The different types of dissertations available when studying Medical Science

Emily

Faculty: Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
School: School of Allied Health
Category: Allied and public health

27 April 2021

When starting any undergraduate course, no matter how long, the task of writing your final year Major Project is something students always dread. What topic to write about is always the main issue students struggle with, which is understandable. There is a lot of pressure, as you don’t want a subject too broad or too narrow. You will also have to be able to write up to 6,000 to 10,000 words on this topic with a significant amount of detail. However, one important factor that needs to be considered whilst choosing a topic, or arguably before, is whether you want to do a wet or dry project.

A wet project is a project that involves you collecting your own data to analyse, for example from an experiment in a lab. A dry project involves the analysis of published papers, which may or may not include data that has already been collected. It is important to consider these two factors when choosing a topic for your dissertation as critical analysis and showcasing your ability to discuss findings is a HUGE part of your project. So, if you are someone who is very hands on and enjoys collecting and processing their own data, but is less interested in researching and analysing papers, a wet project would probably be the best option for you. Alternatively, if you are the type of student who doesn’t feel comfortable in lab settings or is uncomfortable relying on themselves to collect their own data, but really enjoys the analysis and research aspect of assignments, a dry project will probably be best suited to you.

The reason I stress these points is because when I studied Medical science, picking our dissertation topics worked slightly differently to other courses. Instead of picking a topic and then deciding in which direction to take it, we were given a choice of two supervisors, each of which had a list of topics. One list was lab based, whereas the other list involved the use of data that had already been collected. Even though all the project choices required us to process data, there was a choice between whether we wanted to collect that data ourselves or not. Of course, if a student had their own idea for a topic that they preferred, they could talk to the course leader and would be allocated an appropriate supervisor. Personally, as I didn’t feel too comfortable in the lab and because there was a topic that piqued my interest, I opted to do a dry project. This turned out to be the best option for me as I was able to really develop my writing and research skills, as well as my statistical analysis. So, my parting piece of advice is before stressing about choosing a topic, decide which kind of project you would like to undertake first, as it can make all the difference to your dissertation.

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