The Master of Research (MRes) Science course is a postgraduate course that will provide applicants with an excellent opportunity to focus their research interests on one or two areas of science whilst also giving them the opportunity to work towards being able to translate their learning into research related outputs (e.g. submission for a peer reviewed publication, peer reviewed research/knowledge transfer grant application, presentations).

The MRes Science can be studied either full time (one year) or part time (two years) and will enable students to develop a wide variety of skills, experience and competence throughout their studies. The MRes will provide a thorough grounding should students consider moving towards Doctoral (PhD) students, or pursue research related activities as a career.

Understanding effective teacher feedback to students

Supervisors: Prof Chris Louca and Prof Chris Brown

Feedback in clinical education has been defined as “specific information about the comparison between a trainee’s observed performance and a standard, given with the intent to improve the trainee’s performance” (De Ridder et al., 2008). It has been suggested that the provision of feedback by clinical trainers can lead to a positive impact on trainee’s learning and performance. However, little is currently understood of what effective assessment comprises and best practice is, in dental education. The aim of this project is to understand the state of the art of feedback practices. Examining feedback in education (in terms of teacher training and ongoing teacher professional development) and elsewhere, a proposed systematic review of effective feedback practices could be used to shape both policy and practice in dental education.

The proposed study will seek to assess the state of the art on effective educational feedback practices that can be used to improve dental education and ultimately impact on the oral health of patients as individuals and across communities. The project will require a systematic literature review that explores the different traditions of feedback under consideration (which will not only comprise feedback in schools and for teachers but also effective feedback in other relevant disciplines and sectors). To consider the differences in focus and theories of action associated with feedback across these different disciplines, an approach based on the ‘Meta-Narrative Approach’ to systematic reviewing (Wong et al., 2013) will be adopted. The Meta-Narrative Approach is one that seeks “to illuminate a heterogeneous topic area by highlighting the contrasting and complementary ways in which researchers [from different academic disciplines] have studied the same or a similar topic” (Wong et al., 2013).

The key stages in Meta-Narrative reviews are (Greenhalgh et al. 2005):

  1. A stepwise search strategy: an initial scoping of the literature ‘led by intuition, informal networking and ‘browsing’, with a goal of mapping the diversity of perspectives and approaches’; this is followed by citation tracking for seminar conceptual papers; and finally, searching for empirical papers by electronic searching key databases, hand searching key journals and ‘snowballing’ (references of references or electronic citation tracking).
  2. A mapping phase to describe, the key actors, key concepts, theories, and identified impacts associated with the different types of feedback.
  3. An appraisal phase for judging the validity and relevance of each study to the review question, and summarising the findings.
  4. A synthesis phase for identifying important dimensions associated with effective feedback.

The project will draw on the existing expertise in how evidence can aid education policy and practice from the School of Education and Childhood Studies and expertise on clinical dental education from the Dental Academy.

Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists experiences of psychological wellbeing within their profession

Supervisor: Dr Marina Harris

This project intends to draw on new research which has examined stress and psychological wellbeing within the dental hygienist and therapist undergraduate training environment, and extend this to the examine stress and wellbeing among qualified dental hygienists and dental therapists. Specifically, the project will examine the nature of stress within the dental practice environment, and its association with the positive psychological wellbeing of this group of registrants.

This project will explore the psychological wellbeing of dental hygienists and therapists using a mixed method study which will use a range of valid and reliable instruments, along with semi-structured one-to-one interviews to measure positive and negative psychological wellbeing.

Teledentistry application in dental service provision

Supervisors: Dr Latha Davda (latha.davda@port.ac.uk) and Professor Chris Louca

Teledentistry is the use of telecommunications technology to send data, graphics, audio, and video images between participants who are physically separated (i.e., at a distance from one another) for the purpose of clinical care. In countries where the population is wide spread, it is used to improve access to care. In the United Kingdom (UK), during the pandemic of Covid-19, several NHS trusts and medical practices invested in providing access to care through telephone and video platforms. The Government placed restrictions on the practice of dentistry during the pandemic leading to dental care provided by practitioners through telephone triaging. This demonstrated that teledentistry was beneficial to patients. Technology has been used to facilitate care for rural populations in several countries globally. However, the extent to which this was utilised by patients in primary care dentistry in the UK and the barriers and facilitators of this mode of patient care in dentistry is not known. Dental care is traditionally perceived to be mostly hands on undertaking procedures in a dental chair. However, dental professionals spend much of their time also undertaking preventive care including delivering lifestyle advice, oral health advice and supporting patients to optimise their oral hygiene which could be undertaken remotely. 

The aim of the project is to evaluate the potential role of teledentistry applications in dental service provision. The project will require a rapid review of the literature on the applications of teledentistry in dental care service provision. The second phase will include quantitative and qualitative analysis of the telephone triaging service. A selection of dentists involved in using a telephone triaging system during the pandemic will be interviewed using semi-structured interviews and subsequent thematic content analysis using the five steps of framework analysis will be undertaken. 

Other Research Projects

Discover the current research projects available in each of our schools and departments: 

Please note, this list is not exhaustive and you'll need to meet and discuss the project you're interested in with a member of research staff before you apply.

This site uses cookies. Click here to view our cookie policy message.

Accept and close