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Guidelines for Writing a Critical Review Dissertation

Style Guidelines

One of the skills you should develop during your undergraduate career is to write in a concise scientific style to a specific set of guidelines. This will be particularly useful in the future if you submit articles for publication in the scientific literature or if you have to produce a commercial report, for example. These forms of communication demand that you write to a fixed set of rules and each journal (or company) has its own requirements. For all dissertations required by the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, you must follow the style laid out in this document, which is an amalgam of those used by the major journals in our disciplines. The document also contains specific advice about the organisation and assessment of the critical review project together with more general advice, based on our observations of past undergraduate work.

Critical review dissertations must be word-processed; the typeface used should be 11 point font, and a line spacing of 1.5. Do not use columns. Each page should have a header (left aligned) identifying the work, which should include the authors name (year) and a short running title of the project. Each page should also have a footer with the page number in the centre. Headers and footers should be in 8-point font.

Critical review dissertations should be no longer than 7000 words pages including title page, contents page, and lay summaries and acknowledgements. Reference lists and figures, tables are excluded from the word count. There should be no appendices. Figure legends can be single-spaced and a minimum of 10 point font. You will be heavily penalised if you include excessive figures or inappropriately detailed figure legends.

Penalty for over-length dissertations - any dissertations that exceeds 10 % over the 7000 word limit will be penalises in line with University regulations. Dissertations can be shorter than the maximum length; there is no penalty for going under the page limit Projects that are simply a straight review of the literature, with limited or no critical analysis will be heavily penalised.

Your dissertation should be written with sufficient clarity to be understood by a wide audience of biological scientists. In your report, always use appropriate subtitles to split your work into sections and subsections; these should correspond with your contents page. Make sure you use a consistent style for sections and subsections.

This should include the module code & title, title of the report, author’s full name, UoB number, programme of study, supervisor’s name, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Bradford, BD7 1DP. The template for this page is given the end of this document. It is essential that you follow / use this template.

Word Count and Formatting

This should stand on its own with no reference to the text. It should be no more than 200 words. This should be a concise summary of the report mirroring the major sections of the dissertation. There should be demonstration of critical analysis within major sections. Following an introduction of one or two sentences, you should state your hypothesis. You should then state the major arguments/evidence for and against this hypothesis. A conclusion, which is supported by the evidence presented, should be included at the end. It should be written as prose & not numbered paragraphs. It should not contain figures, tables or references. ?This summary must be written in a way that is understandable by the general public. You should use non-scientific language and target a reading age of 10 years old.

Should contain sufficient detail to acquaint a non-specialist with the background to the topic. Always use appropriate subtitles to split your work into sections and subsections; these should correspond with your contents page. Make sure you use a consistent style for sections and subsections.

Should follow your introduction, be focused and clearly stated. Projects that are not hypothesis driven, with limited or no critical analysis will be heavily penalised.Concise but in sufficient detail to ensure the study can be replicated. What search terms did you use what were your inclusion or exclusion criteria (PRISMA). What were your experimental methods? Include details of numerical other analysis and of any statistical tests utilised. Ensure your work can be duplicated using this section.

To be primarily textual, but with tables and figures used for amplification or illustration. Large volumes of data should not be included in this section but the student should retain all results in case an examiner requires when assessing the dissertation Additional data should not be incorporated into appendices.

Should not just reiterate results but instead place them in a more general context with reference to the pertinent literature and may be used to amplify relevant portions of introduction, to include suggestions for how these studies may be developed. Give an overview of the major findings and its clinical significance. For each objective you may want to then explain the result obtained using the literature. You should suggest limitations of the studies. For systematic reviews and other project types where relevant you should say if all studies agreed and discuss any differences. Conclusions should be tersely presented in a separate paragraph at the end of this section.

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