan time for:
– Library research.
– Data collection and statistical and numerical analysis.
– Discussion with supervisor.
– Writing time (from beginning to end).
• Set yourself some interim goals.
• Stay on track to meet deadline.

1.7. Project Content.
• The project should encompass past, present and future ideas, applications and methodologies. Avoid repetition as much as possible, for example in the case where similar information or data may come from different resources.
• Be sure to include important fundamentals to the subject matter.
• Supply explanations and examples as to why information and data you included was relevant to the project and subject.
• Be sure not to spend too much effort explaining topics irrelevant to or on the fringes of the subject area.

1.8. Analysis.
• In your analysis and discussions, voice your own opinions as much as possible.
• Make comparisons between methods, applications, ideas, and hypotheses.
• Highlight contrasts in approaches/findings/ideologies/hypotheses in the literature and procedures where applicable.
• Identify and highlight weaknesses in the literature and methodologies.

1.9. Conclusions.
Summarize key data and findings. Identify gaps in the research. Identify future direction for research.

2. Project Thesis

2.1. Length.
The required length is between 10,000 and 15,000 words for desk based projects.

2.2. Submission Process.
Deliver 2 soft bound copies to supervisor and provide 1 electronic copy. Late submission penalty of up to 5% loss in marks per day late unless there are justifiable causes for the delay.
2.3. Submission Process.
2.3.1. Submission of the Literature Review Submission will be submitted the first week of semester 2 – see moodle for date. This content cannot be altered by students after this date, students who do so may be required to resubmit in August or at the very least receive a very late penalty reflective of the additional time they worked on their literature review.

2.3.2. Chapter 1 addendum Students may (only if they feel the need) add up to 800 words in updated additional literature review information in a section entitled ‘Chapter 1 addendum’ just before the Material and Methods section in their May Submission. Anything greater than 800 words will result in a penalty. This addendum is meant to address recent updated and relevant information from the literature related to their project.

2.3.3. Students will not receive feedback or marks for their Literature review submission until after the exam boards in June.
Deliver 2 soft bound copies of your complete report including the material submitted in February to supervisor and provide 1 electronic copy. Late submission penalty of up to 5% loss in marks per day late unless there are justifiable causes for the delay.

2.3.5. Submission Dates.
The introduction/literature review with bibliography will be submitted the first week of semester 2 – see moodle for exact date.
The full body of work to include the previously submitted introduction/literature review and updated bibliography will be submitted the last day of semester 2 – see moodle for exact date.

2.3.6. Submission Date.
The introduction/literature review with bibliography should be submitted the first week of semester 2 – see moodle for exact date.
The full body of work to include the previously submitted introduction/literature review and updated bibliography will be submitted the last day of semester 2 – see moodle for exact date.

2.4. Binding.
Written thesis may be presented as soft or hard bound document (Avoid spiral binding if possible).

2.5. Writing.
Write from the very beginning and all the way through your project. It is much easier to redraft and edit at the end than to write from scratch in one go. Writing also helps you to gather your thoughts.

Remember to record all sources of information as you carry out your literature review – you don’t want to end up searching for them near the deadline. Set up a spreadsheet for yourself and record at minimum all bibliographic data needed for Harvard referencing (see section 2.7.5).

2.6. Written Presentation.
Students should endeavor to type their own project. Most word processing packages have built in spelling and grammar checks as well as a thesaurus which should be utilized if available but note some spellings may be American versions.

Students should ensure that their project if free from spelling and grammatical errors.

2.7. Formatting.
• The text should be typed on one side of the page only.
• The margin on the left hand side of the page should be about 3-4cm in order to accommodate the binding and about 1.2-2cm on the right hand side of the page.
• Font size should be 12.
• Font type should be Times New Roman.
• Projects should be typed at one and half line spacing.
• Generally, there is a single space after a comma and a double space after a full stop.
• Some authors indent the first line of a paragraph while others skip a line between paragraphs to signify a new paragraph.

2.8. Writing Style.

2.8.1. Abbreviations.
• Non-scientific words should not be abbreviated. For example, it is, there is, did not should not be abbreviated to it’s, there’s, didn’t respectively.
• Certain words have accepted abbreviations such as: for example is abbreviated as e.g. that is, is abbreviated as i.e. (note the use of full stops, but not always essential).
• A common misconception is the use of its and it’s. The former is used as a possessive pronoun (e.g. in its habitat) while it’s is used as an abbreviation for it is (i.e. the apostrophe is used in this case to denote a missing letter).

2.8.2. Miscellaneous.
• Slang words, sensationalism or journalistic jargon should be avoided.
• Underlining words, using words with all letters in upper or bold font against accepted protocol (i.e. except in heading or tables), coloured typed script, use of the first person (I or we) should not be used.
• Use simple past tense in sentences such as, was completed instead of had been or has been.

2.9. Structure of report.
The sequence of sections in a project should be to the following formats:

Title page
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Methodologies
Chapter 3: Results
Chapter 4: Discussion
Chapter 5: Overall Project Conclusion

2.9.1. Title Page.
The title page should include the following information which should be justified centrally and spread evenly down the page.

Project Title

This project is submitted in part fulfillment of the HETAC requirements for the award of Bachelor of Science (Medical Biotechnology) Degree.

Month, Year (e.g. May, 2013)

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