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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Clinical Sciences : Critical Care

Postgraduate Course: Unlocking the literature: Clinical Trials (CRCA11002)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery of Clinical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course is focused on the interpretation of randomized controlled trials which are the most important evidence source in the acute, emergency, and critical care medicine literature. Students will learn how to systematically access the acute, emergency, and critical care medicine literature, how to use reference managers to collate references, and will become expert in appraising randomized controlled trials. Teaching will be delivered online in a combination of recorded lectures, discussion boards, and tutor led question and answer sessions. The course will support and consolidate learning in other modules on the MSc in Critical Care by concentrating on the acute, emergency, and critical care medicine literature base.
Course description 1) Academic description

This academic course, designed to be delivered early in an MSc programme intends to equip students with skills, knowledge, and attributes to critically appraise the main research study type used in critical care I.e. clinical trials. Early mastery of this subject is crucial so that students can enhance and deepen their learning in later parts of the course. Students will learn how to access and collate primary literature, to understand how it has been conducted, and to be able to appraise important sources of bias in Critical Care trial design.

2) Outline content

Students will learn about randomized controlled trial design, statistical approaches, and data presentation so that they can confidently read and interpret research articles describing clinical trials. They will be taught how to access the literature, use software to store the results of searches, and present literature as properly formatted bibliographies.

3) Student learning experience

Students will learn from experts in critical care, research methodology, and information services who will deliver teaching through recorded video tutorials, and then set students tasks to undertake in their own time. The weekly tasks will be carried out and discussed using online discussion boards. Classic papers will be reviewed. Once per week tutors will make themselves available to students for question and answer sessions to clarify areas of uncertainty. These sessions will be recorded for future reference.

Students will be assessed on their ability to conduct a literature review of a chosen topic and to collate a list of appropriate references. They will subsequently be assessed on their completion of a structured critical appraisal task.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start MVM Online Learning Block 1
Course Start Date 30/10/2023
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 98 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% In-course assessment
Feedback Feedback is defined as information to students which allows them to review what they know, understand and can do in their studies. Feedback is also important to identify areas for improvement, for example course feedback surveys will be an integral component of the programme to allow refinement.

Opportunities for feedback will also arise during timetabled activities, for example during live question and answer sessions, and on discussion boards, emails. Feedback can be provided on coursework assignments but also activities which are not formally assessed, for example class discussion on the discussion board, group exercises, and developing project plans and proposals. A formative task is provided in each course which provides feed forward prior to the student submitting their first piece of summative assessed course work.

All assignments will be marked, and feedback is provided within a period of fifteen working days (where possible) following the submission date (excluding holidays periods whereby the University is closed, e.g. over the Christmas period).
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Recognise and understand basic research concepts and terminology relating to clinical trials
  2. Access relevant sources of literature and obtain and collate primary research articles relevant to clinical practice
  3. Interpret the results of clinical trials including statistics
  4. Undertake critical appraisal of Clinical Trials, identifying key sources of bias
  5. Identify and conceptualised the ethical and governance issues in clinical research
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills a) Mindsets:

Enquiry and lifelong learning:
Graduates of this course will be encouraged to pursue their own curiosity and to learn and develop in the field of critical care, to strive for excellence in their own professional practice, and to strive to improve care for patients as part of a multidisciplinary team.

Aspiration and personal development
Students will be encouraged to draw on their own experiences to identify areas in which they wish to grow and develop acknowledging that different students will have different priorities and aspirations.

Outlook and engagement
Students will be asked to bring to the course experiences from their own practice, often specifically relating to their own geographical context, that can be used to explore learning, engage with individuals from other international communities on the programme.

b) Skills:

Research and enquiry
Although students will not conduct primary research in this course, they will use and further develop newly acquired expertise in accessing the literature and critical appraisal, to incorporate the findings of primary research in their arguments, discussions, and assessments.

Personal and intellectual autonomy
Students will be encouraged to use their own personal and intellectual autonomy through their active participation in self-directed learning, discussion boards and collaborative activities to critically evaluate ideas evidence and experiences from an open-minded perspective.

Personal effectiveness
Success on the course will require students to be effective and proactive learners. Using the resources of the course tutors, and the university learning and information environment, students will be encouraged and supported to contribute to their own learning, as well as that of others.

Excellence in critical care is dependent on excellent communication, and the structure of the interactive (discussion boards and collaborative activities) and assessment elements incorporate constant reinforcement and development of this skill.
KeywordsResearch methods,Intensive Care,Critical Care,ICU,HDU,Critical appraisal,Clinical Trials,RCT
Course organiserDr Alasdair Hay
Course secretaryMrs Kimberley Jamieson
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