Studying our Master of Research (MRes) Science allows you to focus your research interests on one or two areas of science and work towards translating your learning into research related outputs – such as a submission for a peer-reviewed publication; a peer reviewed research/knowledge transfer grant application, or a presentation.

MRes Science can be studied either full time (1-year) or part time (2-years). You will develop a wide variety of skills, experience and competence on this course, and the MRes will provide a thorough grounding for students moving towards Doctoral (PhD) studies, or pursuing research related activities as a career.

These dental academy projects are available for September 2019 or January 2020 start. Please note this list of projects 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.

Oral health status and dental access patterns of socially disadvantaged adults receiving oral health checks in the community

Supervisors: Dr Kristina Wanyonyi, Dr David Radford and Prof Chris Louca

The basic oral health check programme, supported by the University of Portsmouth Dental Academy, is targeted towards socially disadvantaged adults in the Portsmouth area. The Dental Academy conducts basic oral health checks at outdoor settings, soup kitchens and neighbourhoods of high deprivation. The goal of this programme is to help seldom-heard groups gain access to primary dental care, and to improve how they care for their teeth.

This research project aims to establish the impact of the basic oral health check programme on the oral health status and dental attendance patterns of adults who engage with the programme.

This a mixed method project which will involve secondary analysis of oral health check and dental attendance records.

NB: This project has already received approval from the Health Research Authority

Stakeholder views and perceptions of the University of Portsmouth Dental Academy led oral health outreach activities

Supervisors: Dr Kristina WanyonyiDr David Radford and Prof Chris Louca

The community outreach activities implemented by the Dental Academy are supported by stakeholders within the university and in the external organisations the academy works with. These stakeholders include school teachers, nursing staff and students. Their experiences and views on the programmes are key to ensuring the activities remain achievable and beneficial to the community.

The aim of this project is to investigate the acceptability of the programme and suitability of the support provided by the Dental Academy to the external partners of the programme. It will also seek to establish views of the stakeholder on the perceived benefits and sustainability of the programmes.

This study will involve in-depth interviews with school teachers, staff of outreach organisations, and Dental Academy and University of Portsmouth staff and students. Qualitative analysis of the findings will be undertaken using grounded theory or thematic analysis.

NB: This project has already received approval from the Health Research Authority

Older people and oral health in primary dental care

Supervisors: Dr Kristina WanyonyiDr David Radford and Prof Chris Louca

The population is ageing and people are retaining their teeth longer. This is expected to impact on the demand for complex dental care for older patients in the future. It is worth considering how best to cater to this demand and consider the ease of accessing dental care for this age group. Often older people experience barriers to dental access related to cost, time and physical accessibility which then leads to an increase in unmet dental need. For those who are fortunate enough to gain access dental care, it is helpful to understand their experiences, whether their perceived needs were addressed and the impact of the process on their oral health. This will provide useful insight for the shaping of effective dental services.

The aim of this study is to ascertain the dental access journey and oral health of older patients seen in primary dental care.

This mixed method study will look at secondary data and examine views and perceptions of older people who have been seen in primary care using interviews/focus groups.

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.

Characterising emergency patients attending a primary dental care service

Supervisors: Dr Kristina Wanyonyi and Prof Chris Louca

Often patients who attend emergency clinics have severe dental disease. Regular attendance has the potential to sustain good oral health, which has an impact on quality of life, eating, socialising and work. Research suggests that factors such as cost and anxiety are barriers to regular dental attendance. In a facility such as the Dental Academy where services are free at the point of delivery, it is useful to understand what additional factors predict emergency attendance.

This study aims to establish the factors predicting emergency attendance in a service which is free at the point of delivery.

This study will involve secondary analysis of electronic dental health records to establish the relationship between emergency patients’ socio-demography and treatment need.

The relationship between dental care and polypharmacy

Supervisors: Dr Kristina Wanyonyi

Patients who are receiving dental treatment occasionally are receiving treatments for other ailments. These patients may be taking long or short-term drugs to manage their conditions. Some medications are contra-indicated to dental care and some are not. It is useful to understand the relationship between medications and dental treatment needs.

This study aims to ascertain the relationship between patient profile, medications and dental care needs.

This study will involve secondary analysis of electronic dental health records from a Primary dental care service the University of Portsmouth 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.

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.